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Argumentum ad nyaah-nyaah

Some Lawsuit Lobby groups (Center for Justice and Democracy, ATLA) have attempted to float the theme that anyone who favors reform of the litigation system, but files a lawsuit themselves or once cooperated in such a filing, must be a "hypocrite" and not worth listening to. For a recent example of the theme, see Dwight Meredith, inevitably filtering down to Kevin Drum.

No doubt some individual politicians and public figures do fall prey to inconsistency, but as Megan McArdle ("Jane Galt") points out in response, there's nothing inconsistent between willingness to press a legally valid claim and support for stronger steps to restrain the filing of weak, speculative or exaggerated claims. Writes McArdle:

The idea that Republicans, because they are in favour of tort reform, should never be able to file lawsuits, is about as stupid as the idea that Democrats, because they are in favour of some protectionist policies, should never be able to buy products made abroad. And while tu quoque may be brilliant for feeding one's righteous rage at people one already happens to hate, it's a really lousy guide to policy. Ideas are good, or bad, based on whether they will achieve our goals without trampling on other, equally important goals, not according to who holds them.

Read the whole thing. In comments (first, second) at Drum's Washington Monthly blog, commenter "Hubris" also delves into the factual background of several of the claimed cases of inconsistency, and finds the charges often don't pan out. Pejman Yousefzadeh also comments.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.