Empty handed on hand down Thursday – Corban v USAA

Another great Bam Bam post and once again I am thinking about our supremely slow Supremes, Corban v USAA and counting by the calendar again – empty handed for the 15th Thursday following Oral Arguments.Corban continued2

Why men like Judge Jed S. Rakoff should matter to us

Justin Maxon / The New York Times

“We’re a nation of laws, not men.” Thus sayeth John Adams, verily coining America’s lofty definition of “the rule of law.” I hate to tell John but we’re a flawed nation, founded on poetic promises of fairness and objectivity we’re wholly incapable of delivering. If we were truly “a nation of laws, and not men,” who would care what judge got assigned to hear your case? The judge is just a law vendor right, a person who matches facts that the jury decided, with the right mix of law. Why should it matter then which judge you got? And what about those instances where judge A rules for plaintiff, and with nothing more than a new judge, the outcome flips. Is the law so loosey goosey that it’s like jello, it can apply both ways, merely because a different set of eyes applied it?

If we’re truly “a nation of laws, and not men” then why would corporations go the trouble of “purchasing” our judges, governors, legislators, members of congress, senators and so on? State Farm “purchased” a judge and put him on the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse Avery v. State Farm, a billion dollar consumer fraud case. Massey Coal “purchased” a pimp judge in West Virginia and installed him on their Supreme Court to reverse a $50 million dollar verdict against it. Right now, Senator Max Baucus holds our health care fate in his hands yet big insurance “purchased” him with $3 million in campaign cash. If we’re really “a nation of laws, and not men,” all these corporate predators are they’re wasting their money, and all the lobbyists can park their cash wheelbarrows for good.

Take the situation in our own Supreme Court. One of the judges elected to the Court received the unheard of sum of $2.2 million in campaign funds. He was elected as a tort reformer, pledging allegiance to big insurance, big medical, big pharma, etc. After the election, he showed up as a guest of the notorious insurance shill, Robert Hartwig, at a big insurance confab.

Let’s examine what happened next at Mississippi Supreme Court. Alex Alston, an esteemed senior member of the Mississippi bar who’s practiced on both sides had this to say:

During the past 4 1/2 years, according to my research, an astonishing 88 percent of all jury verdicts in favor of the wronged victims have been reversed by the state Supreme Court. Continue reading “Why men like Judge Jed S. Rakoff should matter to us”

Jim Brown on Joe Wilson and the good old days

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Perdido Key, Florida


When South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson hollered out “You lie” as the President was addressing congress last week, even Louisiana republicans were aghast. Northeast Louisiana congressman Rodney Alexander summed up the delegation’s response. “I was embarrassed,” Alexander said after speaking to a West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce breakfast Monday. “I understand his frustration, but it was neither the appropriate thing to say nor the appropriate time to say it.” The congressman and his colleagues might take note that they represent a state with a long and colorful history of legislative brawls with often viciously partisan debate and charges of lying.

I was in the middle of such a legislative altercation in my first few months as a state senator back in 1972. A controversial proposal to create a new trade school system was up for final passage in the waning minutes of the legislative session. I sat next to Senator “Big Jim” Jumonville, who was as brash and tenacious in debate on the senate floor as they come. He just never took no for an answer. Jumonville was opposing last minute amendments that would take one of the trade schools out of his district and move it to Baton Rouge.

The legislation was dead at the stroke of midnight, and the official clock was high on the back wall of the senate chamber. With only seconds left, Jumonville pulled off his boot and heaved it at the clock in an effort to stop the moving hands. Off came the other boot as Big Jim hollered out to his colleague at the podium that “You are a liar.” He then raised back to throw the remaining boot at the clock again. I put myself in grave peril by grabbing Jumonville’s arm in an effort to calm him down. He missed the clock, time ran out, and I don’t think Big Jim ever forgave me. Continue reading “Jim Brown on Joe Wilson and the good old days”