Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pick Your Poison

Imagine that you live in an old house. It is small, but well cared for. It sits on a pleasant, quiet, shaded lot just outside a small town. You and your family have lived in it for over a decade. You have raised your children in it. Though you don't have a fancy job, or get a big paycheck, you are just a year or so from owning the house free and clear.

One day you leave home in mid-morning to go visit your in-laws. When you return, your house is no longer habitable. In fact, it is barely standing because a construction crew set off over one hundred pounds of explosives within twenty feet of your front door.

How would you feel? Depressed? Angry? Confused? Do you think you would have trouble sleeping? Concentrating? Working? You loved your home, and now it is gone.

Wouldn't it be fair to require the construction company to pay for your house and your suffering?

The Business Council of Alabama thinks you should not recover for the suffering unless you go get professional help for the emotional pain. I suppose their argument is that unless you went to get professional mental help, you must have been faking it. Remember, though, that you don't have a fancy job or big paycheck. So you cannot afford to get professional help. Or maybe you were raised to think prayer and faith were all that was needed to overcome pain. Under this bill, supported by the BCA, your poverty and faith not only would prevent you from getting help, but would also protect the construction company from being held responsible for their actions.

I bring this up because today we receive news that yet another Moore-clone has entered the state supreme court race. I've explained why Moorites are bad news. (See here and here). But they are not the only dangerous candidates out there. The BCA spends big money on supreme court elections because it wants judges to share its views. The BCA may talk about fairness, but it is just that - talk. They want their constituents to be able to act with impunity. So if the BCA endorses a candidate - as they have Drayton Nabers, Lyn Stuart, and Glenn Murdock - what does that say about the candidate? And how would you feel as an individual standing before judges who recieved very large campaign contributions from a group supporting your opponent's position?

The impact of pro-business judges is not as dramatic as that of the theocrat judges, but it will be much more painful.