Posted by John Ager on 31 May 2011.
Congressional Republicans have offered another bill which would limit your right or that of your loved ones to recover for an injury caused by medical negligence. Republicans have been pro-business and hostile to the rights of individuals for a long time so there isn’t much new there. What is new, however, is that a star conservative law professor, who has gone to bat for the Republicans on many constitutional issues in the past, has called them out for violating their stated principles.
Professor Randy Barnett of the Georgetown Law Center has often written and testified on behalf of Republicans. He is a proponent of limited federal powers. He has written and testified that the recent health care reform law is unconstitutional. He has also been an author of court briefs which make the argument that the law is unconstitutional. In offering up a federal law which will override all state laws on malpractice damages, he accuses the Republicans of “fair-weather federalism”. It is Professor Barnett’s position that there is no basis in the Constitution for the federal government to be telling the states how to run their civil damage laws. The Republicans, he says, have promised not to tell the states what to do unless the Constitution gives the federal government the specific right to do so. According to Professor Barnett, that is not the case here. He says the Republicans are in favor of limited federal government when it suits them but are willing to overlook their principles when they find it convenient to do so.
Here is a link to the professor’s recent article. http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/05/tort-reform-and-gops-fair-weather-federalism