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My Townhall.com Response to Doroshow

As I noted on Friday, Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice and Democracy authored a hit piece in last Wednesday's Huffington Post, which attacked the Manhattan Institute and the Trial Lawyers, Inc.: K Street report. I usually don't comment on the drivel spewed out by the trial-lawyer allied groups, since there's little reason to drive eyeballs to their otherwise lightly trafficked websites. But The Huffington Post has enough readers that I thought it wise to reply, this time. Today, Townhall.com published my lengthy reply, which:

  1. Spells out just what the Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy is, what the Trial Lawyers, Inc. series is, and what the Center for Justice and Democracy is:
    The CJD's name is designed to obscure its actual mission, much like the trial lawyers have done by renaming their lobbying arm, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, as the innocuous-sounding American Association for Justice. Who, really, could be against justice or democracy? But the Center for Justice and Democracy, it turns out, is an organization that exists for the exclusive purpose of preserving the status quo system of tort litigation in America.

  2. Responds to Doroshow's misleading attacks on the K Street report's accurate claim that "over the last decade, lawyers and law firms--excluding lobbyists--have injected $780 million into federal campaigns":
    [Doroshow] argues that corporate interests also give large sums to the political process, which is unambiguously true. But Doroshow then tries to argue that corporate influence overwhelms lawyers' influence through a clever sleight of hand: she points to tables listing lobbying expenditures rather than campaign donations, which is what we're talking about in our report. They're not the same thing, and Doroshow almost certainly knows that, since the Center for Justice and Democracy--unlike the Manhattan Institute--reports lobbying activities on its own 990 federal tax returns.

  3. Responds to Doroshow's misleading attacks on "our report's detailed recitation of the trial bar's unprecedented efforts to get the current session of Congress to expand liability"--with a particular focus on her characterization of the Franken amendment (which I also discussed in some detail in my Friday post on the K Street report's federal government relations section):
    [Doroshow] mischaracterizes most of the federal legislation she describes. Most egregiously misleading is her description of the Franken amendment: "Al Franken's amendment to the defense appropriation bill[] ensured that women who serve as military contractors and get brutally drugged and raped by their co-workers ought to be able to seek legal recourse in court." Did Franken's amendment do that? Well, yes--but it did much more, too; and Doroshow is merely recycling the lie fed by the trial lawyers to late-night talk shows, the blogosphere, and an uncritical media.

I conclude:
The story of the Franken amendment, and the deceptive claims of the Center for Justice and Democracy's Joanne Doroshow, are good object lessons in how the trial bar feeds a gullible media to further its own political objectives. The Manhattan Institute's Trial Lawyers, Inc.: K Street report is intended to set the record straight; and we'll continue to do so, no matter what names and lies the personal-injury lawyers and their apologists throw our way.

Read the full piece here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.