The eleven Jewish members of the U.S. Senate split 6-5 on legislation requiring
certain types of class action suits to be tried in federal court rather than
state court. Sen. Barbara
Boxer (D-Calif) maintained her record of voting in the minority on every
controversial issue before the Senate thus far this session.
Voting with the majority to approve the bill—part of President George W.
Bush's legislative package, which advocates said would prevent plaintiff's
attorneys from "court shopping"—were Republicans Norm
Coleman of Minnesota and Arlen
Specter of Pennsylvania and Democrats Dianne
Feinstein of California, Herb
Kohl of Wisconsin, Joseph
Lieberman of Connecticut and Charles
Schumer of New York.
On the losing side of the battle—joining consumer groups who said federal
courts tend to deal with business abuses more leniently than state
courts—were Boxer and her fellow Democrats Russ
Feingold of Wisconsin, Frank
Lautenberg of New Jersey, Carl
Levin of Michigan and Ron
Wyden of Oregon. Overall the Seante voted 72-26 in favor of the bill,
with two senators not voting.
Under the legislation, which now goes to the House of Representatives for
action, a class action suit would be tried in a state court only if the
defendant and more than a third of the plaintiffs in the class were from the
Boxer not only voted "no" on the legislation, but took the losing side
on four amendments that were turned back by the Senate majority. Her
record of zero wins and eight losses on controversial legislation started with
her lone vote against certifying Ohio's electoral vote in the presidential
election, and was followed by her votes against confirming Condoleezza Rice for
secretary of state and Alberto Gonzales for attorney general.
The only time Boxer has cast a vote with the majority in a roll call vote so far
this season was when the Senate voted unanimously to congratulate the people of
Iraq on the conduct of the Jan. 30 elections. —Donald