The American Constitution Society and the Texas Federalist Society are proud to present “The Debate Over Federal Preemption.” The debate will address federal preemption of state tort law, particularly in light of the recent Supreme Court argument in Wyeth v. Levine, which addressed whether federal law preempts state tort claims based on FDA-approved drug labeling. The event is also cosponsored by the Environmental Law Society.
The debate will be moderated by Thomas R. Phillips, a former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Phillips is currently a partner at Baker Botts in Austin.
Panelists arguing against federal preemption of state tort claims will be David C. Frederick and Thomas O. McGarity. Frederick, a 1989 graduate of the Law School, is a partner in the firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C., and is co-director of the Supreme Court Clinic. He argued on behalf of Diana Levine in the Supreme Court this past November. Thomas O. McGarity holds the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Chair in Administrative Law. He is the president of the Center for Progressive Regulation and author of the recent book The Preemption War: When Federal Bureaucracies Trump Local Juries.
Arguing in favor of federal preemption will be Aaron Streett and Garrick B. Pursley. Streett practices appellate and Supreme Court litigation as an associate with Baker Botts in Houston. Prior to joining the firm, Streett served as a law clerk to former Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court. Pursley graduated from the Law School in 2004 and currently teaches courses on constitutional structure and federalism as an assistant professor in the Emerging Scholars Program.
The debate itself, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday, February 19, at 4:30 p.m. in the Eidman Courtroom. A reception will be held prior to the event at 4 p.m., and happy hour at the Crown and Anchor will follow the debate.