The Civil Justice System’s Role Protects Consumers Federal Preemption Threatens This Role

The American Association of Justice (AAJ) released a series of documents that detail how helping negligent corporations escape accountability has been a top priority for the Bush Administration. The documents were obtained through repeated Freedom of Information Act requests by AAJ and reveal how the Bush Administration has silently ordered federal agencies to usurp state law and consumer protections.

The AAJ report titled, Get Out of Jail Free: A Historical Perspective of How the Bush Administration Helps Corporations Escape Accountability, tracks the origins of complete immunity preemption. Further, the report reveals how in 2005 carbon copy statements claiming that federal agency rules preempt state law began surfacing in the rule “preambles” issued by the federal government, and in some cases the final rules. To date, seven federal agencies have issued over 60 proposed and final rules with preemption language in the preamble and claimed the authority to provide immunity from state law.

The Wall Street Journal recently outlined how these new rules will weaken consumer protections and will affect everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medicine. The story also includes an acknowledgment from a former Administration official that skirting Congress and usurping tougher state consumer safety laws was a goal of this Administration. And we can expect even more activity from federal agencies in the waning months of the Bush Administration. In exposing this wide-ranging attempt by the Bush Administration to dismantle states’ rights, AAJ uncovers the cozy relationship between federal agencies and the industries they regulate and the dissension at the agencies that resulted from the move to curtail states’ authority.

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Oct 21, 2008 at 01:28 PM