Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA)

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Senate Bill S.5, introduced 1/25/2005, passed in Senate on 2/10/2005
Full Title: A bill to amend the procedures that apply to consideration of interstate class actions to assure fairer outcomes for class members and defendants, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Chuck Grassley

Latest Major Action: 2/10/2005 Passed/agreed to in Senate.
Status: Passed Senate without amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 72 - 26.
Record Vote Number: 9.

This was a primarily Republican-sponsored bill, which has the effect of requiring most class action suits, that heretofore could be litigated in state court, to be moved to the Federal courts. Critics of CAFA have several concerns, not the least of which being that this bill will make it much more difficult to bring class action suits, and make the litigation drag out for years longer than currently, due to the backlog in the federal courts. It also gives the Federal government - by way of judicial appointments - the ability to somewhat control what was previously under state control. This is the opposite of what "conservatives" usually claim they seek - it increases the size and control of the federal government at the expense of state's rights. Yet, no Republican Senators voted against this bill.

Contents

Cosponsors

Republican Cosponsors

Sen Alexander, Lamar, Sen Allen, George, Sen Bond, Christopher S., Sen Chafee, Lincoln, Sen Collins, Susan M., Sen Cornyn, John, Sen DeMint, Jim, Sen DeWine, Mike, Sen Ensign, John, Sen Frist, William H., Sen Hagel, Chuck, Sen Hatch, Orrin G., Sen Kyl, Jon, Sen Lott, Trent, Sen Lugar, Richard G., Sen Martinez, Mel, Sen McCain, John , Sen McConnell, Mitch, Sen Santorum, Rick, Sen Sessions, Jeff, Sen Snowe, Olympia J., Sen Sununu, John E., Sen Thune, John, Sen Vitter, David, Sen Voinovich, George V.

Democratic Cosponsors

Sen Carper, Thomas R., Sen Dodd, Christopher J., Sen Feinstein, Dianne, Sen Kohl, Herb, Sen Landrieu, Mary L., Sen Lieberman, Joseph I., Sen Lincoln, Blanche L., Sen Schumer, Charles E.,

Democratic Unity Watch

There was more to this bill than just the vote on passage. There were several amendments as well:<p> S.Amdt. 2 (Kennedy): To amend the definition of class action in title 28, United States Code, to exclude class actions relating to civil rights or the payment of wages.
S.Amdt. 4 (Feinstein): To clarify the application of State law in certain class actions, and for other purposes.
S.Amdt. 5 (Pryor): Exempt from CAFA, class action lawsuits brought by the attorney general of any State
S.Amdt. 12 (Feingold): Establish time limit for Federal court to remand.
<p> All votes shown below were for passage of the amendment, except for the Pryor amendment: that was a vote to table; "reject" in that case means the member voted in favor of tabling the amendment. No members who voted against CAFA voted against any of these amendments. No Republicans voted in favor of any of these amendments, except Arlen Specter (PA) voted for the Feinstein amendment.<p>

SenatorCAFAKennedy AmdtFeingold AmdtPryor AmdtFeinstein AmdtDisUnity Score
Dodd (D-CT)CosponsorRejectRejectRejectReject15
Kohl (D-WI)CosponsorRejectRejectRejectReject15
Carper (D-DE)cosponsorRejectRejectReject14
Schumer (D-NY)cosponsorRejectReject12.5
Feinstein (D-CA)cosponsorReject12
Lincoln (D-AR)cosponsorRejectReject12
Lieberman (D-CT)cosponsorRejectReject11.5
Landrieu (D-LA)cosponsorReject11
Nelson (D-NE)YesRejectRejectRejectReject10
Bayh (D-IN)YesRejectReject6.5
Jeffords (I-VT)YesReject5.5
Conrad (D-ND)Yes5
Johnson (D-SD)Yes5
Obama (D-IL)Yes5
Reed (D-RI)Yes5
Rockefeller (D-WV)Yes5
Cantwell (D-WA)YescosponsorRejectcosponsor4.25
Salazar (D-CO)Yescosponsor4.25
Bingaman (D-NM)Yescosponsorcosponsor4
Total defections5868
DisUnity weighting 5 / 10211.50.5

DisUnity score (out of 15 possible points) = add weighting for each defection; subtract half of weighting for each amendment cosponsorship. Vote for the bill = 5; Vote for the bill plus cosponsorship of the bill = 10.

The weightings are fairly arbitrary except that on the amendments, more total defections = lower weight.

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