Listed as a witness in the upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nursing home arbitration -- see below -- is Ken Connor of Wilkes & McHugh, who testified in last week's House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on nursing home arbitration. The Mother Jones blog posts on the political complications that Connor ostensibly poses for tort reformers, as he's the former president of the Family Research Council and a right-to-life conservative Republican who sues nursing homes. From "A Right-to-Lifer and the GOP's Nursing Home Dilemma":
While the GOP views trial lawyers as its mortal enemies, Connor doesn't see any contradiction between his profession and role as family values crusader. Instead, he sees his lawsuits against nursing homes as an extension of the work he did in the Schiavo case. "Removing the feeding tube, letting Teri Schiavo starve to death," he said in an interview, "I see this all the time with the elderly." Connor believes that the frail elderly are second only to the unborn in their suffering due to what he sees as a prevailing "quality of life" mindset, as opposed to one focused on the sanctity of life. He says he's witnessed bioethicists in Florida argue that if an elderly person suffers from dementia, there would be nothing wrong with hastening his or her demise. "If you call yourself a Christian, you have an obligation to fight for social justice," he says, noting that, "It's much easier to make the case for the elderly than for the unborn."
Connor recently won a $2 million verdict against Sunrise Senior Living in California for letting an elderly woman develop fatal bedsores.
The Mother Jones posts also notes that the "nursing home arbitration bill is one of nearly a dozen Democratic-backed measures introduced in Congress over the past year that would ban mandatory arbitration in everything from new car contracts to meatpacking company agreements." The InjuryBoard blog, a trial lawyers' blog, also comments on Connor in this post.
UPDATE (7:45 p.m.) We've corrected the spelling of Connor's name -- two o's, no e. Apologies. Also, please note this 2005 Point of Law column by Ramesh Ponnuru on the Center for a Just Society, chaired by Connor.