Caligula, the rule of law and Australia

The Roman Emperor Caligula (born 12AD, murdered 41AD) has had some bad press in the past, say, 1900 years.

And I am about to give him some more, not for all his personal torture, rape, murder and incest, but for his more general undermining of the rule of law.

It is an opportune time for doing so because in Australia in the past couple of weeks we have seen the rule of law gradually triumph over rule by persona, despite the cries of banana republic, political bankruptcy and economic doom and gloom.
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Did smokers consent to the risk? Is Big Tobacco liable?

Published June 1992
When Rose Cipollone began smoking 44 years ago, there were no health warning on cigarette packets. Rose is now dead. She died of lung cancer caused by smoking in 1984.

Her family sued and a jury awarded her family $400,000. Last week the US Supreme Court upheld the award.

The ruling caused some wild speculation about the legal liability of tobacco companies for the thousands of deaths caused by tobacco each year in Australia. Anti-smoking groups imagined an orderly queue of bereaved families at the courtroom door seeking damages for the death of loved ones who foolishly smoked their lives away.
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