Michael Fumento

John Edwards, being neither a woman nor a racial minority, isn't doing especially well in his campaign to become the Democratic Party's candidate for the U.S. presidency. But if he were half as successful in campaigning for America's top job as he was as a trial lawyer, he might be sworn in tomorrow.

Edwards won at least 94 cases, according to Lawyers Weekly, of which 54 netted more than $1 million each. Normally attorneys take a 40 percent cut of cases that go to trial. In his last year as a practicing attorney, 1997, he reported an adjusted gross income of $11.4 million. Of course, despite their slimy reputation, trial lawyers can be on the side of right. Edwards wasn't.

Medical malpractice was his specialty, and he reportedly tried more than 60 such cases, winning more than $1 million in over half of those. Most involved Ob/gyns. Indeed, he was so feared, according to according to the Center for Public Integrity, "that doctors would settle cases for millions of dollars rather than face him at trial."

Edwards' specialty was cerebral palsy, a set of permanent conditions affecting control of movement and posture that usually appear at toddler stage. There is presently no cure. More than 10,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with it yearly. Edwards claimed the disease developed because negligent doctors ignored fetal heart monitors indicating the child might not be getting enough air during birth and thus failed to deliver it immediately through cesarean surgery.

Yet Edwards won his cases not because scientific evidence favored him but because of his smooth-talking "trust-me" demeanor – and heart-wrenching pleas in which he ghoulishly sometimes pretended to be the voice of the unfortunate child crying out for justice. Yet United Cerebral Palsy lists about a dozen ways to help prevent the condition and not one mentions the birthing procedure.


Michael Fumento

Michael Fumento is a, journalist, and attorney specializing in science and health issues as well as author of BioEvolution: How Biotechnology is Changing Our World .

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