Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bush uses rule-by-decree to gut liability suits

This isn't the first time Bush has used rule-by-decree in a manner that's harmed the public while favoring Big Business. In 2003, for instance, he issued a ukase that practically gutted EMTALA. (EMTALA was the law that required hospitals to treat emergency patients without fighting them over insurance first.) But now the Decider is at it yet again!

The Bush regime has been quietly circumventing Congress and the states by issuing rules making it harder for folks to file legitimate product liability lawsuits. Just since 2005, regime officials have proposed or adopted 51 new rules limiting suits regarding almost any product you can buy, ranging from food to cars. These new rules shield corporations while gutting the rights of consumers.

But now Congress is hearing testimony from folks who are critical of Bush's rules that have nixed lawsuits against makers of drugs and medical devices. Consumers used to use state laws to sue makers of faulty drugs. But it wasn't until 2006 that Bush's FDA decreed that products that had FDA approval weren't governed by these state laws. Bush's fiat not only hurt injured consumers but also unconstitutionally pulverized the principles of federalism - namely, state powers. And it was all done to protect negligent corporations.

In a bizarre decision, the Supreme Court recently ruled that these federal diktats trump lawsuits in state courts against makers of medical devices. But a new bill in Congress would remedy this strange ruling (assuming the Dumpster doesn't veto it, which he probably will).

Few aspects of the Decider's reign are more mind-boggling than his devastation of state and local autonomy, which has been maliciously carried out to benefit his corporate cronies.