Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Editorial in the Wall Street Journal -- Schumer's Tort Epiphany:
Write about politics long enough and you come to think you've seen everything. But even we didn't expect to see a leading Senate Democrat declare that tort law abuse is making America less economically competitive. Has Chuck Schumer told his colleagues about his epiphany?
Mr. Schumer was knocked off his horse last week on the way to a press conference with Governor Eliot Spitzer and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to discuss the ways that regulation is driving financial business from U.S. shores. Governor Spitzer's presence was so ironic that even he -- not famous for his self-deprecation -- had to joke about it. But the really big news is that Mr. Schumer endorsed a study declaring that tort reform is the single biggest key to retaining U.S. leadership in global finance.
As political conversions go, this is like Dick Cheney endorsing a stronger Congress. Mr. Schumer is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which puts him at the center of fundraising for Democratic candidates. And trial lawyers have been a leading and deep-pocketed constituency for Democrats, donating millions of dollars in each election cycle. Over the last decade, more than 90% of trial lawyer donations have gone to Democrats. In return, the Democratic Senate caucus has been a bulwark against tort reform.