The conservative case for class actions

Professor Brian Fitzpatrick has a new book, set for release in October, called The Conservative case for Class Actions. Here is the summary:

Since the 1960s, the class action lawsuit has been a powerful tool for holding businesses accountable. Yet years of attacks by corporate America and unfavorable rulings by the Supreme Court have left its future uncertain. In this book published by the University of Chicago Press, Vanderbilt Law Professor Brian Fitzpatrick makes the case for the importance of class action litigation from a surprising political perspective: an unabashedly conservative point of view.

Conservatives have opposed class actions in recent years, but Fitzpatrick argues that they should see such litigation not as a danger to the economy, but as a form of private enforcement of the law. He starts from the premise that all of us, conservatives and libertarians included, believe that markets need at least some rules to thrive, from laws that enforce contracts to laws that prevent companies from committing fraud. He also reminds us that conservatives consider the private sector to be superior to the government in most areas. And the relatively little-discussed intersection of those two beliefs is where the benefits of class action lawsuits become clear: when corporations commit misdeeds, class action lawsuits enlist the private sector to intervene, resulting in a smaller role for the government, lower taxes, and, ultimately, more effective enforcement of the law.