The Missouri chapters of the Federalist Society convened Monday morning for its first Missouri Capital Forum. The conservative and libertarian legal organization used the small convention to discuss efforts by the Missouri Legislature to enact new laws regarding tort reform and other changes to the legal process.
After a brief breakfast in the Capitol Rotunda, Gov. Eric Greitens gave a short speech promising changes to the collateral source, as well as an adoption of the Daubert standards. Bills on both of those subjects are on their way through both chambers. He also promised changes to the state’s joinder and vendor statutes to make it more difficult for out of state plaintiffs to bring cases to the state of Missouri, even against defendants who do not reside in the state.
Greitens primarily spoke of his time as a Navy SEAL, especially conversations he had with fellow soldiers who did not have a vast understanding of the Constitution, and as his time teaching English in China during the early 90s to some students who had lived through the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre.
He urged members of the Federalist Society to take an active role in spreading its message to people in their communities.
“We are leaders of a society rooted in a Constitution,” he said. “I’d ask you to leave this fantastic trip and figure out how you can play a role and see how they can love and understand the Constitution of the United States.”
After a speech by Wisconsin conservative and libertarian activist Eric O’Keefe and Attorney General Josh Hawley spoke before a panel regarding tort reform. Hawley, a member of the Federalist Society, spoke about the importance of maintaining a fair legal code for all people.
“What has gripped me about [the Federalist Society’s] mission since I was a law student is its unwavering commitment to the rule of law,” Hawley said. “It is the fair and equitable rule of law that binds us together as Missourians and as Americans.”
The panel consisted of Mark Behrens of Shook, Hardy and Bacon’s D.C. office; Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City; Molly Jones, the assistant general counsel for Monsanto; and Michael Williams, a plaintiffs’ attorney and board member of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.
Speaker Todd Richardson served as the master of ceremonies for the event, and several other state legislators attended the morning’s events. In the afternoon, the group was scheduled receive a tour of the Missouri Supreme Court from Justice Zel Fischer.