Second Tea Party Leader Opposes Federal Tort Reform


A second leader of a national and influential Tea Party group has joined the chorus of conservatives against any federal tort reform law. Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, posted on the website yesterday that the jury system is part of the free market, and to interfere with the jury system violates the 7th Amendment to the Constitution. The website requires registration to read the post, but Judson generously allowed me to post a segment of his article.

The free market is a wonderful system. It produces amazing efficiencies and amazing wealth. The free market system has delivered more prosperity to more people than any other system. There is another beauty to the free market system that many people do not think about. The free market system punishes bad behavior. If I open a business and decide to sell something that is a really bad product, people do not come to my business. I have the incentive to produce a really good product because that way people will want to come to my business.

The civil jury system is a part of the free market. Our founding fathers thought enough of it to make it the 7 th Amendment to the Constitution. Jury awards are a part of the free market. They do not exist in a vacuum. They not only compensate someone for an injury but like so many other parts of the free market, they act to deter bad behavior.

If I am injured by a bad doctor or suffer some other type of injury or loss, I do not want the Federal Government telling me what my pain is worth. I want twelve citizens deciding justice for me.

The right to a jury trial has a long and storied history in America and even further back in Britain.

Much as the Federal Government is overstepping its bounds by ordering Americans to buy health insurance, the government is also overstepping its bounds by telling citizens and states how much they can award in law suites and also telling lawyers how much they can be paid. (sic)

The free market is an amazing thing. It needs almost no intervention to achieve the right result, and the civil jury trial is an important part of the free market.

Take a moment to tell your Senators and Congressmen we do not need the federal government telling states what to do and trampling on another one of our constitutional rights.”

This spring, Tea Party Patriots co-founder and national coordinator Mark Meckler voiced his opposition to federal tort reform on the grounds that it violates states’ rights. “Most folks in the tea party movement would say those things should be dealt with at the state level,” Meckler said. “It’s not for the federal government to be adjusting the legal system of individual states.”

It’s great to see these two leaders of the popular movement to restore the primacy of our Constitutional rights forcefully reject the attempt to override state and individual rights. We need to bring these statements to the attention of every Member of Congress, especially the Republicans under pressure to enact federal tort reform.