The inside-the-Beltway mentality that values campaign dollars over states’ rights is about to strike again. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, is about to force fellow Republicans, for the third time, to vote against the 7th and 10th Amendments and for H.R. 5, the federally imposed limit on awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, which is based on the same interpretation of the Commerce Clause as Obamacare and is just as unconstitutional. Not only that, but he’s doing it to claim that his committee is contributing billions of dollars of “savings” for the federal budget, based on CBO estimates. That’s the same CBO that missed the Obamacare budget estimates last year by a mere 100% and has a lousy long-term record of estimating budget savings over ten years. None of that matters to Chairman Smith, who’s apparently trying to convince “Big Medicine” that they should funnel their campaign contributions to Republicans.
Chairman Smith couldn’t quote a single constitutional scholar, Republican President or Founding Father for federal tort reform just three weeks ago in 8 hours of debate on the House floor over H.R. 5. Again he ignores states’ rights, promotes constitutional hypocrisy, and uses phony CBO numbers – that’s conservative leadership? It will be interesting to see what committee members Reps. Ted Poe, Louis Gohmert, James Sensenbrenner and Steve King do about Chairman Smith’s push, since all four refused to vote for H.R. 5 on the floor.
This hasn’t been lost on one Tea Party leader, Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation, who slammed Chairman Smith by name last week in a column titled, “Washington Games.” Mr. Phillips urged Chairman Smith to claim real savings in Washington waste and wrote, “Instead, Lamar Smith wants to play the usual Washington game. He wants to use his position to punish those he disagrees with, pass legislation that is every bit as unconstitutional as Obamacare, while ignoring the real issues of out of control spending that we face.”