LETTER TO EDITOR: Regulatory tort reform

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Lawrence J. McQuillan of the Pacific Research Institute argued for pre-emption in his Commentary column (“Tort law a threat to your health?” Wednesday). “Pre-emption” is the term used to describe Washington bureaucrats who put forth rules that bypass elected officials and pre-empt state consumer laws.

Many of these bureaucrats come from the very industry they are seeking to regulate and to which they will seek to return. Even the best workers at these agencies are hampered by budgets and rules — like the fact that the FDA cannot subpoena information from manufacturers (unlike most federal agencies that do have subpoena powers) and have to rely on the information provided by the very manufacturers they are seeking to regulate.

The legal system provides a necessary check on the abuses and problems that occur in these agencies.

Pre-emption emasculates states’ rights and substitutes the judgment of Washington bureaucrats and special-interest groups over that of elected officials as to what is reasonable and unreasonable.

As a conservative, and a trial attorney, I believe in states’ rights and in the Constitution’s Seventh Amendment guarantee of the right to a jury trial. I believe that defendants hire competent lawyers to represent them; that elected trial judges, appellate judges and Supreme Court justices do their job and do it well.

Americans should be wary of giving unelected, revolving-door federal bureaucrats the power over their lives and their health without accountability.

MORGAN G. ADAMS

Chattanooga, Tenn.

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