Vox Populi

Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court of the United States’

It’s good to be the king

In broken tort reform, buying elections, Campaign Finance, medical malpractice, MI Supreme Court, undo tort reform on April 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm
English: A Photograph of the Michigan Supreme ...

English: A Photograph of the Michigan Supreme Court building located in downtown Lansing, Michigan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Mel Brooks had that as a running rif in his “History of the World, Part 1,” it was the excesses of the French Court he was lampooning (skeet shooting serfs was one gag).   The saying, though, applies to the Michigan Supreme Court today, with no revolution in sight.

The legal doctrine of Rooker-Feldman allows a state judiciary to be immune from federal oversight.  That is, a state court’s decision cannot be second-guessed by the federal court system…only the by the Supreme Court.

That is a fine system for upholding Jim Crow or enforcing Med Mal “tort reforms” (yes, I consider them to be of the same ilk).  Without a literal act of Congress (and good luck on that), a state judiciary can lay out a series of ruling that, because of stare decisis becomes the de facto law of the land.  If a case comes up through the appellate channel that challenges the precedent law-scape, just choose not to hear it. Because it takes 4 of 9 to hear a case, a stacked court (like the present Michigan Supreme Court) has virtual carte blanche to NOT hear any case that might upset the delicate balance that they have worked so hard over the last 20 years to erect.

With Gov. Rick Snyder‘s conservative appointment this last month, the “balance” of the court is now well in favor of keeping things exactly at the status quo

So, if you are too poor to sue, you better hope you live in a state that is NOT Michigan OR you physician you malpracticed on your ass lives in another state.  That way you can sue in Federal Court where they have determined that the Affidavit of Merit leads to injustice (as have numerous state courts–OK, LA, WA, IL, OH, NY, VT).

If you live in Michigan, and your physician was in Michigan, you either pay to play or you go home.  No other options.

If you appeal, you will be denied by stare decisis.  If you appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, you get a one page letter stating “heard and denied” for your troubles.  Appeal that to the US Supreme Court, and you waste your time (they take up about 1% of the cases filed).

Forget about Federal Courts other than the Supreme Court of the United States, federal district courts will dismiss on Rooker-Feldman.

For the sitting Michigan justices, it is good to be the king.

For the insurance and medical groups who have financed their campaigns, who have paid over the years to have their ALEC laws enacted, it is really, really good to be the king.

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Follow the courts at the Justice at Stake website

In buying elections, Campaign Finance, MI Supreme Court, Partner Web Sites-- on August 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Justice at Stake

I stumbled upon the Justice at Stake website, and I have found it to be a trove of helpful resources:  from national courts to my own home state of Michigan.

Now I can track some of the PAC money that is being used to buy influence.

Yay.

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Supreme Court Ruling Constitutes Abuse of Democracy | DomeMagazine.com

In buying elections, Campaign Finance, Donors, Get the Ca$h, ideology on February 13, 2010 at 10:16 pm
Official 2007 portrait of U.S.
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When he mouthed, “Not True” during Obama’s State of the Union Address, Justice Alito, one of 5 to vote away funding caps by corporations, took a definate partisan stance.  Read more about the ruling here: Supreme Court Ruling Constitutes Abuse of Democracy | DomeMagazine.com.

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Exerpt from The Medical Malpractice Myth, by Tom Baker, an excerpt

In Uncategorized on December 11, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Medical malpractice premiums are skyrocketing. “Closed” signs are sprouting on health clinic doors.

A good book

Doctors are leaving the field of medicine, and those who remain are practicing in fear and silence. Pregnant women cannot find obstetricians. Billions of dollars are wasted on defensive medicine. And angry doctors are marching on state capitols across the country.

All this is because medical malpractice litigation is exploding. Egged on by greedy lawyers, plaintiffs sue at the drop of a hat. Juries award eye-popping sums to undeserving claimants, leaving doctors, hospitals, and their insurance companies no choice but to pay huge ransoms for release from the clutches of the so-called “civil justice” system. Medical malpractice litigation is a sick joke, a roulette game rigged so that plaintiffs and their lawyers’ numbers come up all too often, and doctors and the honest people who pay in the end always lose.

This is the medical malpractice myth.

This fear has inspired legislative action on a nationwide scale three times in my lifetime. The first time was back in the mid-1970s. I remember sitting at the dinner table listening to my father report what he’d heard at his medical society meeting: “Medical malpractice insurance premiums are going through the roof. Frivolous litigation and runaway juries will drive doctors out of the profession.” The answer, the medical societies and their insurance companies said, was medical malpractice tort reform—to make it harder for misguided patients and their lawyers to sue.

What the medical societies did not tell my father, or almost anyone else, was that their own research showed that the real problem was too much medical malpractice, not too much litigation. In the mid-1970s the California Hospital and Medical Associations sponsored a study on medical malpractice that they expected would support their tort reform efforts. But, to their surprise and dismay, the study showed that medical malpractice injured tens of thousands of people every year—more than automobile and workplace accidents. The study also showed that, despite the rhetoric, most of the victims did not sue. But almost nobody heard about the study because the associations decided that these facts conflicted with their tort reform message.

via The Medical Malpractice Myth by Tom Baker, an excerpt (emphasis added).

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Jesse M. Reiter: The Purchasing of Our State Supreme Courts: How Goliath is Beating David in Courtrooms Across America | BuzzFlash.org

In broken tort reform, Donors, Get the Ca$h on November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm
David and Goliath, by Caravaggio, c. 1599.
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Jesse M. Reiter: The Purchasing of Our State Supreme Courts: How Goliath is Beating David in Courtrooms Across America | BuzzFlash.org.

This incisive article begins by stating:

Over the last several election cycles, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its powerful corporate backers have been silently purchasing state Supreme Court seats across the country. As a result, many state supreme courts, which were once fair and neutral, now favor big business interests. This in turn has left average citizens without a voice in our court system and is making our system less democratic.

The Chamber’s state Supreme Court strategy is simple: “buying a new court… [is] far cheaper than changing the direction of fifty legislatures.” Since the Chamber understands that Americans would never willingly allow their rights to be openly eliminated, it is quietly pouring huge sums of money into formerly sedate and inexpensive judicial elections, effectively buying the state court systems where citizens’ rights are enforced.

I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

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Is that change I smell in the air…

In MI Supreme Court on November 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm
U.S. Supreme Court building.
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The Michigan Supreme Court has adopted, though not published, new recusal rules that will align them with Capterton Massey–sometimes it takes a big stick from the US Feds to get something done locally.

The Lansing State Journal says:

Under rules adopted by a 4-3 majority this month, a member of the court is to step aside if the jurist’s “impartiality might objectively and reasonably be questioned.”

Further, if an individual justice receives and rejects a request for recusal, a party in the case can appeal to the full court for further consideration.

In other words, the justice whose status might be compromised does not serve as the sole arbiter of his or her ability to uphold the office.

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How Tort Reform Ruined Texas – PT. 1/2

In broken tort reform, Campaign Finance, Court recusal, undo tort reform on November 12, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “How Tort Reform Ruined Texas – PT. 1/2“, posted with vodpod

 

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