Rand Paul Is A Tort “Reform” Hypocrite
Senator Rand Paul had the misfortune to be assaulted and injured by his neighbor in 2017. Like many Americans who have been legitimately wronged, Paul brought a lawsuit against his neighbor.
After a two day trial, a Kentucky jury awarded Paul approximately $580,000.00. Jurors awarded Paul $375,000 in punitive damages, $200,000 for pain and suffering, and an additional $7,834 for medical expenses. The defendant in the lawsuit plans to file an appeal.
Before he filed his lawsuit, Paul supported arbitrary caps on damages in personal injury cases. Paul wanted to substitute the judgment of special interests, politicians and big government for the judgment of twelve citizens acting as a jury.
Unfortunately, Paul isn’t the only tort “reform” hypocrite. In 1996, then Senator Rick Santorum’s wife filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in which she sought $500,000.00 in damages. At the same time, Santorum stated that he was “fully supportive” of his wife even though he sponsored legislation that would’ve capped damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000.00.
“It’s pretty hypocritical of him,” said Steven Bergstein, an Allentown, Pa., lawyer who represents medical victims in malpractice cases as well as corporations. “Politicians complain about these kinds of claims, but when they speak out publicly, they don’t think about the real people affected by these tragic events. When they are the real person affected, suddenly they have a totally different view.”
The experiences of Paul and Santorum reveal that a key feature of conservatism is how almost all of its bedrock policies melt under the light of personal experience. It’s interesting to note how rarely strict conservative principles survive direct personal experience with a social problem. The problem for the GOP is that many conservative ideas are unpopular once they aren’t entirely abstract.
The right to a jury trial is protected by the 7th Amendment to the Constitution. Many people aren’t aware of this constitutional protection and don’t know that it is under attack by wealthy special interests like the insurance, gun and tobacco industries.
The wealthy oppose the 7th Amendment because it allows the average American to take on a big company on a level playing field. Because a courtroom is outside of the political arena, a big company doesn’t enjoy all of the usual advantages conferred upon by them by their great wealth and power. The 7th Amendment right to a jury trial provides a necessary check and balance to the greed and incompetence of the top 1%.
Thomas Jefferson said it best: “ I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”