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February 04, 2005

Federalism, Hypocrisy and Perversity

Bush supports states rights, except when he doesn't. Which of course is when big corporations think they can get a better deal from the federal courts.

Which is the story with the new class action legislation just approved by a Senate committee. It would remove big class action cases from state courts to federal courts. But here's the twist, conservative legal doctrine decided by the Supreme Court bars federal courts from hearing class action cases where state laws differ. The result:

measure creates a Catch-22 situation in which, once a case is removed from a state court, a federal court might not be able to hear it...Thus the fear among the critics is that if the legislation were adopted without changes, a significant group of cases could not be brought in either federal or state courts.
This legislation is not "reform." It's a way to destroy basic consumer rights and let big corporations hurt and even kill people with no legal venue available to hold them accountable.

The only good news is that Arlen Specter may support a Democratic amendment to allow federal courts to fix the problem and resolve conflicts between state laws.

Posted by Nathan at February 4, 2005 08:16 AM