Ron Paul vs. Club for Growth on tort reform

Andrew Cochran Aug. 21, 2011, 8:00am


I've written often about Rep. Ron Paul's support for real Constitutional conservatism and states' rights, including for protecting state civil justice systems from federal takeover through "tort reform" or limits on state medical malpractice lawsuits. Recently the conservative Club for Growth issued a "Presidential White Paper" about Dr. Paul's votes on key issues, and they devoted an entire section to "Tort Reform."

It's obvious that on this issue, the CfG is no more of a "Constitutionally conservative" group than many groups in the business community - check out the following comments on Dr. Paul's stand:

The American economy suffers from excessive litigation which increases the cost of doing business and slows economic growth. The Club for Growth supports major reforms to our tort system to restore a more just and less costly balance in tort litigation.

Representative Paul opposes federal tort reform for the same reason he opposes most federal solutions--he believes the federal approach "damages the Constitution by denying states the right to decide their own local medical standards and legal rules." To that end, he has voted against many tort reform measures in Congress...

Instead of traditional federal tort reform, he proposes "private contractual agreements between physicians and patients" that "enables patients to protect themselves with 'negative outcomes' insurance purchased before medical treatment." In theory, Paul's solution may help alleviate the situation, but it is politically untenable. While Paul's idealism is laudable, he has not offered a viable alternative for dealing with a problem that is hurting American consumers and businesses, while diminishing our international competitiveness.

So when it comes to the civil justice system, the CfG treats the Constitution as just a "laudable ideal" that isn't "viable" in dealing with "problems." There's nothing Constitutional about that stance. The Founding Fathers didn't think that way. Dr. Paul doesn't think that way, thank God. Neither do Republican Members of Congress like Reps. Ted Poe, Lee Terry, and Morgan Griffith, or Sen. Tom Coburn. Seven nationally respected experts on the Constitution, the National Conference of State Legislators, and Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler don't think so either. They recognize that "a problem that is hurting American consumers and businesses" is no excuse for cutting the Bill of Rights in half.

The Club for Growth's disdain for Constitutional limits on federal power is closer to the views of the pro-ObamaCare crowd than it is to the Founding Fathers or the Tea Party movement's views.

To the Club for Growth, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are movable targets subject to negotiation and the impact of lobbying and campaign contributions, not a set of firm principles of limited government protecting God-given, "unalienable" rights.

Candidates seeking the support of the Club for Growth should be wary of their demands.

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