November 2, 2007

Have no fear, the Civil Justice League is here!

Who are the Civil Justice League and why do they love Sen. Mike Jacobs?

A commenter recently sent in a couple cut and paste news releases (on a post that had nothing whatsoever to do with them, of course), one of which was a glowing letter from the Civil Justice League praising Sen. Jacobs for some vote or other in their favor, evidently something Jacobs is quite proud of. (the other was about Jacobs participating in a mock political convention through WIU and giving a speech in which, interstingly enough, he urged students to "challenge the status quo".)

Illustrious blogger and commenter UMR surmised by their lofty name that the Civil Justice League must be some sort of superhero outfit out to smite evil and fight for truth, justice, and the American Way. That seemed likely to me as well, so it prompted me to do a bit of checking.

Presumed board members of the Civil Justice League.

I checked on the Civil Justice League website, where you can find out their mission, and what they're up to. (and I was hoping what their capes looked like.)

Actually, they're a lobby outfit formed by business interests to try to hamper, limit, and otherwise tamper with an individual's right to sue, well, those that they represent.

You've heard the phony complaints for years about how business and doctors simply can't survive as long as they keep being sued every time some one gets hurt or killed using their products or services. It's a miracle they've managed to not only survive, but prosper all these years with things exactly as they always have been.

But now we're told they simply can't go on without laws that place even larger hurdles in front of people who wish to sue corporations for liability and compensation. And just in case they can't stop the case from being filed to being with, and the facts are so bad that they can't prevail in court, they insist that damage awards be capped so even when they are found guilty of gross negligence and a jury awards punitive damages in an amount that will actually punish the company, they won't have to face TOO much punishment, at least not enough to really hurt.

You or I? We can be sued until we've got nothing left but a smile if we cause negligent injury. But we're told these fine companies and their owners need protection from awards that are large enough to... well... actually have an effect.

A possible Justice Leaguer on an outreach mission? "Remember kids, if you die from eating poison candy, you're not worth more than $250,000 max, no matter what, OK?"

Traditionally, Democrats have always seen these efforts as what I believe they are, attempts to infringe on an average persons right to sue for redress when they've been wronged by a company. Republicans have always sought to insulate and protect companies from the threat of being held liable and if unavoidable, then preventing the damage awards from being large enough to get their attention.

That's still the way it is, fortunately. But there is one exception.

If you think corporate interests need protection from such lawsuits, you have a new superhero. Democratic Senator Mike Jacobs.

While on the Civil Justice League website, I happened across their Legislative Scorecard for the Illinois Senate, the type that many lobby organizations issue to score legislators on how perfectly they march in lockstep on their pet issue.

As expected, the Democratic Senators had far lower scores on this matter, mostly in the low teens. Republicans were much higher, scoring often in the 80s.

But then I saw something that, while not surprising, was disappointing to say the least. While the lowest score among Dem senators was a perfect zero, the highest scoring Democrat in the entire Illinois state senate was none other than Sen. Mike Jacobs, who not only earned the highest score from this outfit, but managed to more then double the second highest Democratic score. Impressive.

Jacobs earned himself a whopping 67, while the second highest Dem pulled in a mere 33, and the third highest, a 25.

As a matter of fact, if you remove Jacobs' score, the average for all of the 36 other Democratic Senators was a mere 14.27, meaning that Jacobs scored over four times the average of his fellow Dem senators.

Sen. Jacobs score was so high in defending corporations from lawsuits that fully 9 of the 22 Republican Senators scored the same or lower than Jacobs.

I find this blatant Republican stance by Jacobs rather curious in light of the vociferous and loud condemnation hurled at his opponent Paul Rumler here not long ago.

Over and over strident comments were sent wailing and complaining that Rumler wasn't a real Democrat, that he was no good because he represented Republican issues and values. He couldn't be trusted to represent the average person, they said, over and over.

Rumler didn't support the average guy, they said, he wasn't a true Democrat, and was only out to support issues favorable to business interests.

Why? Because Rumler had worked for the Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the minimum wage increase. Jacobs supported this measure, and so claimed the mantle of defender of the little guy. Rumler=Republican, Jacobs, a true Democrat.

Yet these are the same people who slavishly support a guy who votes more Republican that nearly half the Republicans, and on a Republican issue? Who's so outside his own party that he scores over twice as high as the closest Democrat?

If you agree that protecting corporate interests from lawsuits and placing further impediments to ordinary people being able to sue when they feel they've been wronged is what society needs, then Jacobs is your man, no doubt there.

If you think voting against party line is heroic, despite championing a stance which directly benefits big business at the expense of average people, then you likely think the world of Jacobs on this issue.

But if you feel that the deck is already quite nicely stacked in favor of big business already, thank you very much, then you have to wonder just who can claim to be representing the average person and upholding Democratic ideals of fairness and justice for the "little guy". If it's not the Democrat, then who will?

One wonders if this defense of poor suffering business interests has any correlation to campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists. It would be easy enough to find out. If anyone cares to take a look, feel free to report your findings. I may take a look later.

Note to the humor impaired: The above photos are meant as satire and are not photos of, nor do they represent, actual Civil Justice League members.


At 11/02/2007 10:04 PM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

Good post, TID.
I too have noticed how quick Mike Jacobs and his supporters are to accuse others of not being real Democrats. Well, if by their fruits ye shall know them, then for incumbant state senators by their voting records ye shall know who is a real Democrat and who is a Republican trying to pass.

At 11/03/2007 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ensuring access to affordable medical care makes Jacobs a Republican, but lobbying for Chamber of Commerce makes Rumler a Democrat? Please explain?

At 11/03/2007 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jacobs, Boland and Verschoore all voted to reform medical malpractice. What a bunch of Republicans!

At 11/03/2007 10:17 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 9:45 Not sure what sort of hallucinegenic spin state you're in, but Jacobs is NOT ensuring affordable health care for anyone. To even attempt to twist his position into that shows your likely identity, as there aren't many who have the nerve to insult people's intelligence routinely like that.

Voting with Republicans on an issue that cuts cleanly down party lines is what makes Jacobs much like a Republican.

You're the one who screamed that Rumler was a Republican for simply working for the Chamber.

I make no judgements. But what's good for the goose,....

At 11/03/2007 11:26 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 10:02

Nice try, Pancho.

And thanks for drawing my attention to the House scorecard.

Boland got a 17,

Verschoore scored 25.

I repeat, Jacobs scored 67, higher by a factor of two than any other Democrat in the senate and higher than many Republicans.

And after looking over the scores for the House, I see that Sen. Jacobs earns another distinction.

The folks who don't want to pay what a jury determines are proper settlements ranked Sen. Jacobs higher than every single Democrat in the House as well.

This of course meaning that he voted with the Republicans on this issue more than anyone else in the entire state legislature, both Senate AND House combined.

Surely we'll see this featured on his campaign material.

Out of 104 Dems in the House and Senate, NO ONE beat Sen. Jacobs in protecting the already wealthy and large businesses from punitive damage awards and restricting the average citizen's right to sue for silly stuff like negligence, malpractice, and wrongful death.

Only NINE Republicans out of 51 in the House had higher scores than Jacobs.

That's over 40 House Republicans who couldn't in good conscience go as far as Jacobs did on this issue.

Thanks again for steering me in the right direction.

Attempting to foist this off with, "Nyah, nyah, Boland and Verschoore are just as bad" is just more tedious juvenile non-sense.

I know you think you can just spout whatever spin pops into your head and people will believe it without checking, but did you really think no one would when it was so simple to do?

Your comments are nearly always purposely misleading and meant to deceive, but really....

I humbly suggest you give up trying your own spin jobs until you can do better than the old "Look over there!" ploy, and a misleading one at that.

At 11/03/2007 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to your scorecard, Jacobs didn't score low enough to be named not a member of the "Trial Lawyer Caucus" or high enough to be considered a "Friend of Fairness". In contrast, Jacobs carved out a "sensible position in the middle." I for one politicians that govern from the middle make better laws and those that have axes to grind make laws that serve their own interest.

So Dope, where is Rummler on this, or for that matter, on any other issue? Is Rummler in the "Trial Lawyer" pocket, or is he a "Friend of Fairness"? Or is Rummler in the "sensible" middle like Jacobs?

At 11/03/2007 3:47 PM, Anonymous Drew said...

Why do you hate 'corporations' so?

They pay for the healthcare of a lot of people,

They provide most people the jobs that they have,

They provide us in the United States great choice and standard of living,

They pay a lot in property taxes, income tax and wages that keep our local and national economy going,

Their stocks fuel most people's retirement accounts (private accounts - I know that you Dem's seem to hate the thought of 'private accounts', but most Americans are vested in these).

Tell me, what is so terrible about making a profit?

I bet that you enjoy making a profit yourself, no?

Are you telling me that the QC's would be better off without John Deere?

Dope, watch your snippy little (foolish) socialistoc comments, they prove you to be the fool (kool-aid drinker) that you are.

At 11/03/2007 5:47 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

"Sensible middle"??!!!!

Wow! No shame.

At 11/03/2007 5:54 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 3:47, the expected level of frantic spin is even exceeding my expectations! Cool!

Now, utterly without any other way to address this, you resort to trying to suggest that I want to ELIMINATE all corporations and business.

How convenient, and lazy.

As should be apparent to any rational reader, I certainly don't want businesses to go away, nor do I think corporations are inherently bad. It goes without saying that they're a vital component of the economy of the country.

They have all the positive effects you mention. And they can also have very damaging and ill effect on both the country and it's society.

This country recognized decades ago that capitalism requires regulation to prevent excesses that cause economic and social upheavals.

Trying to eliminate the only way an average person has available to fight back or demand justice from such enormously powerful entities is simply uneeded and hands yet more power to the powerful and takes it away from those for whom lawsuits are their only hope of achieving justice.

Don't try your childish games of trying to tar anyone who is opposed to anything corporations want to do as somehow being anti-business.

Again, how lazy are you?

Evidently you can't muster up any better attack that that load of obvious rubbish?

At 11/04/2007 10:25 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Note to Anon 9:23 who attempted to submit and entire editorial from a newspaper as a comment.

I don't post entire articles submitted as comments and never have.

The editorial was critical of a bill that would purportedly, "... change the way juries determine who pays in lawsuits by allowing trial lawyers to go after the party best able to pay damages regardless of their liability."

That sounds like a bad idea to me, thought I'd like to know more about it.

Submitting a huge editorial against one bill to do with the issue of curtailing individuals legal rights isn't a very good argument or excuse for Jacobs having voted for nearly every single measure seeking to infringe on people's right to sue.

If any readers want to read the editorial in question, it was from the Dispatch April 18.


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