Classicist Regrets. Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann resigns rather than face impeachment for all manner of unpalatable, impolitic behavior, official and otherwise. His resignation letter, available here, claims many successes fit for an activist AG and concludes by quoting from Marc Antony’s funeral oration for Caesar: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” To which we say, “What?” Jonathan Adler has many links here.
The Next Brutus? A year ago, The New York Times declared: “As New York attorney general, Eliot Spitzer won national attention by becoming the new sheriff in finance, taking on Wall Street and mutual funds and the insurance industry. With Mr. Spitzer now in the governor’s mansion, is there another state regulator trying to take up his badge? A strong candidate for the new Spitzer might be Marc Dann, the new attorney general of Ohio.” So, who’s next? Forbes had a list of other potentially headline-grabbing AGs last year.
Stars and Arguments. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing yesterday on federal regulation of medical devices, a session meant to set the stage for reversing federal pre-emption of state regulations — such a reversal being a priority for trial lawyers wanting to sue in state courts. Testimony by Dennis Quaid — you remember, the actor? — got the most attention; we commend the testimony of John E. Calfee, Ph.D., of the American Enterprise Institute. You can read Calfee’s conclusions here. Bottom line: Eliminating pre-emption will encourage litigation, an ineffective and expensive approach of promoting safety or advances in prescription drugs.
Preempting Balanced Reporting. For a classic example of one-side reporting, read this AP scene-setter on the preemption hearing, an article that accepts the thesis from the activists (trial lawyers and self-styled consumer groups) that the Bush administration is using regulations to lock in federal preemptions, sticking it to the little guy in the process. Five separate people are cited complaining about pre-emption, “balanced” by two people making neutral observations about the legal and political landscape. Did no one make a positive case for federal preemption?
Speaking of Activist AGs. The Rhode Island Supreme Court hears arguments today in an appeal from three paint manufacturers, sued by the state for creating a public nuisance by once selling lead paint, generally. In a novel move, the court is broadcasting the arguments online, starting at 9 a.m. The best blogger on the case is Jane Genova at Law and More, and the NAM’s materials — including an amicus brief — are available here.