Supreme suprise. Conservatives on "Liberal" issues.

I'm always amused as the token Republican on The Legal Broadcast Network when I see the reaction of my good friends on the trial bar when I point out it is usually the reddest of the conservative states, Wyoming and Arizona for example, who most often and most recently beat back efforts at "tort reform", while the blue state liberals in California, NY and Oregon pass tort reform measures and caps. As i've told the trial lawyers for years, their best allies on this issue are the most conservative Republican's as they are the least likely to give up their right to a jury trial or accept caps on awards, just to reward some insurance company actuary of claims department.

Tort reform was and is the creation of a few major manufacturing and drug companies, aided and abetted by major money and statistical BS from powerful casualty insurers who stand to reap billions if it is passed. I won't get on that soap box today, but I do want to point out again to my trial lawyer friends and allies that they keep missing something in not appealing more to conservative Republican's on this issue.

Yesterdays ruling on the Gonzales v Raich case at the Supreme Court held that the federal government can trump state laws permitting the possession and cultivation of small quantities of cannabis for purely personal use, the so called Medical Marijuana provision. Who were the three justices who strongly wrote the Minority opinion on this issue? Clarence Thomas, Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice Rhenquist. Republican's one and all.

Check out today's commentary on Gonzales v. Raich in the Wall Street Journal and you'll get a glimmer of what is at work here. Some of the most ardent opponents of federalism and taking of powers from states not enumerated in the 10th amendment are conservatives. Not naturally allies perhaps, but intellectual allies on many issues if we can get past the enmity of elections and begin to realize that preservation of right to a jury trial and maintenance of state control over state issues is neither a liberal or conservative issue, but rightly an American issue.

Posted on June 8, 2005 .