Marriage is love.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Class Action Law

"There are basically two things you need to know about the recent class action bill signed into law by President Bush. It moves most class action lawsuits from state court to federal court. And the reason it does so is because class actions are more likely to fail in federal court. That’s the new class action law in a nutshell.

Ignoring for now the merits of the new law (and there are good arguments both for and against it), I want to use it to make a more general point about "states' rights." To me, the legislation provides a perfect example of why states’ rights rhetoric – indeed, the very concept of states’ rights – is so empty and incoherent. After all, you would think that ardent states’ rights conservatives would have opposed this bill in the name of decentralization. The reason they did not is because battles over decentralization or states’ rights have nothing to do with lofty ideas or general principles. They are merely pretextual justifications for interest group politics. When you boil most federalism battles down to their essence, they are simply about fighting for the forum (i.e., state vs. federal) that is most likely to advance the preferences of the interest group in question. "

For the rest of the article click here.

He has it exactly right. States' rights only meant something when the states provided conservatives some shelter from the federal courts where those judges upheld individuals' rights in the later part of the 20th century.

Now that the conservatives own the federal courts, and there are a few states left that afford shelter to those seeking to enforce individual rights, the conservatives want them out of those remaining states. When it comes to individual rights these days, conservatives are like Border Collies herding the cattle to slaughter.