Elizabeth Warren, handmaid to the plutocrats

One of her first important cases turns on Johns-Manville Corporation, which used to be America’s major asbestos manufacturer and distributor, and its primary insurance company, Travelers. Tens of thousands of personal injury lawsuits drove Manville into Chapter 11, where its Travelers policies were the estate’s most valuable and basically only asset. …

But in 2002, the tort bar started to bring so-called “direct actions,” asking the courts to overturn this well-settled legal principle by arguing that Travelers conspired with Manville to hide the health dangers of asbestos even though the Manville estate had been worked out. …

She argued that a bankruptcy court’s authority was total, as established by Congress, in the interests of “finality and repose.” Endorsing the direct-action theory, Ms. Warren wrote, would give “asbestos plaintiff lawyers an ‘end run’ around a final federal court judgment by allowing them to do indirectly (by suing a bankrupt debtor’s insurer) what they could not do directly.” …

But what would Ms. Warren the Senate candidate say about all the victims wronged by a business plot to put profits before consumer safety, which is how the trial bar and its Democratic clients portray such things? What would Lilly Ledbetter think?