Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Wed Jun 10 07:45:47 PDT 1998

Justin Schwartz wrote:

>We had hims peak at OSU law last year. He was here testifying against the
>awful tort reform bill the legislature passed. I thought he was
>mesmerizing, just wonderful. And yes, he talkeda bout some of those things.
>I am sorry to see you joining in the pack baying against tort lawyers,
>which means plaintiff's laywers. Of course the defense tort bar and the
>unsurance lawyers do not love Ralph. Sure, a lot of plaintiffs' tort lawyers
>are sleazy. But what they do is help injured people recover from harm done
>to them, often by large corporations. Yeah, if we had national health we
>wouldn't have this problem. But tort reform anad damages caops are no
>substitute for national health. Ralph is is on the side of the angels, a
>real American hero. He has probably done as much for as many Americans as
>any living human being.

Except for the folks who worked for him who wanted to join a union. Or the editor of Multinational Monitor who was told not to run stuff about the CIA and its relationship to multinationals. Or that embarrassing half-assed presidential campaign in 1996 (which might be partly explained by Ralph's reluctance to file financial disclosure forms that would reveal that he *is* supported by trial lawyers after all).

Litigation is a classically American approach to politics - individual adversaries duking out a private solution to what should be done publicly and collectively. He seems to have no systematic analysis of anything - just one little detail after another in an endless and tedious catalogue. One of his rants before I heard before hitting the off button was about how utility companies overcharge their customers. Yes, no doubt they do, but is the most urgent problem facing the U.S. right now overly expensive energy?


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