The Washington Timeswww.washingtontimes.comWashington's extortion lobbyPublished February 20, 2005SHAKEDOWN: HOW CORPORATIONS, GOVERNMENT, AND TRIAL LAWYERS ABUSE THEJUDICIAL PROCESSBy Robert A.

LevyCato, 334 pages, $22.95REVIEWED BY WILLIAM H. PETERSONWorry over security played a big role in the presidential campaign — and plays it still. For persisting inof D.C.

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is the naive if popular opinion that government is "on our side" — that it is an impartial protectoreven seeing to it that we shall not want. Sure.In "Shakedownþ" Robert A. Levy, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, says suopinion leaks.

Our Framers were far above such leakiness. Thus did their constitutional checks and balanto stem abuse of power. They knew that Brutus still lurks about, that as Thomas Jefferson noted in 1788,natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."That gain is tracked by the author.

He sees Washington, D.C.'s leading industry as not tourism but speinterests milking a giant, most cooperative cash cow, with consumers and taxpayers getting hit by many"baseless lawsuits."Apart from antitrust, the extortion lobby works three routes: one, through victimizing smokers and a bsocked tobacco industry; two, through anti-gun advocates circumventing the Second Amendment and stalegislatures by suing in court and in the process victimizing gun manufacturers and potential gun ownersthree, through seductive tort liability and antitrust systems hobbling our economy via perverse "regulatiothrough litigation."Mr. Levy titles part one of his two-part book "Tort Law as Litigation Tyranny" and part two "AntitrustCorporate Welfare for Market Losers.

" This libertarian pulls no punches.But what about the rising tide of tort cases that push up, among other things, medical malpractice insupremiums to six-figure heights and force many doctors, such as gynecologists and obstreticians, out of buUp go the costs of of office and hospital visits, hurting many family budgets.The author supplies a neat reply. As a federalist as well as a libertarian, he believes in states' rights, inAmendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to tStates, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

"He adds, "There is no constitutional right to health care." He sees state medical malpractice reform asubiquitous. He cites more than three dozen states with damage caps, with all 50 states passing or considesome kind of malpractice reform.Mr. Levy decries the fact that many congressional Republicans as well as liberal Democrats milk an exlobby. The author would invoke the 14th Amendment to check state tort laws which deny both proceduraPage 1 of 2 Washington's extortion lobby — The Washington Times2/22/2005 http://www. protection against quasi-criminal punishment. He writes that "the federal government not onlbut must intervene. Otherwise,.

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