Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Monday, April 24, 2006

Alabama Christian Coalition Denounces Mini-Moore

John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama warns us all:

Trial lawyers are one of the biggest threats to the erosion of our U.S. Constitution, traditional family values and religious freedoms in Alabama and America today.

A few points in response:

First, the quote might be accurate if what you mean by eroding the constitution, family values and religious freedom is arguing that people should have more rights and freedoms; that people should be judged solely on their merits as individual people, and not on their racial, religious or sexual status; and that the government should not be in the business of theological welfare.

Second, for a bit more nuanced response, read this opinion piece from Sunday's B'ham News.

I agree with the author, who says:

When it comes to trial lawyers, many of them would surely testify that their faith largely informs their choice of vocation and legal practice. These attorneys are often on the side of those who have little if any resources to seek justice for themselves in cases of damages they have suffered because of negligence -as in a job-related injury, or in the case of contractual disputes - as with an insurance company.

People across the political and theological spectrum disagree about any need for tort reform, but who would dispute the right of any citizen - small business owners, for instance, and the poor - for capable legal representation in such matters? It is a worthy vocation.

And it is safe to assume that these same faith-driven attorneys engage their beliefs as they engage the political process as well.

No one individual or group can claim a corner on the truth. No one, no matter how insistent or arrogant his or her arguments, should be so confident as to be closed to the possibility of their own fallibility. That is true when it comes to legal matters, and it is certainly true in the realms of politics and faith.

Never trust a lawyer who tells you that his practice is the work of god. No matter whether she is a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, civil defense attorney, or plaintiff's lawyer, every attorney is going to take and argue cases with which they personally disagree. Furthermore, every area of practice involves harming some group. Plaintiff's lawyers want to destroy the economy. Criminal defense attorneys want to let criminals run the world. Prosecutors want to throw everyone in jail and let god sort them out. Civil defense attorneys want insurers to be able to take your payments and give you nothing in return. Anyone can spin any of these practices in any direction they want.

Third, and most interestingly, the same pamphlet says:

Judicial candidates will be asking for your vote this year. Tell them you will not support candidates who take trial lawyer money because of their anti-Christian agenda.

Tom Parker has allegedly received large donations from trial lawyers. Therefore, according to the Christian Coalition, Christians should oppose Mini-Moore in this year's judicial elections.