Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Federalism's Champion: Fred Thompson

Should he actually declare and run, the campaign will be very interesting, indeed.

In fact, it may be the best Civics 101 class ever conducted in a national forum.

Here, Fred dismantles some criticism that he's "friendly" to trial lawyers:

The first case involves the issue of “preemption.” Congress routinely passes laws and resulting regulations which are in conflict with state laws and regulations. These federal laws do not state whether or not they are intended to preempt the state regulations. Clearly, members of Congress don’t want their constituents back home asking why their state authority has been stripped. But Congress can have it both ways. They leave the legislation ambiguous, knowing that the federal courts will more often than not interpret the statute as preempting state law, allowing elected officials in Washington “the federal court did it, I didn’t” excuse. This allows for no debate on the issue in Congress, just a decision by that source of so much conservative affection: the federal judiciary.

[The guy has a sense of humor, too...]

Mr. Ponnuru begins with the assumption that federal preemption of state regulations is inherently a good thing (how Federalist does this sound so far?), because then companies won’t have to keep up with all the state laws. I recognize that changes in transportation and communication have created legitimate federal interests where none previously existed. My votes reflect that. But the idea that the commerce clause allows the Feds to regulate anything effecting commerce, no matter how remote, hopefully, is something we can all agree is not acceptable. But I digress. Actually my alleged offense had nothing to do with that. Rather it was the fact that I introduced a bill that essentially said, “Congress must state whether or not the federal legislation is intended to preempt the state regulation.” Period.

Mr. Ponnuru not only seems to favor federal preemption in general but thinks that Congress should not be required to acknowledge the fact that it is preempting. Ponnuru says that if my proposal had passed, “the practical result would have been a gold mine for trial lawyers…” (although he doesn’t say how).

I disagree. The practical result would have been an open debate as to whether, in any given instance, preemption is a good idea then we would have had a discussion about Federalism. I wonder if Jefferson and Madison thought that we should pick the result we want based upon who we perceive to be the good guys and the bad guys, then get there any way we can?

He also discusses Ponnuru's complaint about his vote on the tobacco legislation and (summarily) stuffs Ponnuru's complaint into the trash can.

I hope he gets in...

HT: American Spectator Blog


Billiam said...

I read that aritcle as well. He's correct. If more Federal judges agreed, we might never have had Roe. It would have been left to the States. The same holds for the assault on Christianity. The Constitution say Congress shall make no Law... The States, however, were free to do so.

Jeff Miller said...

I saw that at Red State yesterday and thought that it was quite cool that he took the time to answer Ponnuru's complaint with a blog post.

The problem with so many campaign blogs is that they pretty much never have posts from the candidate themselves. Though considering the rhetorical skill of many candidates you can see why this is so. We will never go back to the Lincoln-Douglass style debates, but it would be great to see candidates actually reason out their opinions in something other than the sound bite or the press release.