Unlike many Republicans during the 1990s, Thompson easily collected large sums of political donations from lawyers during his Senate career -- more than $1.5 million over eight years. The trial lobby's political action committee gave him maximum $10,000 donations during each of his two Senate campaigns.
Aligning himself with trial lawyers was another seeming contradiction in Thompson's varied career -- a Republican who succeeded in Hollywood, a former lobbyist who lives in Northern Virginia, now positioning himself to run for president as a Washington outsider.
"There will always be a concern that he wants to be the leader of the cobra party, and he was, for a while, a mongoose," said Grover Norquist, head of the Americans for Tax Reform, which supported tort reform and is influential in GOP circles. "He needs to articulate not where he was while practicing law under the tort laws at the time but where he think those laws should go now."
(Eds. Notes: Way to go Grover, compare the Republican Party to poisonous snakes.)
Thompson challenged the right of government to compel testimony or search property, according to a review of hundreds of pages of court filings, transcripts and contemporaneous news accounts.
In August 1981, Thompson, on First Amendment grounds, urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down an Illinois village's ordinance designed to protect children from marijuana by requiring merchants to get a license to sell drug paraphernalia or pro-marijuana literature. His client was a trade association of merchants who sold smoking goods, novelty items and magazines.
Needless to say, I'm not joining the lemmings rushing to the Thompson band wagon.