Yesterday was the 102nd birthday of Ronald Reagan, the greatest President of my lifetime, to whom I owe personal and professional thanks for my marriage (to one of his White House secretaries) and my Washington career (beginning as a Reagan Administration political appointee). His personally autographed photo congratulating us on our marriage is one of our most cherished possessions.
Almost two years ago, I researched all of his speeches and writings available on the internet…Continue
It wasn't difficult to see liberals standing on the Mall in Washington, bundled in warm clothing and loudly cheering President Obama's Inaugural Address, with the promise of larger and more activist central government deployed to implement a "progressive" agenda. But I saw another group smiling softly deep in the background. It was the Crony Capitalists, watching from warm, comfortable Fortune 100 boardrooms across America and on Wall Street, and their K Street lobbyists in …Continue
In my opinion, the single biggest problem with the Republican Party today is that its leaders claim to represent the cause of limited government, or "constitutional conservatism," but either don't know what that really means or hypocritically ignore its meaning to advance an "un-conservative" political agenda. The Obamacare decision by the Supreme Court revealed an incredible disconnect between the claims of top Beltway Republicans and their stands on the specific use of federal power to…Continue
In the Obamacare decision on Thursday, the five conservative Supreme Court Justices rejected the unlimited scope of the Commerce Clause and the Necessary & Proper Clause envisioned by proponents of federal tort reform bills (especially caps on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits). Justice Roberts was especially deferential to federalism, employing the terms "state sovereignty" and "enumerated powers" often in his decision. Proponents of federal tort reform are among the big losers in…Continue
House Republicans on the Energy & Commerce Committee have uncovered evidence of closed-door negotiations between major drugmakers and the Obama Administration in connection with the enactment of Obamacare, under which the former promised to back it with $80 billion in revenues in exchange for the Administration's promise to protect the industry in various ways, e.g., oppose the…Continue
On Monday, 43 Catholic dioceses, organizations and universities sued the Obama administration, in 12 separate suits, to block the imposition of the Obamacare mandate to offer, in health insurance plans, drugs and devices which are forbidden by Catholic teachings, such as contraception and abortifacients. The plaintiffs include the University of Notre Dame (my law school alma mater), the Archdioceses of Washington and New York City, and a number of local affiliates of the national Catholic…Continue
Two things, actually.
First, none of the three are proper subjects for the federal government under the Constitution. Neither domestic relations law governing marriage, nor health care, nor tort law are matters enumerated for the federal government.
Powerful groups on the liberal or conservative side ignore the limits of the Constitution in order to change that in each case. Gay marriage advocates want the federal judiciary or Congress to override state marriage…Continue
It's an article of faith among those who propose federal limits on awards in medical malpractice lawsuits. They always proclaim that the Texas state law limiting such awards resulted in thousands of doctors moving to the state. Examples:
"This last year, 21,000 more physicians practicing medicine in Texas because they know they can do what they love and not be sued." …Continue
Columnist Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner, who has a strong following among conservatives, has followed the "K Street Republicans vs. Tea Party" for several years and wrote again about the conflict last week. And Carney identifies some of the practical points of conflict between the two groups: "The GOP establishment rallies industry donors…Continue
In a special memorandum issued to House Republicans this week, the four senior House Republicans (Reps. Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy and Hensarling) laid out their plan for implementing a ten-year federal budget under Rep. Paul Ryan's plan and that would avoid cuts in national security and certain domestic programs. In so doing, they thoroughly trashed the concept of state sovereignty over their own…Continue
This week we've been deluged with the reports on the oral argument before the Supreme Court on the Obamacare case. And last week, the House GOP leadership pushed a bill combining federal limits on medical malpractice lawsuits with an attractive bill to repeal a key component of Obamacare.
The two belong together. After all, Obamacare and federal tort reform are equally and fundamentally based on the expansive interpretation of the Commerce Clause…Continue
This week, the House of Representatives will debate and vote on the fiscal year 2013 budget for the federal government. House Republican leadership supports the budget proposed by House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan. But the Ryan budget dishonors states' and individual rights protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, by proposing to cap non-economic damages in medical liability lawsuits across the country, without respect to existing state law governing civil suits (see…Continue
The problem with most of the proposed reforms in H.R. 5 is that the law governing medical malpractice claims is a state issue, not a federal issue. Despite H.R. 5's reliance on the Commerce Clause, Congress has no business (and no authority under the Constitution) telling states what the rules should be governing medical malpractice claims.…
For months, it appeared that House Republicans had largely agreed with conservatives such as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli; Randy Barnett; Senators Tom Coburn and Mike Lee; Tea Party movement leaders such as Judson Phillips and numerous House Republicans that federal tort reform bills violate the states' rights under the 10th Amendment to run their own legal systems without federal interference. There has been no floor action on H.R. 5, a…Continue
Within the last week, two conservatives who have previously opposed federal tort reform on constitutional grounds did so again. Our own Judson Phillips wrote Tort Reform? It's Unconstitutional on World Net Daily on December 13. He began by reiterating the Founding Fathers' support for the right to a civil jury trial:
First, there is no authority in the Constitution for the federal government…Continue
During the Huckabee Presidential Forum on Friday night, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli challenged Rep. Michelle Bachmann on the constitutionality of federal tort reform legislation. Cuccinelli promised weeks ago that he would sue the federal government if the Senate version of a federal medmal limits bill was ever enacted. Bachmann refused to recognize each state's right to…Continue
At the beginning of the 1992 Presidential election, Bill Clinton's campaign manager, James Carville, stuck a big sign up in campaign headquarters to remind the staff what the central theme of the campaign would be. It read simply, "It's the economy, stupid!" That one-line focus kept everyone in the campaign "on message" throughout 1992, taking advantage of a soft economy, and Clinton was elected.
Now we are all…Continue
An article in today's "Roll Call" newspaper, which covers Congress, discusses Sen. Tom Coburn's extensive influence over members of the debt reduction "supercommittee" charged with finding over $1 trillion in federal budget cuts ovr a ten-year period. It appears that Sen. Coburn's own "Back to Black" deficit reduction plan,…Continue
A federal judge has ordered the EPA to pay $1.7 million to Hubert P. Vidrine for malicious prosecution. The conservative trial lawyers at the Washington Legal Foundation represented Mr. Vidrine in the lawsuit. You won't believe what the EPA tried to do to him (quoting WLF):
"The just-resolved case started in 1996 when the…Continue