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Conservatives Begin Bashing Oklahoma GOP Establishment Senator's Conduct in Tort Reform Hearing

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Earlier today I wrote a blog about the hypocrisy of Senator Sykes and what transpired at the Capitol regarding lawsuit reform. I wanted to follow up and let our readers know that some good conservative leaders, pundits and tea party groups are already coming out against the shenanigans pulled at the Capitol today and selective following of the constitution by so called conservative members.

Ron Black, whom you may recall from his days at WKY in Oklahoma City, posted an Oklahomans for Liberty Message detailing the deplorable actions described above. The Oklahomans for Liberty press release states

Whatever side you are on in the whole 7th Amendment debate, Senator Sykes’ behavior today was truly disgusting…

James Dunn, Oklahoma National Committeeman for the GOP, just forwarded me an email he sent to Matt Pinnell, the Oklahoma State GOP Chair.

Matt,

I have been at the capital most of yesterday working on this very issue. The Senate Judiciary passed today five bills that in essence destroy the peoples constitutional right to a jury trial. My heart is so heavy to know that leadership through Senator Sykes, the chair of the committee, would not even call me when I personally went to his office and left my phone number. I remember being significant to him when I wrote him a $1000.00 check a few months ago and personally brought him an additional $3,000.00 that I raised for him.

However, it is not the case now just like it wasn’t in committee today when he refused to allow one of his constituents to speak on these very serious issues. The committee, through a motion by Senator Crain, unanimously voted against Senator Sykes allowing the constituent to be briefly heard. It truly is a sad day for Oklahoma when the people are not given a chance to be heard by its elected officials. There is blood on the ground today of innocent victims who have been left behind by Oklahoma GOP leadership. I mourn for them and for all the future innocent victims who will suffer further because our current leadership does not care to hear the truth about the need to protect victims rights and our Constitution. It is clear that Oklahoma’s GOP leadership is more worried about politics as usual instead of truly following the constitution and our long history of upholding the rights of "we the people".

Sincerely,
James E. Dunn
Oklahoma National Committeeman.

So let’s recap. If you’re donating money to Senator Sykes, he’ll take your call… otherwise, he avoids you like the plague. And if you are one of Senator Sykes’ constituents and you want to exercise your 1st Amendment right to petition the government to express your concerns, Senator Sykes will do everything he can to make sure you can’t be heard if it goes against what the State Chamber wants passed.

If you are a constituent of Senator Sykes, I hope you will contact him today at (405) 521-5569 and let him know that you expect your voice to be heard, even if it’s not what Senator Sykes and the State Chamber want to hear.

For everyone else, please call Senator Breechen at (405) 521-5675 and ask him to reconsider co-authoring this bill. Sen. Breechen ran on being a Tea Party conservative yet he has aligned himself against the Constitution and with the State Chamber on SB 863.

Also, since the bill passed the committee (in record time, I must say), we need you to call your State Senator and tell them to vote NO on SB 863. You can find out the name and number of your Senator by clicking here.

I hope that tea party activists and other strong conservatives will start to stand up against the State Chamber and Oklahoma Republican Establishment. The 7th Amendment Advocate has a wonderful article I would direct conservatives to for further discussion entitled “Tea Partiers & Conservatives Should Oppose Federal Law Limiting Medical Malpractice Lawsuits” In part this article details 8 reasons why tea party members and conservatives should be against tort reform. Those 8 reasons are as follows:

1. The Constitutional basis for medical malpractice tort reform is also the basis for ObamaCare, and both violate the 10th Amendment’s protections of states’ rights. When he introduced H.R. 5, Rep. Phil Gingrey cited the language of the Commerce Clause: of the Constitution. I wrote about the abuse of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution in separate posts on December 6, on December 14, and on January 4. Simply put, the pro-medmal-reform and pro-ObamaCare forces depend on the theory that the Commerce Clause trumps the protection of individual and states’ rights in the Bill of Rights. That’s a formula for a slide into dictatorship. And as I wrote on December 6, Founding Father George Mason foresaw the holes in the Constitution and argued against ratification of the Constitution without a Bill of Rights.

2. A better name for any such bill is the "Abortion Butchers & Sexual Abusers Civil Immunity Act of 2011." If enacted, doctors who kill babies and their mothers (see the Gosnell case) could leave jail after their sentence is up, then stop by the bank to pick up their blood money and start over. Why would a pro-lifer (like me) ever want to limit the amount of money an abortion victim could take from killers and butchers in a civil suit?! And it even protects doctors who commit intentional torts, such as sexual abuse! The broad scope of H.R. 5 also protects bad drug and device companies which have been criminally prosecuted.

3. The bill does nothing to stop medical malpractice, which kills up to 100,000 Americans annually and injures up to ten times that number. The bill doesn’t improve hospital hygiene, medical records technology, or any other medical practice. Medical malpractice lawsuits can’t exist if there’s little or no medical malpractice.

4. We have a medical malpractice crisis, but not a medical liability crisis. The number of medical malpractice claims has been headed down – yes, DOWN – for years, down 15 percent from 1999 to 2008. The insurance industry’s own data reveals that the amount they’ve paid out for malpractice claims dropped by over 40% between 2002 and 2008, when adjusted for inflation. H.R. 5 is like fixing a flat tire by emptying the radiator. It misses the point and attacks a non-problem.

5. This bill would increase government spending, because those unable to hold wrongdoers accountable will become dependent on Medicare and Medicaid for payment of their medical costs. The taxpayers will be forced to pay for incompetent doctors and for drugmakers’ and medical device manufacturers’ faulty products.

6. Why would the GOP immunize industry groups which endorsed ObamaCare and enabled its enactment? The AMA and Big Pharma gave us ObamaCare’s unconstitutional mandate, budget-busting spending hikes, and huge tax increases. THANKS FOR NOTHING.

7. Medical malpractice today, religious liberty and gun rights tomorrow? There is no differentiation regarding medical malpractice lawsuits under the Constitution. This would be the same as capping damages in suits against schools firing Christian professors or limiting the size of gun clips.

8. The Founding Fathers were never for tort reform. Back in September, I offered to buy the best dinner in Washington to anyone to shows me just ONE pro-tort reform quote by any Founding Father. I’ve had no takers and I’m not worried, because none of them proposed limiting our 7th Amendment rights.

2 Comments

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  1. Larry says:
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    With regard to the list of 8 things:

    1) Strange, that the attorneys never complain about the commerce clause when the interpretation is in their favor (the vast majority of the House and Senate are, and have always been, lawyers, and THEY are the people who have passed laws upheld by the Supreme Court – ALL lawyers) which have ridiculously expanded the commerce clause. Talking out of both sides of our mouth, are we? Yes indeed.

    2) A farcical argument – when a crime is committed in the practice of medicine, you and all the other ambulance chasers can sue based on the crime itself, not on the practice of medicine.

    3) Having the ability to file a frivolous lawsuit does nothing to stop medical malpractice either. All it does is drive up the cost of medical care (an undisputed fact) for everybody else, so that a few lottery winners (mostly lawyers) can suck the blood of the system.

    4) These data are presented in a misleading way (but what would you expect, from a lawyer?). Payouts have increased, total payouts have increased, and premiums have increased, IN STATES WHERE THERE IS NO TORT REFORM. The reason they have decreased overall is BECAUSE MANY STATES, including two of the largest (California and Texas) have ENACTED tort reform.

    5) Baloney. The amount of payouts for medical malpractice, while ridiculous, is microscopic compared to these expenditures. The incremental amount is the same as a rounding error.

    6) A non-sequitur, having nothing to do with tort reform, but attempting to tar tort reform with a brush used to paint socialism. Can’t a good “lawyer” come up with a better charge than this?

    7) No, it isn’t. There are delineated constitutional rights of religious freedom and the right to bear arms. There is no constitutional right to file a frivolous lawsuit.

    8) The Founding Fathers were against many things, including contingent fee lawyers. So let’s compromise – no tort reform, and we will get rid of contingency fees (where the lawyer has an economic interest in a case, and therefore puts his or her desires ahead of the client in EVERY CASE).

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    In response to Larry’s List (Larry has been hitting several IB posts with these derisive comments that are not factual):

    1) Do your research. The majority of Senators and Representatives are anything but lawyers. Further, those pushing these bills that are lawyers tend to be insurance company lawyers. Next, where in my writings have I or Mr. Cochran who wrote the list your citing advocate for the expansion of the commerce clause? I think if you look we have decried its expansion in several areas including Obamacare.
    2) Your bias is evident in that you can’t help yourself from using derisive comments such as ambulance chaser. If we are casting labels I assume you’re an corporate welfare liberal. As to a crime, are you suggesting when a doctor is charged with a crime in medicine for lets say taking drugs and passing out on a patient he did not violate any standards? Talk about a facial argument. Plus, the fact you really didn’t address what Mr. Cochran said is evident that you have no real response.
    3) Once again, you cast insults without any discussion. As a corporate medical welfare liberal I’m sure you view every malpractice action as frivolous. These bills are designed to limit a Plaintiff’s recover, not to stop so called frivolous suits. You simply have no argument so you cast stones.
    4) Wrong again. Texas premiums have gone up in recent years while quality of care has gone down and doctors are immunized from lawsuits. Plus, I’m from Oklahoma and your dead wrong as all the above has gone down in Oklahoma. I assume the corporate welfare person you seem to be can provide no facts so he or she just makes them up. Care to cast any other misleading so called “facts”?
    5) Still making up numbers. Thank you for showing us the modus operandi for the corporate welfare crowd who hope by throwing things on the wall they will stick. Seems funny, you don’t even want those legitimately hurt to get their day in Court. As the Harvard Study shows your comments are just baloney.
    6) You clearly didn’t read the post or Mr. Cochran’s blog. Nice try though.
    7) The selective constitutionalist in you comes out.
    8) Divert Divert you can’t answer the question.
    Larry thank you for a prime lesson of the corporate welfare and their lobby’s argument for tort reform. Provide misleading facts, skirt the constitution, defame lawyers, defame juries and basically just make it up as you go along.