Lead-based paint was banned in the US in 1978 and has not been sold since, but that did not stop the state of Rhode Island from successfully suing paint manufacturers for paint sold before the ban.

So for selling an at-the-time entirely legal product, paint manufacturers are forced to pay millions in clean-up, public education and compliance programs.

The state, anxious to get it’s hands on more money, tried to sue for punitive damages but was rebuffed by the judge.

Please tell me why companies are legally at fault for selling a lawful product. You can make a moral argument, if you assume the paint companies knew about the dangers of lead-based paint before they discontinued production. But legally, what is the argument.

This is where the difference between the liberal view of judges and the conservative view of judges rests. Conservatives believe that judges should look strictly at the law, statutes and the Constitution and hold companies or individual to that consistent standard. Liberals believe judges should look at moral implications and do what “should be done.” You want to talk about legislating morality, here it is – from the judiciary.