The sticking point had been telecom immunity. Democrats, backed by trial lawyers, had argued that telecom companies such as AT&T should not be immune if they had cooperated with the government when promised immunity. Republicans had argued otherwise. Turns out that the Republican version won the day, since the Democrats couldn't afford to let the nation's ability to monitor terrorists cease.
While the main drama was political, including the spectacle of Democratic candidate Barack Obama blatantly breaking a promise to his constituents, another group is deeply upset: the trial lawyers.
Trial lawyers were salivating at the idea of pretty much writing themselves blank checks out of the telecom industry due to the expected flood of aggrieved people claiming to have run afoul of the telecoms in the deal. The Senate pretty much foreclosed that option, meaning that firms such as Milberg will have to find other targets to milk tons of money out of in commissions while not paying the injured parties much.
All is not yet lost for them, however: groups such as the ACLU are promising lawsuits to make sure that the government cannot implement this bill. Maybe the trial lawyers can just complete some good billable hours instead?
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