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Dust-Up Asbestos Litigation and the Failure of Commonsense Policy Reform

ISBN-10: 1589017668
ISBN-13: 9781589017665
Edition: 2011
Authors: Jeb Barnes
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Description: In an era of polarization, narrow party majorities, and increasing use of supermajority requirements in the Senate, policy entrepreneurs must find ways to reach across the aisle and build bipartisan coalitions in Congress. One such  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 7/8/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 152
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.660
Language: English

In an era of polarization, narrow party majorities, and increasing use of supermajority requirements in the Senate, policy entrepreneurs must find ways to reach across the aisle and build bipartisan coalitions in Congress. One such coalition-building strategy is the "politics of efficiency," or reform that is aimed at eliminating waste from existing policies and programs. After all, reducing inefficiency promises to reduce costs without cutting benefits, which should appeal to members of both political parties, especially given tight budgetary constraints in Washington. Dust-Up explores the most recent congressional efforts to reform asbestos litigation -- a case in which the politics of efficiency played a central role and seemed likely to prevail. Yet, these efforts failed to produce a winning coalition, even though reform could have saved billions of dollars and provided quicker compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases. Why? The answers, as Jeb Barnes deftly illustrates, defy conventional wisdom and force us to rethink the political effects of litigation and the dynamics of institutional change in our fragmented policymaking system. Set squarely at the intersection of law, politics, and public policy, Dust-Up provides the first in-depth analysis of the political obstacles to Congress in replacing a form of litigation that nearly everyone -- Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, presidents, and experts -- agrees is woefully inefficient and unfair to both victims and businesses. This concise and accessible case study includes a glossary of terms and study questions, making it a perfect fit for courses in law and public policy, congressional politics, and public health.

List of Illustrations
Preface
Background
Today's Challenging Legislative Environment and the Politics of Efficiency
The Asbestos Crisis in the United States
The Case Study
Asbestos Litigation Reform as a "Likely" Case for the Politics of Efficiency
The Puzzling Politics of the FAIR Act
Implications
The Asbestos Case and the Politics of Efficiency
The Asbestos Case, Institutional Change, and the Judicialization of American Policymaking
Appendixes
The Case Method and "Likely" Cases
Chronology of Selected Events
Classroom Discussion Questions
Glossary of Key Legal Terms
References
Index

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