(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

I still can't get over the Supreme Court's blatantly greater solicitude for corporations than for people, comparing yesterday's punitive damages case (State Farm v. Campbell) with the Three Strikes cases (Ewing and Andrade). As I posted yesterday, it strikes me as a major outrage. I know that one of the duties of lawyers is to help the public see beyond negative sound-byte portrayals of judicial decisions, and to understand that there are sometimes good legal reasons for results that seem intuitively wrong at first glance. So I have thought, and thought, about whether there was a way that I could explain these decisions in such a way that they would make sense even to somebody who disagreed with them -- say, for instance, that there was some widely-recognized difference between the governing standard of the 8th Amendment and the 14th that made sense of the apparently unfair results. But I cannot come up with any explanation that is even halfway convincing in my eyes. The unfairness -- and lack of any coherent legal basis for the unfairness -- seems to me as stark as it was when I first saw yesterday's result. Nathan Newman is thinking along these same lines, and has more thoughts.

posted by sam 9:57 AM 0 comments


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