DMI Blog

Andrea Batista Schlesinger

Why are we launching TortDeform.Com: The Civil Justice Defense Blog?

Visit and and then let me know if you figure it out.

There is a line in the sand between the right and the left. It's about the role of government in our lives.

All around us a destructive force is underway. Powerful interests are rewriting the rules to make it as difficult as possible for regular Americans to have access to the courts and to remedy for the damage they suffer because of corporate negligence. In the name of tort "reform," a misnomer suggesting that something is broken that isn't, corporations and their willing legislative accomplices are doing everything possible to perpetuate their ability to harm regular consumers and workers with impunity.

Who cares? Too few.

It isn't as glamorous as many of the "issues" we care about - the death penalty, the environment, poverty - but it embodies the principal that divides us from the Manhattan Institutes of the world: a belief that our government should exist as an equalizing force, not an arm of the wealthiest and most powerful.

The progressive movement has been far too silent on the issue of protecting access to the courts. Even Senator John Edwards, for whom I have enormous respect, too often shied away from defending his job as a trial lawyer by supporting a "mend but don’t end" (God I hate when people say that) approach to our civil justice system.

The conservative right has successfully positioned this issue as being about greedy lawyers suing at any opportunity, with insurance companies as the victims (poor insurance companies absolutely must raise rates because they are being sued so often... despite their record profits and minimal financial impact of the suits). The right has spent years and millions of dollars working on framing this issue to the American people. They wouldn't have bothered if this wasn't important. The civil justice system should be an example of how government can better the lives of people.

The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy (DMI) was founded by lawyers who were advisors to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We were formed at the nexus between law and the movement for social change. It is this role that we embrace today in launching

So check it out and let us know what you think. But be certain of one thing: we can fight every issue, and on every electoral campaign, and we can organize, organize, organize, but if we are silent on the issue of preserving access to our civil justice system, and we become harmed like so many other Americans, we will realize that it is too late for protests and email campaigns because there is no system left to protect us.

Cross-Posted from

Andrea Batista Schlesinger: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 3:57 PM, Sep 12, 2006 in Civil Justice
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