Jul 282004

I’ve talked about the White House attacks on John Edwards before because he’s one of those awful “trial lawyers.”Edward’s most prominent case” occurred in 1993, when a five-year-old girl was caught in an improperly covered drain that was strong enough to suck out most of intestines. Edwards filed suit on the Lakeys’ behalf against Sta-Rite Industries, and soon discovered that 12 other children had suffered similar injuries from Sta-Rite drains. According to a report in the Washington Monthly, attorneys “describe his handling of the case as a virtuoso example of a trial layer bringing a negligent corporation to heel.”

But here’s the dirty little secret that the White House isn’t telling you.

A cadre of key Republican Senators started their careers as trial lawyers. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a former trial lawyer. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was a trial lawyer; And Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said, “I have a number of trial lawyers that support me personally they are friends of mine..I don’t look at ATLA or trial lawyers as an enemy by any means.”

Earlier this month, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a former trial lawyer, went on national television and told the White House to stop its baseless attacks on Edwards’ legal career. Calling Edwards a “great guy,” Graham told ABC’s This Week on 7/11/04 that “people in my party beat on John Edwards for being a trial lawyer. As far as I know John made his money honestly. I used to represent people in courts in the south. So I wish we’d get off that.” Two weeks later, Vice President Cheney said “Lindsey Graham is doing a great job for the people of South Carolina,” though moments later he delivered another diatribe against lawyers.

Oh, and while little brother Jeb is on the attack promising to “whack” trial lawyers, the leading GOP Senate contender in Florida is former Bush Cabinet Secretary Mel Martinez, a successful trial lawyer who was president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.

So, I agree, let’s get ALL the trail lawyers out of politics. George, are you going to ask Mel to withdraw from the race?

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