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Corrupted Government: Corporations Running Wild

Thursday, June 20, 2013By Richard Alexander
The 2010 decision of the Supreme Court in favor of Citizen’s United opened the doors to a free-market election process where money rules.  Justice Stevens in his 90-page dissent best sums up the trouble in selling out to big business:

The Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense.

The Supreme Court has created an avalanche of corporate money that knocks out grassroots voters and individual campaigning. Throughout our history there has been an ebb and flow of corporate power that has been reeled in by regulation and government control, but with this decision the line has been breached.

The Citizen’s United decision includes gives corporations unlimited free speech but at the expense of silencing the little guy. The average person's voice has been squelched in the political process as it has in a legal system that caters to the rich and powerful.

Case in point: protections given to drug and medical device manufacturers.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in February 2008 in the case of Reigel v. Medtronic that medical device manufacturers were insulated from being held accountable in state courts when their products were responsible for personal injuries and deaths.

Current law supports the right of an injured person to sue a drug manufacturer for personal injuries caused by a manufacturer’s concealment of adverse reports or promotion of “off label” use with serious side effects. However, Reigel deems products above state law once they have Food and Drug Administration Pre-Market Approval.

The court’s decision relied on the FDA’s role as the sole protector of the citizens, ignoring its obvious ineffectiveness and fumbling attempts to supervise a number of medical devices such as defibrillators, pacemakers, stents and morphogenetic proteins that have put patients’ lives at risk in recent years.

Drug manufacturers similarly rely heavily on the role of the FDA when products are mislabeled, arguing that such cases must be preempted, nullified and dismissed, because the content of any label is exclusively controlled by the FDA. This defense has been used even when the manufacturer has not complied with federal regulations.

The Supreme Court decisions in favor of big business should be alarming to everyone. By blockading legitimate claims of injury and faulty products, the Supreme Court has steamrolled the American people.

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