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Legal News: Law Blog - WSJ.com
Biden Didn?t Disclose Son?s Asbestos Work But Don?t Blame Him For Bork
By Dan Slater
We’ve mentioned Joe Biden’s tie to Mississippi’s legal community, in particular its famed plaintiffs lawyer Dickie Scruggs. But just how deep is Biden’s connection to the trial bar?
USA Today takes a look, and reports that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, employees at three law firms that specialize in asbestos litigation are among Biden’s top 10 all-time contributors. Moreover, according to public records and interviews, Biden worked to defeat a bipartisan bill designed to curb asbestos lawsuits at a time when his son, Beau Biden (who’s now the Attorney General of Delaware), was filing them in Delaware.
Joe Biden reportedly opposed legislation that would have replaced thousands of lawsuits with a trust fund for asbestos victims. Supporters of the bill claimed that it would end abusive litigation that had bankrupted dozens of companies, while critics countered that it would leave some victims without compensation. In February 2006, Biden joined a majority of Democrats, including Sen. Barack Obama, in voting to defeat the bill.
In an e-mail to USA Today, Biden spokesman David Wade said Biden “consistently opposed the asbestos bill because it was unfair. He thought it was dead wrong that if the trust fund ran out of money for the victims, they couldn’t even get their rights back.”
Asked if Biden should have disclosed his son was working on asbestos cases, Wade said: “No. Sen. Biden was a well-known opponent of the asbestos bill, and Beau Biden was a prominent attorney who was working on behalf of mesothelioma victims.”
And for those of you who want to bone up on Biden in anticipation of his speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention, here’s an NYT op-ed by Jeffrey Rosen, the George Washington law prof who also happened to work as an intern for Biden 21 years ago on the Senate Judiciary Committee. That was during the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork. In the NYT, Rosen tells conservatives why it’s unfair to blame Biden for “the post-Bork politics of personal destruction.”
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