"When it comes to the States' tort system, the State court system, it's none of our business unless there is an adequate Federal nexus. That's guided a couple of votes that may have surprised people that I made, but I simply could not support Federal takeover of State tort law."
That was Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who not only talks the talk of limited government under the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but walks the walk. When H.R. 5, the bill to mandate federal limits on awards from all medical malpractice and health care-related lawsuits, was under consideration, he spoke out against it and voted against it on the floor of the U.S. House. Last week, during debate on the defense authorization bill, Rep. Gohmert once again stood up for the rights of states to run their civil justice systems without federal interference from Congress. Here's more from those floor remarks:
"Congress has this power to create the courts, Federal courts. States take care of their own State system. It's one of the reasons, though, that I voted against a couple of bills recently, because medical malpractice reform was being dictated from here in Congress for every State in the country.
I love what Texas did with medical malpractice reform in its State court system, but it's a State court system. I also know that if the Congress decides we need to start dictating to every State what their State court system can or can't do, then when a far more liberal Congress comes in they will be able to say, Look, you so-called "conservative" Republicans dictated to the States what their State tort law should be, so now we're going to dictate to the States what we think it should be, and it ends up being a Federal takeover of something that is entirely a State system."
THAT is a federalist! I hope I have the chance soon to discuss with Rep. Gohmert the latest research on the Texas state medmal law, showing that there was no "hemorrhage of doctors" prior to its imposition and no big increase afterwards. In the meantime, it's great to see this authentic constitutional conservative standing up against the agenda of the medical groups demanding a Washington takeover of state law and a Beltway Cabal that would dictate health care policy from Washington.