TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Torts & Presidential Politics: Obama

It does seem rather early to be worrying about presidential politics, but since roughly 3,000 candidates are out there already, it seems like a fair time to take an early look.  So this is the first in an occasional series of posts looking to see what the various candidates have on their websites about issues relating to tort law.  I assume that most candidates have a position paper on most of the relevant issues available on request; that's not what I'm looking for.  I'm looking to see if they consider the issue important enough to have online.

(As an aside, I don't know that I think that tort issues are even in my top 10 issues for presidential candidates, so their absence from a candidate's website isn't particularly concerning to me.  But it's still an interesting question.)

Today: Barack Obama and his website.  The site has nothing that I can see directly on point, though it does have a healthcare page.  A half-dozen posts on the site reference tort law, but so far as I can tell, they're all on "" subdomains -- i.e., blogs of supporters or others and comments thereon.

Elsewhere, Obama has been quoted as stating in 2004 that "Anyone who denies there’s a crisis with medical malpractice insurance is probably a trial lawyer."  The cited source is no longer an active URL, but here [PDF] is the new location for the same bulletin, and sure enough, it says that.

Update: I should have originally noted that I've previously posted about a bill that Obama and Clinton cosponsored that sought to encourage apologies and remedial measures after medical mistakes.

Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink

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Thanks for pointing to my post about Obama and tort reform. Although I am currently leaning toward Sen. Obama as a presidential candidate (and admire Democrats who are not afraid to stand up to the p/i lawyer lobby, despite the generous partisan piggy bank of the "trial/justice" bar), I am still disappointed that my repeated request for information from the Obama Senate campaign never received any sort of response. Here's a follow-up blurb at f/k/a (Feb. 17, 2005) about Obama that might be of interest to your readers:

I just learned today that Sen. Barack Obama was among the 18 Democrats voting for the Class Action Reform Act last week. All 26 opposing senators were Democrats. Obama appears to have adopted the popular (with me too) anti-coupon position, but maybe also the Madison-County-bashing position. According to the Kansas City Star (Feb. 10, 2005):

Barack Obama, D-Ill., said in a statement afterward that he had voted for the bill even though he is “a strong believer” in class-action lawsuits.”When multimillion-dollar settlements are handed down and all the victims get are coupons for a free product, justice is not being served,” he said. “And when cases are tried in counties only because it’s known that those judges will award big payoffs, you get quick settlements without ever finding out who’s right and who’s wrong.”

Of course, f/k/a is still waiting for a fuller explanation of Obama’s Tort Reform position.

Posted by: david giacalone | Mar 15, 2007 8:44:35 AM

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