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More critiques of Riegel v. Medtronic, preemption

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy today opened up a committee hearing on the Supreme Court and preemption with an aggressive anti-court, anti-business statement. Excerpt:

[Many] Court observers have noticed that business interests have been the big winners, over workers and consumers. In this worsening economy, mothers and fathers are struggling with health care coverage, the uncertainty of retirement, credit card payments and mortgages. Congress has passed laws to protect Americans in these areas, but in many cases, the Supreme Court has ignored the intent of Congress in passing these measures, oftentimes turning these laws on their heads, and making them protections for big business rather than for ordinary citizens.

Leahy spends some time on the Ledbetter decision, which as far as we could tell was a case of the court clearly understanding Congress' intent in legislating statutes of limitation. Meanwhile, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) highlighted ERISA issues and binding arbitration in his opening statement.

The witnesses (list here) were divided four-to-two against the Court and preemption. The clearest case for federal pre-emption was made by Richard M. Cooper of Williams & Connolly LLP, testifying for himself, focusing on Riegel and the value of federal preemption in food and drug law.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.