We commented last month on how hard it is to take Tim Miley serious. The former House Speaker found himself in the uncomfortable position as Minority Leader of trying to prevent the repeal of a bill he had steered through the legislature five years earlier.
But he couldn't say he opposed repealing The Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act, because the damage it had done to our state was obvious and support for its repeal overwhelming. He was obliged to pretend that all he wanted was to have an economic impact statement produced before a vote on repeal.
Needless to say, no one took Miley serious, the bill passed with only four opposing votes in the House and none in the Senate, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin promptly signed it. A year or two from now, we can look back and see how we've recovered from the damage done by the bill Miley passed and tried to thwart the repeal of.
Anthony Majestro knows how Miley feels and, no doubt, empathizes. He's hard to take serious, too.
As president of a trial lawyers group called the West Virginia Association for Justice, Majestro finds himself in the uncomfortable position of opposing many of the reform measures now finding bipartisan favor in our legislature.
The problem is, that word reform has such a positive connotation. You can't really come out in opposition to reform. So, what you have to do is deny that the proposed reform is really reformative, or insist that it may have adverse unintended consequences.
Thus, Majestro claims to foresee danger in wildly popular bills establishing nonpartisan elections for judges, removing the liability of property owners for obvious hazards, restricting the liability of defendants to their actual share of responsibility, and limiting noneconomic damages against nursing homes.
These reforms may be bad for trial lawyers, but they're good for the rest of us. That's why no one's taking Majestro serious.