Nov. 7, 2008 by Thomas McGarity

Bush Administration Deregulatory Agenda Finishing Strong

Joining Thomas McGarity in this post are CPR Policy Analysts Margaret Clune Giblin and Matthew Shudtz.  This entry is cross-posted on ACSBlog, the blog of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

In the wake of the meltdown in the US financial sector, federal regulation has attracted renewed public support as a vehicle for establishing responsible boundaries and correcting market failures. Recent news stories, however, have focused public attention on a flurry of regulations that the Bush Administration has finalized, or has proposed and is working feverishly to finalize, in its last weeks in office. Has the Bush Administration recognized the failure of the deregulatory principles that have guided its nearly eight years in office and, like the public, come to embrace regulation? Apparently not. Instead, the Administration has opted to push through hundreds of new rules, many sharing the common theme of further undercutting health, safety and environmental protections.

The strategy of promulgating “midnight regulations” in an administration’s waning days is by no means novel. But the Bush Administration is taking the practice of midnight rulemaking to new heights, and it is doing so with the goal of deregulation. The Federal Times reports that since June, the …

Nov. 3, 2008 by Thomas McGarity

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could give a boost to the Bush Administration’s backdoor “tort reform” efforts – an increasingly transparent effort to shield industry from litigation over defective products. The issue in Wyeth v. Levine is whether the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling requirements preempt state tort law.


Here are the facts of the case: Eight years ago, professional guitarist Diana Levine went to a clinic with a migraine and received an injection of Phenargen, an anti-nausea medicine. The drug’s label cautioned that one method for administering the drug – the so-called “Push IV” method of direct injection into a vein – was risky because of the danger that the drug could be injected into an artery instead of a vein. But the label did not instruct doctors not to use the technique. Indeed, the manufacturer …

July 28, 2008 by Thomas McGarity

You are right, Sid, that we hear lots of horror stories about so-called “frivolous litigation” and “runaway juries” from those who want to take away the right of ordinary citizens to hold big companies accountable for the damage caused by negligence and defective products. The stories are very effective in giving the public the impression that the system is badly broken and in dire need of fixing. The problem is that most of them are myths.


Take the notorious McDonald’s case that you mention. The anti-lawsuit pundits have characterized this case as a situation in which a careless woman drove up to a McDonald’s, ordered coffee, drove off, stuck the coffee between her legs and spilled the coffee in her lap when she tried to remove the lid while she was hurrying off to her next destination. Rather than take personal responsibility for her carelessness …

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