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Tort Reform Violates U.S. Constitution and Our Right to Trial by Jury

Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014    

H.R. 5- the so called Protecting Access to Health Care Act, passed the house on Thursday. It is tort reform 10, as pushed by the powerful US Chamber of Commerce though it’s Institute For Legal Reform. It is an overly broad bill that places caps on damages of those injured and killed by medical malpractice. It places a $250,000 cap, for example, on the needless death of stay home mom or an elderly person or a child. This monster bill is “big government” at its worst. It is nothing more than arbitrary, government-mandated limits on individual rights. How is that consistent with conservative values and principles? Remember, the bill was largely passed “conservative republicans”, like Congressman Steve Womack and Congressman Tim Griffin in Arkansas.

There were many who stood up to protect patients and preserve injured Americans’ 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury. Their voices were joined by some Republicans who spoke up for the preservation of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights.

It seems that Congressmen Womack and Griffin would be sponsoring and supporting legislative bills which would fix the broken health care system where every year, some 100,000 people die and hundreds of thousands more are injured needlessly. Medical mistakes claim more lives each year than breast cancer, AIDS, and motor-vehicle crashes combined. It’s like a jumbo jet crashing every day. All of these statistics came from a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine.

Tort reform is contrary to conservative values and principles.

Conservatives believe in local control. Tort reform takes power and control away from local citizens, i.e. 12 jurors of unbiased citizens, listening to specific facts of a case and working to do what is right. Politicians mandating limits on what our local jurors can do is “big government” at its worst. It is no different than taking control away from local schools boards.

Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, holding accountable those who do wrong. How does putting arbitrary limits on how much a wrongdoer can be held personally accountable for promote personal responsibility and accountability?

Conservatives believes people should solve their own problems rather that have “big government” get involved to “bail out” one side or the other. Our justice system allows people to resolve their disputes in a fair and even-handed way. Undermining the court system through tort reform will cause the public to demand greater governmental regulation of our conduct. Conservative?

Conservatives believe that those who are responsible for something, should pay for it. Tort reform tells wrongdoers you are going to have to fix only part of the harm you caused, leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab for the rest of the harm. Can we as a state really afford that?

Conservatives believe in the Rule of Law. Yet, tort reform’s limit on the amount of damages a jury can award violates the Constitutional Right to a Trial by Jury found in the 7th Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as, the 10th Amendment rights reserved to the states.

Please pass this email on to your friends, family and others who believe in our US Constitution, the rule of law, less government, no bail outs and personal responsibility and accountability. This fight will soon take place in the US Senate and Senators Boozman and Pryor need to hear us loudly and clearly.