Terrific Op-Ed About Tort Law in Missouri
Because the Show-Me Institute’s staff took some time off during the holidays, we missed writing about a few things that I might otherwise have jumped on. In the interest of catching up, I want to highlight this excellent piece by James Harris — whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for some time — that ran about a week ago in the Springfield News-Leader. I like how he puts the issue here:
Right now, having tort reform laws on the books puts us at a comparative advantage with other states and other nations when competing for new industries. The loss of these laws would put us at a disadvantage, discouraging companies from creating new jobs in Missouri which could be created more cheaply in other states.
I actually disagree with James on a related issue: that of judicial appointments in Missouri. However, I totally agree with every word he wrote in this piece. If the state Supreme Court strikes down the current tort laws that were enacted in 2005, it would be a disaster for Missouri in countless ways, especially economically. I won’t get too worked up, because I am optimistic that the court will agree that elected officials have a right to set limits on government actions, such as court verdicts.
If opponents of tort reform laws want to go back to the way it was in Missouri, they need to get people elected to office who run on rescinding the lower award limits and other reforms that were passed. After all, the officials elected in 2005 almost all ran on the issue of tort reform. The people of Missouri elected legislators who had proposed to limit awards, change venue laws, etc. If you want to change those laws, do it through the democratic process — not the courts.