Genies and bottles; Tigers and tails; and other Good Ideas that Bite – a guest post by LawDog
In 1998 a record-breaking settlement was reached against the tobacco companies for providing a still-legal product to consumers.
Shortly thereafter, and citing the tobacco settlement, litigation started regarding ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke, or “Second Hand Smoke”). This boils down to: Joe smokes; Frank doesn’t. Frank decides that Joe’s smoking has harmed him in some nebulous way, so Frank sues the tobacco companies.
Let me state that again: Frank sues the tobacco companies for providing a perfectly legal product to Joe. The end game is clear: some folks don’t like tobacco. They can’t get this legal product made unlawful, but they discovered they can litigate it to the point that the producers can’t afford to supply it anymore. Voila! Banning a product, without the cumbersome, uncertain process of making it unlawful!
Anyone following the gun debate in this country knows that the current hotness is suing the gun manufacturers. Joe acquires a gun, does something tragic with it. Frank gets a case of the hips, fails to sue the critter, you know, who pulled the trigger, instead he sues the gun manufacturer for providing a perfectly legal product to someone (someone, not Frank).
Again, the endgame on this is clear: the gun banners can’t get guns made illegal, but … if they can litigate this perfectly legal product to the point that the gun makers can’t afford to make guns anymore … well, they don’t have to try to get politicians to make them illegal, do they? Voila! Banning a legal product without, you know, banning it.
If you’re following the watermelons, you’ve no doubt heard of the lawsuits being filed against the petroleum companies for “Global Climate Disruption”. Several dozen, as I write this, filed by various and sundry individuals and politicians.
As above, it boils down to the fact that fossils fuels are not going to be prohibited. However, if it becomes too expensive to produce this perfectly legal product …
So, several hundred million Joes are driving their cars around, or flying in planes, or heating their homes with dinosaur squeezins, or using plastic products, so Frank sues the petroleum companies.
As is the case with the examples above, the desired result is not any recompense for damages to Frank, the desired end result is to litigate the petroleum industry out of business, and thus ban perfectly legal petroleum without, you know … banning it.
Got a feel for lawfare now? You think a legal product/service shouldn’t be legal. You don’t have enough votes to convince politicians to make laws against the product/service, but if you sue enough, sooner or later a sympathetic jury will make it too expensive for the product/service to be provided. It’s a nifty little legal end run around American lawmaking.
Now let us cast our eyes to Texas, where some State lawmakers decided that “Sauce for the gander being sauce for the goose and all that”, hauled off and made it official that Francine could sue the legal provider of a service used by Jo-Betsy.
Cue the wailing, the vapours, and the rending of garments. And more than a bit of teeth-gnashing.
One of the juvenile traits of the American Left that tends to stick in my craw is their tendency to gleefully go for the political/legal nukes against the “loyal opposition”, but then squalling like kicked pups when those same nukes get used against them.
Case in point: The Democratic Party holding multiple solemn press conferences when they did away with the 67% of the Senate to approve a Presidential nominee; replacing it with a simple majority. The worm turned, and the Republicans stated approving nominees with a simple majority, and the Democrats screamed bloody blue murder. Y’all set the damned precedent, quit whinging.
I’m here to tell you that the Venn diagram of folks who think the gun makers should be sued out of business; and those who think that the petroleum companies being litigated out of business is perfectly okay is damned near a perfect circle with the “My Body My Choice” crowd.
Y’all grabbed this tiger by the tail and used it to savage people you didn’t agree with. Now it’s biting you. I find myself completely unmoved by your protestations. You uncorked the genie and used it against the politically icky, and now that it’s at your door, you’re screaming about how unfair it is. Wah.
Y’all set the damned precedent for this law, and continue to do so. I have no sympathy.
This is your wakeup call: Stop using the courts to get around Congress.