Huffington Post blogger Gibson Vance brought up an excellent point earlier this week about many members of the new conservative-leaning Congress. Out of one side of their mouth, they say they are firmly committed to preserving Americans’ Constitutional rights, and have even voted in new House rules to mandate the citing of a Constitutional authority every time a new piece of Congressional legislation is introduced.
Out of the other side, however, these same Conservatives are trying to pass something called tort reform, which will ostensibly save the country money by cutting down on so-called “frivolous lawsuits.” What tort reform really is, though, is a way to limit the rights of the American people to a trial by jury—a right guaranteed by the 7th Amendment to the Constitution. It does this by setting essentially arbitrary rules about who’s allowed to take cases to court and why…rules that stand to benefit big business rather than the American taxpayer.
Our Founding Fathers…agreed with the importance of a trial by jury. In the words of James Madison, "In suits at common law, trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature."
Other founders were equally adamant about the critical importance of access to civil justice. Thomas Jefferson called civil jury trials, "the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." –Huffington Post
By taking away the rights of the weak to benefit the strong, tort reform threatens the rights of every American. Let’s recognize the hypocrisy of the new House members who support tort reform: it’s anti-Constitutional and anti-American.