Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Texas: serious litigation reform, serious results

“How tort reform helped ignite the Texas boom”:

Over the last two decades, Texas engaged in a conversation as to the purpose and role of its civil courts. When that conversation began, the state’s courts had become virtual fiefdoms of trial lawyers. Texas recognized few limits on damages claims and imposed minimal accountability on plaintiffs. The state’s litigation environment was, unsurprisingly, toxic for business. The pushback came in the early 1980s. Lawmakers started to ask whether the Texas constitution’s commitment, spelled out in Article 1, Section 13, that “all courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him . . . shall have remedy by due course of law” precludes putting reasonable limits on liability. The state legislature’s decision to strike a balance and roll back tort excesses marked a turning point in the state’s economic rise. Together with competitive tax and regulatory policies, tort reform sowed the field so that Texas’s pro-growth policies could take root.

Comprehensive backgrounder covers such topics as the putting up of justice for sale at the pre-reform version of the elected Texas Supreme Court (the anecdote from businessman Henry J.N. Taub is especially alarming), the Texaco-Pennzoil case and the generosity to judges of the late Joe Jamail, America’s richest lawyer; early statutory enactments, struck down by the state’s high court; the turning point that came when “the general electorate finally began taking an interest in judicial elections”; the Rio Grande Valley doctor’s revolt; comprehensive reforms beginning under then-Governor George W. Bush and continuing under his successors including Rick Perry; elements of loser-pays; and the general success of tort reform, both in economic climate generally and specifically in the encouraging climate for the state’s medical sector, which includes many nationally prominent institutions. [Kathleen Hunker, City Journal]

“Has Amnesty International Jumped the Shark?”

Julian Ku at Opinio Juris is not impressed with the NGO’s demand that the government of Canada arrest former U.S. President George W. Bush, and neither is George Jonas, writing in Canada’s National Post. Related: John Fonte (Hudson) on his new book, “Sovereignty or Submission: Liberal Democracy or Global Governance?” [Foreign Policy Research Institute]

International human rights law roundup

Recent clips on a subject treated in much more detail in Schools for Misrule:

  • Claim: Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s reforms to public sector labor law violate international human rights [HRW, Mirer/Cohn, FoxBusiness (views of Marquette lawprof Paul Secunda)] Related: UAW threatens charges against automakers [ShopFloor]
  • Per some advocates, “right to health” has emerged as an “established international legal precept” even if it is “still to be fully embraced in the United States” [Friedman/Adashi, JAMA]
  • GWB at risk of arrest if he visits Europe? Or are some of his enemies just posturing? “Bush trip to Switzerland called off amid threats of protests, legal action” [Atlantic Wire, WaPo, Daily Dish and more, Frum Forum, more and yet more]
  • Oh, good grief: Tennessee solon “proposes law to make following Shariah law a felony” [Tennesseean] More states prepare to join unsound “ban all recogition of international law” movement [Ku, OJ] Background: Volokh.
  • For those interested in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recently given a favorable nod by the Obama administration, a copy of the text is available here [CWB]
  • “Conceptualizing Accountability in International Law and Institutions” [Anderson, OJ]
  • Human rights initiative in UK: “Rapists and killers demand right to benefits” [Telegraph] European Court of Human Rights, Human Rights Acts “merely pretexts for judicial activism, argues Alasdair Palmer” [Telegraph]
  • Claim: U.S. is odd-country-out in international law. Reality check please [Bradford, Posner et al, OJ]
  • Opponents charge trying Pennsylvania 13 year old for murder as adult could violate international law [AI]

Election roundup: the White House

Speaking only for myself and not for Ted (and obviously not for anyone else either), I’m among those who believes George W. Bush doesn’t merit re-election, though I supported and in fact actively advised his campaign the first time around. For some of the reasons, check the links in this Oct. 5 post. Foreign policy and defense blunders aside, the last thing I wanted was an administration combining aggressive social conservatism with uncontrolled spending and big new government programs.

Some Bush strategists have seemed confident that secular-minded supporters of small government and individual liberty — a rather important constituency, historically, within the Republican Party — would have nowhere to go this fall, since it’s not as if the record of Sen. John Kerry inspires confidence. But there are places to go, if not especially attractive ones. Prof. Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago School of Law, whose scholarship has inspired so many of us, says he plans to vote for the Libertarian nominee (true, as Megan McArdle points out, the nominee in question appears to be a barking moonbat, but the point of a Libertarian vote is to send a well understood protest message that stands apart from personalities). My favorite syndicated columnist, Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune, is actually planning to cast a Democratic presidential ballot for apparently the first time in his life (“Why I’m voting for John Kerry”, Oct. 24). Chapman quotes Cato’s Dave Boaz making perhaps the strongest argument that can be made for the Democrat on domestic policy: “Republicans wouldn’t give Kerry every bad thing he wants, and they do give Bush every bad thing he wants.” The Detroit News, meanwhile, editorializes in favor of none of the above. Finally, for balance, here’s a link to Coyote Blog, run by a small businessman who says he’s going to support Bush as a “single-issue voter” motivated by the subject matter of this website, that is to say, the need to reform the litigation system.

Malpractice discussion wrap-up

Over at Point of Law, the featured discussion has now wrapped up between Dr. Ron Chusid of Doctors for Kerry and our own Ted Frank on the presidential race and medical malpractice reform. If you haven’t looked at the exchange yet, you’ll find that it conveys a wealth of information about the state of the medical liability debate. Not surprisingly, I found Ted persuasive in arguing that Bush has the sounder position on this issue (which still doesn’t mean I’m going to vote for him).