Federal Preemption: Law, Economics, and Politics
Video Part Two

Once-esoteric questions involving the federal preemption of state law (especially state tort law and consumer protection statutes) have become the subject of a contentious public debate. Consumer advocates, plaintiffs' attorneys, and state officials argue that broad federal preemption claims--often by federal regulatory agencies and without a clear Congressional mandate--interfere with the states' historic role in protecting citizens against corporate misconduct. Corporations and federal agencies respond that preemption is often the only viable safeguard against unwarranted state interferences with the national economy. Aggressive trial lawyers and attorneys general, they say, upset carefully crafted regulatory compromises at the federal level. Preemption disputes along these lines have become a focal point of political debate and judicial decisions in a wide range of regulatory arenas, including financial regulation, automobile safety, clean-air laws, the regulation of telecommunications, energy, and other network industries, securities law, consumer products standards, pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, outboard motors, and mattresses.

In all these areas, billions of dollars hang on regulatory nuances and arcane points of legal interpretation. But the preemption debate is being waged in the context of broader, sometimes constitutional, arguments and presumptions concerning the role and utility of federalism and “states' rights” in a modern, highly mobile, and integrated economy. Legal scholars are sharply divided both over the substance of those arguments and the extent to which they should dominate economic considerations or statutory language in what is, after all, a large universe of highly particular, industry- or area-specific preemption arrangements. Most scholars agree, however, that preemption law--especially the federal courts' muddled doctrine in this field--merits a serious re-examination.

AEI's two-day conference, organized by Richard A. Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School and Michael S. Greve, the John G. Searle Scholar at AEI, will provide a forum for such re-examination. Leading legal scholars and practicing attorneys will discuss in panels various facets of preemption law, including its constitutional backdrop; its trajectory over the past two centuries; its present contours and economic implications in such areas as network industries, environmental law, financial and securities regulation, and pharmaceuticals; and its prospects in light of recent developments in Congress, regulatory agencies, the states, and the courts.

Seating for the conference and the conference dinner, featuring a keynote address by Kenneth W. Starr, will be limited.

For more conference information, including additional articles on preemption, please visit www.federalismproject.org/preemption.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael S.
Greve

 

Richard
Epstein

What's new on AEI

image Recovering from tax time blues
image 10 welfare reform lessons
image Let HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell explain Obamacare lie
image Why bold ideas backfire in politics
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 14
    MON
  • 15
    TUE
  • 16
    WED
  • 17
    THU
  • 18
    FRI
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Calling treason by its name: A conversation with Liam Fox

Join us at AEI as the Right Honorable Liam Fox sits down with Marc Thiessen to discuss and debate whether America’s intelligence agencies have infringed on the personal privacy of US citizens.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead

How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.