BOSTON (CBS) – You don’t need me to tell you, we have become litigation nation, a culture of people ready to sue over any slight or risk, regardless of whether it’s something the courts should be asked to handle.
The list of modern-day problems resulting from that phenomenon includes soaring health care and insurance costs, hopelessly backlogged court dockets, and a litany of restrictions on virtually everything we do designed to ward off potential lawsuits.
And a prime example in the current news cycle is former White House Communication Director Anthony Scaramucci’s ill-advised threat to sue a student opinion columnist for the Tufts student newspaper.
Scaramucci, a Tufts alumnus, didn’t like the writer calling him an “unethical opportunist” who “sold his soul in contradiction to his own purported beliefs for a seat in [the] White House,” an apparent reference to harshly-critical statements Scaramucci made about Donald Trump’s fitness for the presidency before he became Trump’s number one fan.
Scaramucci called those claims “spurious,” but instead of writing a rebuttal, he is mimicking the behavior of his idol, the president, by belittling of statements he doesn’t care for as “fake” news and issuing constant threats of litigation.
Notice how that combo doesn’t work so well for Mr. Trump.
The remedy for objectionable speech, as the late justice Louis Brandeis put it, is “more speech, not enforced silence.”
If only Scaramucci and the rest of our litigation-crazed culture understood that, our country might be a much better place.