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Hurting or Helping Consumers? Destroying Federal Preemption One Industry at a Time

Recorded on August 5, 2009

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Federal preemption of state law raises important questions concerning both protecting American consumers and our economy.  Is federal preemption an obstacle to protecting Americans from being injured by harmful products or is it necessary to prevent patchwork "regulation by litigation" from stifling innovation and new product development, such as life-sustaining drugs?  The Supreme Court has provided mixed guidance of late, denying federal preemption in drug manufacturing yet protecting it in the manufacture of medical devices.  When is federal preemption appropriate and what factors should Congress consider when deciding whether federal laws should override state regulation?  The answers to these questions are vital to the safety and economic well-being of our nation and its citizens.