PASSAGE OF THE CLASS ACTION FAIRNESS ACT -- (Senate - February 14, 2005)
Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. As both a lawyer and a citizen, I am a strong believer in class actions as a way for ordinary people who have been wronged by a corporation to band together and seek justice. Some of our great advances in civil rights and consumer protections have come from these actions.
But there is overwhelming evidence that there are abuses in the class action system that should be addressed. When multimillion dollar settlements are handed down and all the victims get are coupons for a free product, justice is not being served. And when cases are tried in counties only because it's known that those judges will award big payoffs, you get quick settlements without ever finding out who's right and who's wrong.
Every American deserves their day in court. This bill, while not perfect, gives people that day while still providing the reasonable reforms necessary to safeguard against the most blatant abuses of the system. I also hope that the Federal judiciary takes seriously their expanded role in class action litigation, and upholds their responsibility to fairly certify class actions so that they may protect our civil and consumer rights. Senator SPECTER has pledged to work on these issues and address these serious concerns in the future, and I look forward to joining him so we can improve this law.