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  •  You think (none)
    You think I am a republican because I refuse to canonize trial lawyers and recognize that they are an interest group in their own right?  Sorry,  I know trial lawyers - there are good ones and bad ones.  They are not all social crusaders (and the ones making big bucks seldom are).  The contingency system works about as well as we could expect, but that is no reason to place trial lawyers beyond criticism.  

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 05:27:21 PM PST

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    •  No (none)
      Its because I have never seen you say anything positive about any of the candidates.

      Ben P

      Liberalism: not the left, but the vital center

      by Ben P on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 05:33:21 PM PST

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    •  The Candidate? (none)
      Now that we've established your position on trial lawyers, do you have one on Edwards?
      •  Well to be honest (none)
        I do find it disingenous of Edwards to use his work as a trial lawyer to claim he was taking on the corporations on behalf of the little people.  He's no Ralph Nader (as much as I detest Nader).  And I really don't see how his experience as a trial lawyer had any influence on his legislative priorities or actions.  

        Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

        by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 05:37:57 PM PST

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        •  Who paid the jury awards? (none)
          The record says corporations.  

          Who paid for the opposition lawyers?

          The record says corporations.

          If not corporations, who was he fighting? Don't tell me it was doctors, or we'll have to go to stock market investments by insurance companies, which is no fun.

          Edwards and Jerry Maguire provide systemic feedback.

          •  Like I said (none)
            Like I said, the system works about as well as can be expected.  But the role of the trial lawyer is to get the largest settlement/award for his client, not to change the system.  It's not a perfect mechanism for compensating tort victims and does not lead to systemic reform.  If you look at other countries, almost nobody has a system even close to the US in terms of compensating tort victims.  European countries rely on social insurance that leads to smaller but more evenly spread compensation.  

            Mindless corporate bashing really answers nothing.  

            Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

            by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 05:56:34 PM PST

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          •  Oh (none)
            Oh, and to answer your direct question, we all pay the jury awards.  You don't think the corporations and insurance companies pass the costs on to consumers?  That is what the tort system does:  it socializes the costs of accidents and injuries.  

            Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

            by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 05:58:07 PM PST

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            •  It does... (none)
              But what's wrong with that?

              Allowing people to sue for punitive damages is a way of protecting everyone. The benefits of the tort system as well as the costs are socialized.

              I prefer that system to one where people had no recourse to lawsuits and so would have to privately shoulder the burden when they were screwed by a corporation or unethical professional. None of us would be safe under that system. But it's the system that Republicans want.

              Edwards isn't my top choice for president, but I admire his legal career, and I admire all lawyers who do the work that he did.

            •  Systemic Feedback (none)
              We all pay the costs of everything, ultimately.  The issue is systemic feedback.  What will cause the most systemic change in the shortest time, so that preventable error is not repeated?

              For every case that JRE won, there were multiple opposition lawyers (the best that deep-pocketed companies could afford) who failed to prove their case.

              We can cost-distribute blame, judgements and investments.  More important is to distribute learning, so that long-term risk is reduced.  With all the flaws of correction-by-lawsuit, it remains the last line of defense on problems that are by definition, systemically invisible.

              When you look at JRE's career, he took on cases that were both unwinnable and financially unattractive.  His investigative and legal skills made that class of case financially viable.  The result was to shine a bright light on a class of previously invisible systemic failures.

              Over time, could there be a bandwagon effect as less talented (or ethical) lawyers attempt to strip-mine the soil tilled by JRE? Undoubtedly. But rest assured that invisible systemic injustice is being concurrently ignored.

              JRE is a unique individual.  His ethical career is an example that we would like more lawyers to follow.  He is the last person anyone should be criticizing, if they truly care about improvements in systemic feedback.  We need more lawyers with the ethical standards of JRE, not less. His reform proposals would have a panel of doctors and nurses screen frivolous lawsuits and he would create a three-strikes-and-you're-out penalty for bringing such lawsuits.

              Right now, we need JRE to shine a bright light on multiple classes of nominally legal but democratically destructive activities in Washington.  As President and The People's Advocate-In-Chief.

              •  Nonsense (none)
                When you look at JRE's career, he took on cases that were both unwinnable and financially unattractive.

                That point is almost certainly nonsense.  He was successful precisely because he took on the most attractive cases promising the largest payout.  

                Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

                by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 06:25:31 PM PST

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                •  "Almost certainly" (none)
                  Is that your preferred disclaimer of false statements?

                  From the NYT article above:

                  "... The firm took the case that resulted in Mr. Edwards's first big jury verdict as a favor to a state senator and lawyer who had let it languish. Mr. Edwards, then a young associate, got the assignment because it was considered a loser.

                  "I said, `Let's dump the file on John's desk,' " said Wade H. Hargrove, a former partner at the firm.

                  The plaintiff in the case, Howard E. G. Sawyer, was disabled as a result of what Mr. Edwards said was an overdose of a drug used in alcohol aversion therapy. O. E. Starnes, who represented the hospital, had never heard of Mr. Edwards.

                  "He came over here and ate our lunch," Mr. Starnes said.

                  The jury awarded Mr. Sawyer $3.7 million.

                  and

                  Something more than Mr. Edwards's reputation attracted David and Sandy Lakey of Raleigh, N.C., the parents of a young girl injured in a swimming pool. The Lakeys say all the lawyers they interviewed except Mr. Edwards wanted one-third of any award, which one of them predicted would not exceed $1.5 million. Mr. Edwards offered to take a smaller percentage, unless the award reached unexpected heights.

                  In 1997, it did. A jury awarded the Lakeys $25 million, of which Mr. Edwards got one-third plus expenses.

                  He so impressed the Lakeys that they worked as volunteers in his Senate campaign the next year.

        •  Judicial Selection (none)
          His trial lawyer experience has critical relevance to his work on judicial selection, of relevance to school vouchers, civil rights, women's rights, GBLT rights and more.  Edwards sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been instrumental in blocking nominees like Estrada.  

          JRE has made recommendations on protecting the due-process rights of terrorism suspects.  Here is a clip of Edwards questioning a squirming Ashcroft on military tribunals.  

          With Edwards ability to campaign alongside Senators from all parts of the country, he is the best chance for the Democrats to regain the Senate and maintain the filibuster.

          •  If he is so committed to Civil Rights (none)
            If he is so committed to civil rights, why did he support the Patriot Act?  

            Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

            by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 06:06:42 PM PST

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            •  for the last time (none)
              he and 98 others voted for it because there were certain things that needed to be done.

              He got the sunset provision in, and now the really bad parts have to be voted on again separately.

              •  Please explain (none)
                What needed to be done?  If you are going to defend the Patriot Act, surely you can be more concrete than that.  

                Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

                by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 06:20:30 PM PST

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                •  Patriot Act (none)
                  Go here.  Four video clips, an excerpt of his Senate testimony and a brief discussion.
                  •  Huh? (none)
                    Edwards sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was his job to participate in the writing of the Patriot Act. It is not meaningful to criticize Edwards for either his vote or the fact of his participation in the act.

                    Do you actually believe the stuff you write?  It certainly is meaningful to hold Edwards accountable for his votes.  

                    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

                    by johnny rotten on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 06:32:38 PM PST

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                    •  Do you know what Committee means? (none)
                      It means he was hired by the United States Government to be an expert in matters related to the jurisdiction of that committee.  It was his job to debate the contents of the Act.  People outside the committee primarily contribute by voting on the Act.  Committee members are much more active in the construction.  Hence we can speak about specific clauses, such as the sunset clause, which is the only thing standing between infinity and next year's termination of the most intrusive aspects of the Act.

                      Can you read? Or comprehend?

                  •  The quote that Johnny Mentions (none)
                    About it not being "meaningful" to criticize Edwards for his vote or his participation on the committee with regards the Patriot Act?

                    When I followed your link to that statement, I found that point...odd. And troubling.

                    Isn't his record of work in the Senate ALL meaningful to critique? Just like Kerry's. Just like Dean's record as governor, Clark's as general?

                    What does meaningful mean ?

                    `Exit, pursued by a bear'  - Stage direction from Act III, Scene III of Shakespeare's `The Winter's Tale'

                    by zuzu on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 07:49:36 PM PST

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                •  Who's defending the Patriot Act? (none)
                  We're just saying that EVERYBODY in the Senate (save one) voted for it.  How many of the Dem. candidates who DIDN'T serve in Congress would have voted for it under the same circumstances?  You cannot know this, therefore, it's a non-issue.  The fact that Sen. Edwards was able to insert a sunset clause into it is particularly noteworthy, and that makes him my #2.

                  What did we do to deserve George W. Bush?

                  by republicans are idiots on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 06:44:45 PM PST

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                  •  So if 98 Senators Jumped Off a Cliff... (none)
                    Would Edwards?

                    That's the old "But Mom, all the kids were voting that way!" argument that makes me wish Feingold was the liberal who was running.

                    `Exit, pursued by a bear'  - Stage direction from Act III, Scene III of Shakespeare's `The Winter's Tale'

                    by zuzu on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 07:53:07 PM PST

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