A 3-2 vote at the Consumer Product Safety Commission last week ensures that the federal government will put its imprimatur behind allegations about supposed hazards in consumer products — whether true or not. I explain in a new post at Cato at Liberty.
P.S. Kelly Young comments: “I wonder if they’d be willing to maintain a public database of complaints against federal employees?” More: Coyote (comparing relative sophistication of Amazon, TripAdvisor consumer ratings systems with primitive nature of CPSC’s); letter from Rep. Joe Barton, PDF; Washington Post; ACSH.
“Top House Ethics Lawyer to Step Down” [BLT headline]
“One of the countless drawbacks of being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive impertinent letters from a jackass like you in which you say I promised to have the Sierra Madre mountains reforested and I have been in Congress two months and haven’t done it. Will you please take two running jumps and go to hell.”
– Congressman John McGroarty, engaged in constituent service (1934).
(via Magliocca/Concur Op).
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, posted documents purporting to show that Toyota held onto safety documents it was supposed to turn over to opponents in litigation. Turns out the documents had been shoddily snipped, edited and mischaracterized to advance the charges against the automaker. [Christine Tierney, Detroit News via Henry Payne, NRO; more background on whistleblower controversy, The Recorder last year]
Watch what you say about Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) [Adler/Volokh, WeaselZippers, Orlando Sentinel]
The Progressive Policy Institute (!) criticizes a provision almost snuck into the health-care bill that would have been a windfall for trial lawyers at the expense of the rest of us. Earlier and earlier on Overlawyered, which was the first to publicize the provision.
Or at least something traveling under that name, if Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) is right. [Legal NewsLine] More: “CBO: Tort reform would reduce deficit by $54 billion” [Ed Morrissey/Hot Air] Liability insurance premiums in Georgia fell by 18% after state capped noneconomic damages [American Medical News]
Tom Freeland at North Mississippi Commentor doesn’t think much of its prospects, though.
A compulsory subpoena could follow if they don’t fork over information on “compensation of highly paid employees” and “expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2 1/2 years”, among other topics. As AP notes, industries that vocally support, rather than oppose, health care reform aren’t targets of the investigation. More: Politico.
Forbes is just up with a new, improved version of my piece on the amazing trial lawyer bonanza that someone quietly tucked into last week’s draft of the health care bill. An earlier version of the piece ran at Overlawyered on Friday. The Forbes version takes note of the names of the House members who were pushing for and against the idea on the Ways & Means panel. Michelle Malkin gives it a recommendation here.
P.S. Some kind words, as well as a link, from Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog (calling us “the granddaddy of legal blogs”). Plus: Don Surber, Charleston (W.V.) Daily Mail, Bainbridge, Wood/ShopFloor, Riehl World View, Bader/CEI “Open Market”.
The supposed “bankruptcy” process that winds up sparing politically influential constituencies keeps rolling along: let’s hope the Senate can say “no”. [Detroit News via Salmon, Drum, Manzi ("seems only fair, as the dealers paid good money for these politicians")]
The practice seems to have been taken to an extreme in Congress with the pending “cap and trade” bill. [David Freddoso, D.C. Examiner]
Lawyers know how to do it, but then, so do members of Congress.
Left-leaning author, lawyer and union advocate Thomas Geoghegan is running for Rahm Emanuel’s House seat in Chicago. I’ve often in the past recommended Geoghegan’s first book on labor unions Which Side Are You On?, because of its force and originality, despite my (pretty much diametric) opposition to most of his ideas policy-wise.
His most recent book See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation (2007, New Press, and out in paperback this month) showed independence of mind and a willingness to rethink received ideas, as usual, but disappointed in other respects. For one thing, Geoghegan seemed more interested in blowing off steam against conservatives and litigation reformers than in trying to understand what they actually think about the issues he raised. The result was that some of his shots fell very wide of the mark, while he missed other points that might have advanced his case. Ted wrote a much more extended critique of the book that is linked here.
Note, however, that commenter “Vail Beach” stopped by the other day to offer a more positive assessment of “Lawsuit Nation” that is worth giving thought to. The House race, at any rate, should be fun to watch. More: Kaus.