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‘Sleazy Profiteer?’ Op-Ed, Chamber Group Urge No Vote on Motley Rice Judicial Nominee

Posted May 13, 2010 7:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Should a tort lawyer be rejected for a federal judgeship because of the type of law he practiced?

That’s the issue before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it considers the nomination of Motley Rice lawyer John “Jack” McConnell Jr. for a federal judgeship in Rhode Island. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform is urging a no vote. A Washington Times editorial agrees: The nomination “should sink like lead,” the newspaper says.

Both opponents cite McConnell’s losing argument in public nuisance suits seeking to hold lead paint manufacturers liable for lead poisoning caused by their products. The Institute for Legal Reform refers to McConnell’s “controversial legal theories” and questions whether he can be fair to business defendants.

The Washington Times labels McConnell “one of those sleazy profiteers” who “chase big bucks” in tort lawsuits.

“Mr. McConnell has built a net worth of $15 million—with an additional $35 million due in deferred compensation—via corporate-bashing class-action lawsuits that push the limits of claimed liability beyond all reason,” the newspaper says. “In turn, he and his wife have donated almost $700,000 to Democratic Party groups and candidates over the past two decades, including 19 current senators (three of them on the Judiciary Committee).”

Additional coverage:

Providence Journal: “R.I. judicial nominee haunted by business accusations of prejudice”

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