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Federal Preemption, the Hearing



The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing yesterday on federal regulation of medical devices, a session meant to set the stage for reversing federal preemption of state regulations -- such a reversal being a priority for trial lawyers wanting to sue in state courts.

Testimony by Dennis Quaid -- you remember, the actor? -- got the most attention, even showing up on local news broadcasts in D.C. Quaid and his wife are suing Baxter Healthcare for a Heparin overdose given to their twin infants.

We commend the testimony of John E. Calfee, Ph.D., of the American Enterprise Institute. You can read Calfee's conclusions here. Bottom line: Eliminating pre-emption will encourage litigation, an ineffective and expensive approach of promoting safety or advances in prescription drugs.

And for a classic example of one-side reporting, read this AP scene-setter, an article that accepts the thesis from the activists (trial lawyers and self-styled consumer groups) that the Bush administration is using regulations to lock in federal preemptions, sticking it to the little guy in the process. Five separate people are cited complaining about pre-emption, "balanced" by two people making neutral observations about the legal and political landscape. Did no one make a positive case for federal preemption?

P.S. Ah, we see the AP reporter reported on the committee hearing from the same vantage point, that of doubting preemption.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.