A company cheats a widow out of $426,000 by switching insurance companies and never listing her husband, then an employee out of work because he was dying of cancer, with the new life insurance company. The widow sues. The suit is dismissed because it’s barred by ERISA, the law that’s supposed to protect workers from being cheated out of their pensions. The widow appeals, the Bush Administration asks the Supreme Court to grant cert., and the Supremes say “no,” although one of the Appeals Court judges wrote that “the facts scream out for a remedy.”
The courts have been doing this since 1993 (apparently with the liberal justices on the losing side), and somehow the Congress never gets around to changing the law.
If I were writing speeches for Barack Obama, this case would be part of a rotating set of “How the little guy gets the shaft from the system” examples. I’d include at least one of them in every delivery of the stump speech, with an exposition of how the screw job works and how the current Washington game keeps it in place. We need the liberal version of the old Reagan “welfare queen” story: with the opposite political spin, and using real rather than made-up facts, but with the same goal of creating outraged anger in the audience.