Saturday, October 23, 2021

Danger of nuclear verdicts and other commentary

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Legal beat: Danger of Nuclear Verdicts

The last two years have seen New York’s courts “rocked by some of the highest ‘runaway’ verdicts in personal-injury actions in their history,” producing ever-more-massive payouts that result in “higher prices, higher taxes and fee hikes,” notes Tom Stebbins at Empire Report New York. With the technique of “anchoring,” lawyers put a “metaphorical weight” on pain and suffering awards, “applying pressure like never before” to convince jurors that “reasonable compensation is far above the fragile, de facto $10 million cap.” But “aggressively pursuing rapacious awards while New York businesses and citizens are struggling with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic is appalling.” The Legislature should “enact real civil-justice reform to put an end” to the abusive tactics of ­attorneys playing “golden fiddles while the rest of New York burns.”

From the right: Liberalism Goes ‘Soviet’

From The Washington Post to Vanity Fair, liberals now talk of “helping” people exit the “cult of Trump,” as comedian Bill Maher recently put it — and that’s downright “Soviet,” charges Jane Stannus at Spectator USA.

Only a madman could possibly dislike the Soviet idyll.” Today’s ideologues “think the same: Only a brainwashed cult-member could possibly support Trump.”

Libertarian: Bring Back Proactive Policing Now

At Reason, Paul Cassell takes issue with a new report from the Council on Criminal Justice for overemphasizing the pandemic and playing down the role of anti-policing protests in last year’s “unprecedented homicide spike.” His and other studies of homicide trends show the protests triggered “a decline in proactive policing” that “remains the most likely cause” of the surge — in which homicides spiked 30 percent, or 1,268 additional murders, over 2019 rates in 34 major US cities. His evidence is “the timing of the homicide spike”: Many of these cities showed big increases just after George Floyd’s death, when protests began, cops were assigned to deal with them and proactive policing declined. “To save lives . . . we need urgent action to restore proactive policing to its pre-protest levels.”

Culture critic: The Faint Praise for Cicely Tyson

“Mainstream media,” writes Armond White at National Review, have marked the death of actress Cicely Tyson “with overstated obits . . .

Sadly, “racial esteem recently has degraded into political necromancy. Once a black cultural figure passes, she gets more love dead than when alive. . . . Black artists who’ve enriched the culture are fitted with the same death masks as lawbreakers Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and George Floyd.” But “how could it be otherwise when the Black Lives Matter movement operates on terms dictated by white, liberal condescension?”

Conservative: The Left’s Impeachment Hypocrisy

Democrats argue former President Donald Trump deserves impeachment, because “though he told his protesters to be peaceful, his refusal to accept the 2020 election incited a mob. What to do, then, with a Senate majority leader who issued a violent threat against Supreme Court justices” and “senators who brought the mobs into hearing rooms and Senate buildings?” asks The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway. Last year, Sen. Chuck Schumer “led a mob on the steps of the Supreme Court while a case was being heard” and threatened Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, telling them “you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you, if you go forward with these awful decisions.” And, she notes, amid Kavanaugh’s confirmation, “74 protesters were arrested when they blocked the Senate hallways to prevent Kavanaugh from meeting with US senators,” while others “occupied senators’ offices” and “trapped senators in elevators.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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