George McGovern was a founding member of Common Good's Advisory Board in 2002, forming a remarkable bipartisan group that included Newt Gingrich, Bill Bradley, Howard Baker, and Tom Kean. Notwithstanding the obvious reputational hazards for a liberal icon to challenge sacred cows of the legal establishment, he saw clearly the need to make justice reliable and to clean out bureaucracy to advance public goals.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored with former Senator Alan Simpson, Senator McGovern called on Americans to join our crusade for legal overhaul, with words that resonate just as powerfully today:
American institutions...are in sad shape. Health care and education are so weak that a steady stream of disjointed reforms, a sure sign of desperation, almost seems like regular management. ... Yet no cure is in sight. ... What is missing is human ingenuity and judgment. Up and down the levels of responsibility 'can do' has been replaced by 'can't do.' Failure has become the status quo...because legal fear and bureaucracy have paralyzed decisions of teachers and doctors. ... To rejuvenate our common institutions, we must fix America's legal system.
Senator McGovern called it the way he saw it. We could use more of that.
Thank you, Senator.