Congress gave final approval Thursday to legislation that would ban state courts from hearing large multistate class action lawsuits.

After the bill becomes law, cases against corporations and businesses accused of wrongdoing against large groups of people will be heard by federal judges. Attorneys who hit the jackpot in small state courts will find it more difficult to profit in federal courts.

Critics of the legislation -- namely congressional Democrats -- say Republicans' only interest is in hurting a big group of Democratic donors and helping big business escape multimillion-dollar verdicts. Those critics should broaden their focus beyond politics to see that all Americans, whatever their political viewpoint, have a stake in limiting frivolous lawsuits.

While there have certainly been legitimate class action lawsuits that have benefited consumers and eliminated defective products from the market, these suits have gotten out of hand and are hurting businesses, both large and small.

This bill, which goes to President Bush for his signature, is a long-awaited step in the right direction.

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