Notes From Babel

Juries ruin pretty much everything

with one comment

Steve Bainbridge observes the fun being sucked out of America and fingers plaintiffs’ lawyers as the culprit.  I’m no apologist for the tort bar, but consider the problem from the incentives angle.  There’s billions of dollars to be had for talented, opportunistic attorneys.  It would take a level of self-control unprecedented in human history for them all to willingly leave all that money on the table.  Swapping lawyer jokes is cathartic, but it’s not getting us anywhere.

The time-honored jury of peers, on the other hand, is where we would expect some sobriety.  Jurors receive just enough to cover the cost of getting to and from the courthouse for each day they sit and listen to the aforementioned bloviating moneybags put on their expertly orchestrated dog and pony show.  They have no monetary incentive to help the plaintiffs’ bar suck the fun out of the world. Yet, they tend to go right along with the fun-sucking soulless bloviating plaintiffs’ attorneys.  Why?  Because they let themselves get swept up in anti-corporatist, redistributionist, populist notions of justice.  And, if it’s occurred to you this phenomenon might be self-fulfilling given the likely academic and economic disposition of the folks who have nothing else to do but sit through a weeks’-to-months’-long trial, you are probably using your head.

Thus, the better offhanded explanation for our sickeningly over-lawyered society might be the constitutional guarantee of a trial by jury.


Written by Tim Kowal

January 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Posted in Law

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Dear Mr. Kowal,

    Wow, I hadn’t thought of that! What a fascinating perspective. I think I’m on your team, here. It’s really, really ironic, and more than a little funny, besides.



    January 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

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