President Bush and his supporters have been busier the past nine months trying to establish the foundation of his “legacy” than running the government. Not that they were doing a good job of running the government before – they’ve never done that. But, “the legacy” has been at the forefront of their efforts for some time. Well, news came out today that has more to do with his legacy than anything his supporters have come up with. What legacy am I referring to? How about the pro-corporatist judicial legacy Bush is leaving behind? 10, 20 and 30 years from now, judges Bush put on benches will still be ruling over cases. When you look at the number of right-wing, Federalist Society-type judges Bush appointed, it becomes apparent that the rest of us will be forced to deal with his failed ideology long after he is gone.
The news today dealt with an attempt to put together a class-action lawsuit against trailer manufacturers post-Katrina. Those trailers are alleged to have been of such poor quality that they actually posed health risks to their occupants. Bush’s government issued those trailers and was responsible for ensuring they were of sufficient quality to house human beings safely. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled that the lawsuits could not be brought forward in a class-action due to the number of different manufacturers, and because each person’s claim is unique and must be examined individually.
In actuality, I wonder how much easier it is for corporations to swat away individual lawsuits. Corporations have deeper pockets and more resources than individuals do. Pooled resources by plaintiffs could be important in a case like this, especially considering the financial status of those forced into trailer housing following Hurricane Katrina.
Engelhardt was appointed to his current position by Bush back in 2001. I’ve long known that Bush appointed a very narrow kind of person to benches at all levels. Those judges had to be ideologically pure to Bush, Karl Rove and others. The liklier the judges were to hold pro-corporate and anti-citizen positions, the liklier they were to be nominated to higher benches. Engelhardt’s ruling is likely to be only the first in a long string of decisions surrounding Bush’s criminal response to a natural disaster. This ruling isn’t friendly toward living, breathing American citizens. Unfortunately, I expect similar decisions against them in the future.