‘First thing we do…’

Published: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.

Ripping off G.W. Bush in his inauguration speech last week, Gov. Rick Scott called out the evil doers who make up "The Axis of Unemployment."

The job-killers.

They are, Scott intoned, "taxation, regulation and litigation."

Notice he didn't include Democrats.

Democrats being so anemic in Florida they're not even worth demonizing anymore.

Scott has served notice that he'll hunt down job-killing taxes and regulations with all the enthusiasm of Sarah Palin mowing down wolves from the open door of a helicopter.

Ah, but the litigators are a more elusive game.

You can't exactly put a bounty on ‘em (insert your favorite lawyer joke here).

Like all Republican governors, Scott was paying lip service to the need for still more "tort reform" in Florida.

"We will not allow excessive lawsuits to strangle job creation. And we will not allow a small group of predatory lawyers to stalk the business community ..."

Heck, politicians in Tallahassee have been squeezing the juice out of tort reform for so long it's a more lucrative crop than oranges.

But the "predatory lawyers" won't go away (insert your second favorite lawyer joke here).

Because here's the thing: Scott and legislative leaders have some pretty radical plans to remake state government and public education in their own image and cement the political status quo (Republican control) in perpetuity.

And even if the Democrats can't stop them, the litigators are lining up to play defense.

Start with reapportionment.

It will snow in Tallahassee before the Republicans voluntarily comply with two new state constitutional amendments imposing fair and objective standards in drawing up new legislative and congressional districts.

Bang! The lawyers are going to be all over reapportionment like a cheap suit.

And Scott's plan to hand out private school vouchers like party favorites?

See you in court, pal. Count on it.

As it is, school districts are already lining up to sue over the Legislature's failure to pay for class-size mandates.

And I can't imagine that the public employee unions aren't making contingency plans to sue over whatever pension reform remedies Scott and lawmakers have in mind.

And it's not like the politicians are above deploying predatory lawyers of their own when it suits their purposes.

Witness the state's suit to stop Obamacare and to keep the EPA from enforcing clean water standards in Florida.

All in all, 2011 figures to be a bumper-crop year for evil litigators in the Sunshine State.

Our CEO-governor is going to be up to his keister in lawyers as he wages war on the "Axis of Unemployment."

Rather poetically, Scott closed out his inauguration speech with a quote from Shakespeare: "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."

Wrong Bard quote, Gov.

Should have gone with: "The first thing we do; Kill all the lawyers."

Ron Cunningham is editorial page editor of The Sun. Contact him at voice@gvillesun.com or at 352-374-5075. Read his blog, Under The Sun, at www.gainesville.com/opinion.

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