'Tort reform' proposal alters balance of power | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 25, 2013

'Tort reform' proposal alters balance of power

Posted By on Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the businesses it represent are pushing hard for a "tort reform" constitutional amendment to overturn the Arkansas Supreme Court's continued insistence that damaged people are entitled to a fair day in court.;

Businesses, tired of a level playing field, propose nothing less than a radical reshaping of the balance of government. Don't believe me: Check the analysis from the state Department of Finance and Administration on the fiscal impact. None, in terms of tax dollars. But ....

Basic Change :
Senate Joint Resolution 5 proposes amendments to the Arkansas Constitution to be submitted to the voters at the next general election. The amendment would allow the General Assembly to enact laws regulating compensation and damages that may be awarded by courts and administrative agencies under the Workers' Compensation Laws, and also allows the General Assembly to prescribe the rules of pleading, practice and procedure, including the rules of evidence, for all courts. In addition, the amendment would strip the Arkansas Supreme Court of its rule-making authority except as expressly delegated by the General Assembly. The effective date of the amendment is January 1, 2015.

Revenue Impact :
None

Taxpayer Impact :
None

Legal Analysis :
The proposal would alter the balance of power between the branches of government. The Separation of Powers doctrine not only separates the departments of government, but also cordons off the powers of one from the other. Under the classic division of the powers, the legislature makes the laws and appropriates state revenues, the executive administers the laws and expends the appropriations, and the judiciary interprets the laws. See Chaffin v. Arkansas Game & Fish Comm'n, 296 Ark. 431, 757 S.W.2d 950 (1988) ("The Arkansas Constitution contains explicit separation of powers provisions which declare that one branch cannot exercise any power belonging to another branch.”) This promotes a series of constitutional checks and balances between the branches of government. See, e.g., Ball v. Roberts, 291 Ark. 84, 722 S.W.2d 829 (1987).

By restraining the Court from controlling its own practices, procedures, and evidence, the independence of the judiciary is threatened. By allowing the General Assembly the power to restrict the facts, the ways facts are brought forth, and the standards by which a jury may evaluate facts, the protections embodied in the Seventh Amendment are endangered.

This restraint on the court is exactly what's intended, of course.

Tags: , ,


Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Feds bust Central Arkansas drug ring

    The U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock announced today the indictment of 31 people on 53 drug, gun and money laundering charges in a Central Arkansas drug distribution operation supplied from California.
    • Sep 20, 2018
  • Six Supreme Court justices found to have violated ethics code

    The Arkansas Judicial and Disability Commission has announced the filing of formal charges of ethics violations against six members of the Arkansas Supreme Court for their handling of a case involving Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.
    • Sep 20, 2018
  • Thursday's open line

    A light news day unless your name is Brett Kavanaugh. Here's the open line.
    • Sep 20, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Thursday's open line

    • This Coward Trump quote from the article linked below is my pick for "Idiot's Quote"…

    • on September 20, 2018
  • Re: Thursday's open line

    • Franklin Graham hearts him some BP Oil. Yeah, THAT BP, who befouled the Gulf. FYI:…

    • on September 20, 2018
  • Re: Thursday's open line

    • Would that Franklin Graham asshat contend that the fact that this is okay, because it…

    • on September 20, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation