As the protections of tort law -- the law of wrongful injuries -- are diminished, millions of Americans are left outside the civil justice system -- unable to hold perpetrators accountable. The forced under-utilization of consumer, environmental and worker protection laws by their supposed beneficiaries against violators is overwhelmingly the norm.
An outdated Supreme Court doctrine and congressional loophole leaves servicewomen unable to recover for the negligent prenatal care they receive in a military hospital. However egregious the malpractice and grave the suffering it causes, our law offers no recourse for the wrong done to the woman's procreative interest and to her child's physical and mental wellbeing.
We live in a world where as many as 440,000 Americans die each year because of preventable medical mistakes. With Prop 46, California voters can do what the politicians and the status-quo crowd won't: Nudge our healthcare system toward safer practices, deter doctor substance abuse and hold negligent physicians accountable.
Obama's heart certainly seems to be in the right place on this issue. But it will take more than a suggestion to an obdurate Senate to advance this reform. The public, polls show, overwhelmingly supports special health courts. But no change is likely to happen until there's firm leadership from the president, or a crisis.