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.
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.