Mar 282008

I don’t usually read New York Times editorials, but I got interested in one because of an item in the WSJ Law Blog, “Scalia to News Media: Focus on the Text!

It’s a pet peeve of mine when the news media no longer report on how courts rule on points of law, but only tell us that the court “handed a victory” to this or that party. Go google for “court handed victory” and you’ll see what I mean.

Well, Scalia’s comments are about that, sure enough, but the particular New York Times editorial being referred to, “No Recourse for the Injured,” is a fascinating one.

Whoever would have thought the NYT would favor original intent. Whoever would have thought the NYT would provide ammunition to those who like to remind affirmative-action supporters that Hubert Humphrey promised to eat a copy of the 1964 Civil Rights law if it ever led to racial quotas. But here’s the NYT talking about how unfortunate it is that the words of a law are bringing about results different from what the sponsors intended:

When it passed the 1976 law, Congress almost certainly had no intention of removing the right to sue. Senator Edward Kennedy, the Senate sponsor of the law, and Representative Henry Waxman, who sat on the House panel that approved it, have both said that Congress had no intention of granting the manufacturers immunity from lawsuits over injuries caused by their devices.