What I worry about as a fiscal conservative and also as a constitutionalist, is that the first time we put our nose under the tent to start telling Oklahoma or Ohio or Michigan what their tort law will be, where will it stop? In other words, if we can expand the commerce clause enough to mandate that you have to buy health insurance, then I'm sure nobody would object to saying we can extend it enough to say what your tort law is going to be. Then we are going to have the federal government telling us what our tort laws are going to be in healthcare, and what about our tort laws in everything else? Where does it stop?
One of the things our founders believed was that our 13 separate states could actually have some unique identity under this constitution and maybe do things differently, and I think we ought to allow that process to continue as long as we are protecting human and civil rights.
So says Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican from Oklahoma and a veteran doctor, in a new interview with Medscape, a pro-tort reform website. Thank God there are more clear-eyed Constitutional conservatives now in Congress like Sen. Coburn, who recognizes what the Founding Fathers were actually doing when they enacted the Commerce Clause and the Bill of Rights. The Commerce Clause in no way justifies the imposition of federal tort reform laws such as H.R. 5, the medical malpractice tort reform bill to federally limit civil suits against health care providers, drug and device companies, and insurance companies. He reiterates the point that I made here on May 6, that if health insurance isn't "commerce," then neither is health litigation. Sen. Coburn also recognizes that the so-called "state flexibility" section in H.R. 5 is a joke and doesn't protect states' rights at all, in contradiction to the 10th Amendment.
Sen. Coburn joins the following SEVEN Constitutional scholars in opposing H.R. 5 and the wholesale destruction of states' rights through sweeping federal tort reform laws:
Prof. John Baker, LSU Law School
Prof. Randy Barnett, Georgetown Law Center
Rob Natelson, Independence Institute
Walter Olson, Cato Institute
Prof. Ilya Somin, George Mason Law School
Prof. Jonathan Adler, Case Western Reserve Law School
Sen. Coburn's vote for Constitutional limits on Congressional power is a breath of fresh air, and we should support him with calls and e-mails to our Congressmen and Senators.