Lawyers Support Obama with Cash
The lawyer-candidate is luring lawyer love. Lawyers have donated $21 million to Barack Obama so far, compared with only $7 million to John McCain, Daniel Fisher reports today at Forbes.com. But in contrast to what might have been the donor profile if, say, John Edwards had been the candidate, the lawyers supporting Obama skew towards the defense side of the aisle. In fact, the single biggest donor was Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis, which counts among its clients tobacco companies and asbestos manufacturers.
What does that mean for those who favor so-called "tort reform"? (Yes, I favor the alternative label, TortDeform.) Not clear. Whichever side wins in November, legislative measures designed to limit lawsuits are unlikely to see any movement for at least two years, Fisher writes. But if Obama wins and Democrats solidify their majority in Congress, "the new president will be handed a slew of bills designed to expand the ways lawyers can sue." One such bill would overturn a February Supreme Court ruling that made it difficult to sue manufacturers over FDA-approved medical devices (Riegel v. Medtronic). "There's no way Obama is going to veto that," Manhattan Institute fellow James R. Copland tells Fisher.
Some believe that Obama's voting record on legal issues may be somewhat of a smokescreen, the Forbes article suggests. While he has appeared to be evenhanded so far, that may disappear once he is in office, they say. "You have to think it was purely cynical politics, so he could point to it later," said Ted Frank of the American Enterprise Institute. "Nothing in his record indicates he cares about tort reform." Yet even those on the "tort deform" side of the equation seem uncertain about where a President Obama would come down on these issues. "It makes you a little wary," said Graham Steele, a staff attorney at Public Citizen.Sphere: Related Content
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