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Rick Perry: Tort Reform HypocriteRick Perry has been highly critical of the American civil justice system. Perry has lauded so-called "tort reform" in Texas and chastised the 7th Amendment's right to civil jury trial as "frivolous lawsuits" and referring to plaintiffs – those who bring a lawsuit – as "playing the odds and hoping for a jackpot jury."

But what does Rick Perry do when his presidential campaign fails to follow the rules to obtain enough signatures to make it on the Virginia presidential primary ballot?

Rick Perry uses the same civil justice he has chastised and Rick Perry sues the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support," said Perry communications director Ray Sullivan in a statement.

Perry's lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a state law that says those who circulate petitions to get a candidate on the ballot must be eligible, or registered, to vote in the state. Perry claims that the requirement violates his freedom of speech and association.

Source: NBC News

As Perry's lawsuit demonstrates, the 7th Amendment is the ultimate lynch pin for all other constitutional rights, which is why it's not just democrats and trial lawyers standing up for this fundamental freedom, but also constitutional conservatives who oppose attacks on 7th Amendment rights through tort reform.

What is your remedy if someone violates your constitutional rights to free speech? To religious freedom? To keep and bear arms? To contract? Or even to be on a Virginia presidential primary ballot? These are civil law (or civil justice) claims in which you take the bad actor (whether a person, a corporation, or a government) to court in order to have your rights protected.

But what happens when access to courts is limited? What happens when access to the courts is so lopsided that the average person cannot gain access? What happens when powerful lobbyists control the courts like they control other branches of government?

I applaud Rick Perry for recognizing the importance of the civil justice system in protecting his civil liberties. But such actions make his continued attacks on the civil justice system that much more hypocritical. The civil justice can protect Rick Perry's rights, but not yours.

The US Constitution is not something from which you can pick and choose. It applies in full. As patriots, we are bound to uphold it.

Freedom, liberty, and civil justice are issues our founders fought and died for. These are issues that should unite us as citizens rather than divide us as partisans. Join those on both sides of the political aisle in standing up for our Constitution and for preserving Civil Justice rights and accountability.

Read More:

[More on your 7th Amendment Rights]

[More on Rick Perry]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.


  1. Gravatar for Cilla Mitchell

    Mr. Emison, you nailed it. Rick Perry continues to support state's rights, but has the unmitigated audacity to sue the Commonwealth of Virginia. What a piece of hypocritical work. He is against frivolous suits in Texas, but feels free to sue Virginia because his name did not make it on the ballot. Does he take the time to consider the people in Virgina do not want him on the ballot? How many Texans' rights were denied because he signed the Tort Reform Act in 2003 which allowed reckless negligent doctors to continue killing patients? How many innocent lives were taken because he appointed half the Texas Medical Board, including the president, Dr. Irve Zeitler, who failed to police after his own and thereby going against the TMB Mission of "protecting the health of Texans." Governor Rick Perry's arrogance and having the TMB in his pocket, makes getting accountability in Texas impossible. If someone wants to see the definition of hypocrisy in a dictionary, there ought to be a picture of Rick Perry.

  2. Gravatar for James D. Weaver

    Mr. Emison is obviously ignorant of the law and various applications. Rick Perry is a Tort Reform advocate, which means he is not against law suites in general but tort suites which extort billions from corporations and the plantiffs receive little. This includes primarily class action law suites that have made our healthcare system too expensive for most Americans. You can reduce healthcare costs by at least 20% with tort reform. Don't believe it, just look at Texas. Doctors are flooding in and hospitals are expanding. Do your homework Mr. Emison and check the facts. They don't lie like most journalists.

  3. Gravatar for Brett Emison


    I appreciate you reading, but it is your ignorance, not mine, which has been exposed.

    There are so many untruths littered throughout your comment that it will difficult to address all of them.

    You're just flat wrong on the health care stats. Litigation costs add less than 2% (not 20% as you claim) to the overall cost of healthcare. You don't have to take my word for it. Check out Consumer Reports if you want to check my facts (

    More importantly, our 7th Amendment rights protect you and me if we're injured by a negligent person, company, government, or even a doctor.

    Doctors are not flooding to Texas and the ones that are coming you probably don't want - doctors like Dr. Konasiewicz who had been sued nine times for medical malpractice in Minnesota and publicly reprimanded by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice before fleeing to Texas where lax medical negligence rules permit him to practice on unsuspecting patients. (See -

    For you - and Rick Perry - to be right, our Founding Fathers had to get it wrong. They didn't. We don't need a "big government" European-style civil justice system. We didn't need to fight a revolutionary war if we were just going to revert to the British-style of justice in which there is no right to civil jury trial.

    We need a system in which the smallest among us has a voice equal to the most rich and most powerful. We need a system of justice that holds negligent actors - whoever they are - accountable. We need a system of justice that holds government accountable when it oversteps its bounds.

    What you and Perry don't seem to understand is that when justice is denied for few, it is the many that suffer. You simply cannot close the courthouse doors for a few without affecting the rights of the rest of us.

    It is for that reason - and others - that we need the system of justice created by our Founders which is the greatest system of justice the world has known.

  4. Gravatar for Anna Mae Rooks

    Rick Perry...isn't he the loud-mouth touting the virtues of "states rights?" Now he is suing Virginia because he couldn't find 10,000 people in the entire state to sign his petition to be on the ballot? Isn't he the same oaf who rants about "frivolous law suits?"

    Sorry, Rick - you're not in Texas now and all you have accomplished is to show the rest of the country what a true idiot you are. You should realize by now that you are Texas Toast and you will more than likely be voted out of office as governor. Your $10,000 monthly rent (plus upkeep) on your mansion, the cost to taxpayers being forced to pay your expenses as you expose your "intellect" to the rest of the country, your

    "retirement" pay, your greed and corruption has been exposed and we Texans are chomping at the bit to send you back to "N-Head" or Painted rock, or whatever rock you crawled out from under.

  5. Gravatar for jc

    I am a big supporter of tort reform particularly malpractice. Nationwide, plaintiff attorneys lose 80% of their cases at trial. No other industry in America has an 80% failure rate. Typically it takes 3-4 years to get a malpractice case into court and should the plaintiff win, he only gets 45% of the award as greedy lawyers and the legal system scarf up the rest. Plaintiff attorneys like to point to the occasional case of gross malpactice, yet they hide from their own malpractice accounting for their 80% failure rate. I have personally witnessed gross plaintiff attorney malpractice which would make a doctor blush. This happens because plaintiff attorneys take no specialized training before they file these lawsuits. In truth, malpractice law is highly specialized and allowing any joe lawyer to file these cases is akin to allowing a family practicioner to do brain surgery. No hospital would allow that, yet the American Bar Association turns a blind eye when your average wills and divorce attorney files a malpractice case. Since the American Bar Association will not enforce any standards, we need a change - -to medical courts. Take away plaintiff attorneys ability to bilk unwitting patients and allow them to get speedy cost effective justice in an administrative court.

    Patients for Fair Compensation is a group which is currently proposing such legislation in Georgia and Florida to get rid of the "blame and shame" game and get rid of greedy and incompetent plaintiff attorneys.

  6. Gravatar for Anna Mae Rooks

    Persistent little chap, aren't you jc! From reading all your drivel, it seems more than likely you are a doctor who has had the bejabbers sued out of him numerous times for numerous offenses and now you have a chip on your shoulder. If you feel you have been harmed, you'd be the first to file a lawsuit, just like that hypocrit, Rick (Mr. Frivolous)Perry. Now, go ring in the New Year. If you're lucky, maybe a bottle-rocket will blow that chip off your shoulder.

  7. Gravatar for Cilla Mitchell

    jc, I am starting to seriously worry about you. If I were a betting woman, I would venture to say your wife, your kids and your dog ran away from home because they no longer could stand your persistent ranting.

    Do yourself a favor for 2102. Go on a vacation to one of those places they have in Nevada which are exclusive to men, and chill. It will be money well spent in your case.

  8. Gravatar for jc

    Cilla: Thanks for your suggestion. Cilla what I am trying to get across is that there are two victims in medical malpractice cases. Obviously there is the patient, but most doctors are just horrified that they might have done something wrong to hurt a patient, and the caring doctors that I know are affected just as much as the patients family. But to err is human and I just think that having medical courts which could quickly reach a decision in less time and at less cost would be helpful for the patient and the doctor. Medical Courts would not be good for plaintiff attorneys.

  9. Gravatar for Anna Mae Rooks

    Here in Texas, many times there are more than "two victims"..the deceased and his/her family. As you know, my son lost his life due to the incompetence, gross negligence, and gross recklessness of TWO doctors and I will quote the finding of the Texas Medical Board: "The file involving Dr. Widman was reviewed by two Board Certified was found that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations that lab results were withheld" Lab reselts were never an issue in my complaint). "The file involving Dr. Lindner was likewise reviewed by multiple experts....and determined that there is insufficient evidence ." Dr. Irvin E. Zeitler, Jr., DO, president of the TMB states "I personally performed an additional review of the files in question, in their entirety, and came to the same conclusions: there is insufficient evidence to prove a violation of those statutory laws regarding physicians."

    MY REPLY TO ZEITLER: "Really Dr. Zeitler? From evidence contained in the file, it is clear that Lindner's endoscopy was an unnecessary procedure as my son's abdominal pains had already been determined to be CARDIAC-RELATED AND NOT gastrointestinal in nature. IF you read the medical records as you claim, surely this fact coild not have escaped your attention." It is abdundantly clear that Lindner's ONLY reason for proceeding with the unnecessary procedure was for monetary gain and he was more than willing to risk my son's life by ignoring ALL the indications of the dangers to my son's life."

    I had a medical investigator review my son's medical records. The following are exercepts from his report:

    "It was well documented that David Rooks suffered from many of the complications of Emery Dreifuss. He was known to have heart problems and was diagnosed with CHF....Despite all the findings that David Rooks' abdominal pain was the result of his cardiac pathology, Dr. Lindner recommended an ELECTIVE esophagogastroduodenoscopy to rule out any gastrointestinal paathology.....David's condition should have given pause to any clinic or healthcare provider in determining of any elective procedure is necessary or beneficial, with regard to the risks involved....In David's case, his Dystrophy, his cardiac weakness, his wakened overall condition as described by Dr. Widman and his history of having had anesthetic and sedation problems, should have been cause for great concern. By itself, ANY oprocedure involving sedation or anesthetics in a patient with Muscular Dystrophy should automatically put any medical healthcare professional on guard...Unfortunately, the records provided do not seen to reflect any thoughtful approach by Dr. Lindner with regard to David Rooks. The record suggests that Dr. Lindner never even read any of the notes written by his fellow physicians, because he actually states that : HEART AND LUNG EXAM WERE FOUND TO BE NORMAL. This failure to appreciate David Rooks underlying disease and overall poor physical condition as well as the medical opinion and judgement of fellow physicians is an error of such significance that it is difficult to defend. David Rooks' demise following this elective procedure could in all likelihood been presented by proper recognition of the underlying condition...and by proper safeguarding and monitoring the condition during and after the procedure. Unfortunately, the records do not reflect this happened."

    The kangaroo court otherwise known as THE TEXAS MEDICAL BOARD could find absolutely nothing wrong with the "care" that killed my son.

    Keep checking the newspapers jc as I will soon be filing criminally negligent homicide charges against this "doctor". The evidence is there and it speaks for itself.

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