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Richard Caro’s Lonely Battle for the Taxpayer and Constitution

Thomas F. Roeser 27 November 2007 No Comment

The Chicago Tribune didn’t stretch itself unduly to mention a lawsuit brought as a public interest by my friend Richard Caro. But what the legislature won’t do…and what all the combined weight of the editorialists’ cannot evidently accomplish…Richard—who passes the plate every Sunday at 11 a.m. Mass at St. John Cantius (the mother church of authentic Catholicism) is accomplishing. He is like Roland at the pass, the heroic medieval soldier who held the pass in Spain enabling his comrades to pass through unharmed by the Saracens and who with his dying breath blew the trumpet that summoned reinforcements.

Who is Richard Caro and what is he doing? He’s a mild-mannered (deceptive) public interest lawyer, a doctor of jurisprudence, who is today’s version of the English barons at Runnymede who taught the tyrant King John a needed lesson in 1215—and got him to sign the Magna Carta, the charter of our liberties…the charter that says the sovereign as mighty as he is must be bound by the letter of the law. As the world knows, this state has a Democratic governor who has won two terms as testament to the ineptitude of the Republican party, the venality of special interest contributors who have given him $30 million for his war-chest and the general indolence of voters who have been seduced by his expensive and totally duplicitous TV commercials.

With only a third of the fiscal year having p[assed, Illinois has already spent half of its $6.8 billion health care budget but King Blago is moving to expand state-subsidized health insurance to reach some 147,000 adults which will cost Illinois at least $225 million a year by his own estimate.

The legislature isn’t doing anything, the Republican party isn’t doing much , the Democratic legislature is fretting but it is the lone Richard Caro who has brought suit against the governor—with no funds, no help—suit against the Governor, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Illinois comptroller.

Caro has been dogged in his persistence.

You would think this would be a story somewhere, wouldn’t you? Not in Illinois save in The Chicago Daily Observer. Where are the columnists who like to chronicle one lonely lawyer against the multitude? Where is Carol Marin who aches so much for the underdog? It is because Richard Caro is fighting for constitutional processes and that he is not—so far as I know—a recognizable liberal. That’s why.

My guess is that despite the Tribune and Sun-Times’ editorials that give only a glimmer of attention to the law suit that has great importance to all Illinoisans, Caro will come out the victor. Too bad he isn’t a socialist or a gay activist, a liberal nun, an AIDS patient, an unwed mother, a renegade priest with yellow hair, an oracular black minister who speaks in heroic couplets, or any other member of the special minorities the media favor. He’s just a faceless married man from Riverside with a young family who’s representing the taxpayers and constitutionalists who insist the executive must obey the rules, who’s paying most of the bills on his own.

Whenever I see him passing the collection plate at St. John’s I ask: who’s passing the plate for him?


Thomas F. Roeser is chairman of the editorial board of The Chicago Daily Observer.

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