Why Are Conservative Republicans Trying to Push Federal Tort Reform on the States?
Why oh why would those self-professed die-hard conservatives who tout “states rights” over big federal government somehow lose their way and try to push federal tort reform in the form of limits on what juries can award to medical malpractice victims? Surely, it can’t be to protect against frivolous lawsuits, as it is warped rationale, at best, to pass a law that limits what a jury can award to catastrophically injured victims to stop lawsuits that have no merit. Surely, even those blood thirsty conservatives would agree with this: a limit on the amount of damages to be awarded will only hurt those who have good cases and who have been catastrophically injured by medical malpractice. No one can seriously argue against this. So, why the call from the conservative republicans to abandon one of the most basic tenets of conservative republicanism and force limits on the amount of monies that state juries can award to those severely injured victims of medical malpractice. Listen to a few of the scholars and legal minds who have looked into the apparent conflict below:
George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin has said, ”Hopefully, at least some Republican conservatives will begin to see that you can’t advocate strict limits on federal power with one hand while trying to impose sweeping federal control over state tort law with the other.”
Georgetown University Law Professor Randy Barnett says, “Senate Republicans are claiming that Congress has power over the judiciary of the states because state courts are an activity that ‘affect[s] commerce.’ With friends like these, constitutional federalism does not need enemies. Can we coin a new pejorative, FINO: ‘Federalists in Name Only’?”
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, commenting on a section included in a 2011 Senate Republican jobs bill, said, “with Senate Bill 197—legislation that would have the federal government dictate how state judges are to try medical malpractice cases and cap what state courts may award—several Republican senators have reminded us that federal impositions on states that run contrary to the U.S. Constitution and to the spirit of federalism have never been the sole prerogative of just Democrats.”
National malpractice tort reform amounts to nothing more than another inside deal to help big business at the expense of injured citizens. It is also a disingenuous departure from their professed strict constitutionalism and to the pledge to promote federalism (i.e., less over-reaching and control by the federal government and more autonomy to the states) that they surely ran on when seeking to be elected. Why not leave this to the states? Why not focus on more state autonomy rather than a heavy-handed power grab by the republicans in the federal government to control the states and the citizens who are only exercising their constitutional right to have a jury trial by their peers. Well, it’s simple, the republicans, at the expense of abandoning their own principles are desperate to help big business, the big insurance companies, and the large hospital groups in the country. Lord knows that they make enough profits already, yet the republicans want to line their pockets even more through “tort reform.” Disgusting.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.