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May 08, 2008

Judges and politics

Attorney Greg Musil’s column (5/1, Opinion, “In selecting our judges, we should keep politics out”) stated that politics are not involved with our current system of selecting judges.

The problem I have is the seven attorneys on the nominating committee. Attorneys, as a group, are Democrats and very liberal.

So what’s not political about having half of the committee made up of liberal attorneys who want to influence our court system?

Tim Bower
Overland Park

Comments

Engineer

Jim
No one suggests that malpractice doesn't exist. However, the case you refer to was only one of several. IMO trial lawyers do practice a form of "legal extortion", filing suits hoping for a settlement on very questionable claims. This does work because most insurance companies in most cases would rather settle than go to trial. No mater what the merits, no one knows what will happen when you go to court.
Incidentally, you and jack were correct in that Valerie Lakey was very seriously injured. I hope I can get this on as I have been having great difficulties getting things to post.

Jim

Eng,

You're thinking of a 1985 case where Edwards sued on behalf of a 5 year old with cerebral palsey. A fetal monitor showed that the baby was in severe distress, and the doctor did not perform a C-section, a decision which Edwards successfully argued led directly to the child's condition. He won that case, though a judge decreased the damages awarded by the jury. That was the first case of this kind that he took on, most of which he has won.

You paint a picture of him stalking the land looking for cases like this to make easy cash. I would say that attitude not only shows a lack of trust in the sense of the judicial system, but also seems to deny that malpractice exists in this country at all.

Engineer

Jim
All I am asking is who provided the "public facts"? But isn't it true that that public liability cases were not his main forte' or even a large part of his practice. And he did make a statement along the lines of "I feel her trying to speak through me" in another case. What I have heard and read was that he was suing Doctors for not performing C-sections, saying that the natural birth caused brain damage and mental retardation.

Jim

Eng,

Those are the public facts of the case. It was big news then and is easy enough to research. If you're looking at unbiased sources whose first concern is reporting the facts and not trashing Edwards, you'd see that.

Your "junk science" remark probably holds as much water as your earlier remark. Your political affiliation is getting in the way of your ability to see the facts.

I'm not a lockstep-lawyer kind of guy. They frequently overreach, and I think some type of tort-reform is necessary. But what you're saying is just simply untrue.

Engineer

Jim
Who provided this description? In any event product liability caases were not his dtock in trade. Getting Doctors basedon junk science was.

Jim

Don't bow too quickly, Jack. Eng has his facts wrong.

Valerie Lakey wasn't just "held at the drain," she was indeed dismebowled when she sat on an open pool drain after some other kids had removed the protective cover. The swim club had improperly installed the cover, which allowed the kids to remove it.

The company who made the drain covers, Sta-Rite, had been sued 12 times prior to this for exactly the same thing, but continued not to provide any warning of what could happen if the covers aren't installed properly.

One can argue on the merits of the case, but to say that this was some girl who was merely "held at the drain" is just flat out wrong.

Engineer

truebluehawk
"and the political persuasion of the committee is balanced". But there's the rub. The feeling is that the MO Bar Association and the committees they appoint are anything but "politically balanced". The hearings are completely closed sessions, not open to the public or even to official observers. There are fox and hen coop feelings here.

jack

eng: I bow to your greater knowledge. However, I think it was more than her little bottom got stuck to a drain. During the campaign he repeatedly, including to Dick Cheney during the debate, stated it was several children, one of whom died and another permanently incapacitated. I have assume this was accurate because neither Big Dick nor the Republican blast machine ever challenged him about it.

I would have thought that if the story he told about this was a :landed under sniper fire", ole Rush and his minions would have gone straight in the air while Karl Rove cheered publically.

Engineer

jack
Your information on Edwards differs from mine. He had only one product liability case about pool drains. That one did not involve any child’s "guts sucked out their anuses by a 'faulty' part". It did involve a child being held at the drain by suction. Most of Edward's lucrative cases involved suing doctors for not doing C sections. He used junk science to say the natural birth caused brain damage. In one case he told a jury "I can feel her speaking through me".

jack

Never been a John Edwards fan, but do get tired of the lies. Most of his money was made off a series of lawsuits involving children had their guts sucked out their anuses by a "faulty" part in the drains of pools. His contention in court was that this part was left out of the pool self-cleaning system in order to save the manufacturer money and in full knowledge of the possible results.

The court agreed with him.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Regardless of party or gang affiliation, lawyers as a group are pretty much scumbags.
There is a major difference between what is legal and what is moral. It's prefectly legal to steal from someone so long as you do it legally, whether it be corporations such as Enron or government and their social security never ending check book.
Stealing is stealing, taking what does not belong to you. Of course, corporations supply the majority of jobs and actually supply products and services, government does very little to contribute with exception of the military.

truebluehawk

So what do you geniuses suggest as an alternative to the current process?

Of course there are some politics involved in the current selection process. So long as the selection involves educated and informed individuals, and the political persuasion of the committee is balanced, you will more often than not end up with a good selection. Is it perfect? No. Nothing is. Is it better than holding an election, where these people will have to pander to their constituents' political leanings and NOT their knowledge of the law? Absolutely.

The second we have judges coming off the bench to campaign for re-election (or to campaign for the first time) you will see the corruption you claim to see now.

Stifled Freedom

I think the letter really addresses the selection of judges.

Judges are very weak today. They follow the political wind of the day when they are supposed to be removed from politics and rule on what is Constitional. This is what our founding fathers intended.

Judges dont want to fight because they get too much media hounding from poeple like Bill O'Rielly if they diverge from the politically correct norms. Bill has no respect for the judicial branch because he sees them as a threat to his ability to judge other people's behavior....if it differs from his own. Bush or McCain have no respect for the judical branch either.

Conservatives love to stick hard to the pure Democracy govt instead of the govt of a Republic. The democracy allows them to condemn and judge behavior outside the norm as immoral. In effect, it becomes a theocracy.

We are supposed to be a Republic where people have protected liberties that may or may not agree with the norm. Today, its a half-ass mixture of both.

How to get politics out of judge selection? I dont think you can today. Today, we dont have a nation of voters or parties that appreciate the Constitution or the founding father's intent. We have a nation of narcissists who just want to win THIER policial battles so they can celebrate short term political victories from each day's policitical battles.

Rogue

That away Prof. Iggy hang right in there for those "slip and fall" lawyers, I bet you and old Johnny Edwards exchange letters on how to bleed honsest business owners don't you Jimbo? Hell, you probably backed the guy who sued the little dry cleaner for $54 million over a pair of parents and destroyed his family business. You and old Johnny boy probably stood up and cheered over that one didn't you Jimbo??? But oh, no, we don't need tort reform....not as long as you nimrods contiue to suckle the teat of the trial lawyers.

Jim

Yeah, wake up and smell the coffee. Do you know how much money corporations and insurance companies have donated to the RNC? Why the heck do you think they're behind every attempt at so-called "tort reform"?

Rogue

Wake up and smell the coffee Joe, do you know much money trial lawyers have donated to the DNC? Why the heck do you think they stonewall any attempt at tort reform?

Joe Barone

Attorneys as a group are mostly liberal Democrats? You must know a different group of attorneys than I do.

Joe Barone

Attorneys as a group are mostly liberal Democrats. You must know a different group of attorneys than I do.

 
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