Jim Edwards, February 22, 2011
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Wyeth vaccine case was a topsy-turvy affair, with arch conservative Justice Antonin Scalia writing a ruling favoring Big Gummint and proto-liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor authoring a scaremongering dissent that suggests vaccines might cause autism and that activist parents may “ultimately be able to prove such a link.”
The ruling is highly technical, but it basically says that parents cannot sue vaccine makers in the regular courts because the law requires them to use a special federal vaccine court. That court gives automatic payouts to anyone who claims their child was injured by a vaccine, as long as the injury is on a set list of common vaccine complaints.
The vaccine court has paid out more than $1.8 billion to parents in 2,500 cases since 1989. It is funded by a tax on vaccines. The system was set up to prevent drug companies being bankrupted by litigation and to ensure that the vaccine supply continued uninterrupted.
Vaccine paranoia at the high court
In the case, the parents of Hannah Brueswitz challenged the system for the right to sue in a regular court in front of a jury. While the ruling is a victory for drug companies and anyone else who is grateful that they didn’t get polio or smallpox, Sotomayor’s dissent displays her vaccine paranoia. Although the science says that vaccines do not cause autism — and the originator of that myth has been exposed as a fraud — Sotomayor seems to believe that if only the Bruesewitzes were allowed into the regular court system they might, somehow, somewhere, find a judge and jury to “prove” that vaccines harm children. Sotomayor gave lip service to the science on autism and vaccines…
As an initial matter, the special masters in the autism cases have thus far uniformly rejected the alleged causal link between vaccines and autism.
… before suggesting, without evidence, that such a link is merely a lawsuit away:
To be sure, those rulings do not necessarily mean that no such causal link exists, … or that claimants will not ultimately be able to prove such a link in a state tort action, particularly with the added tool of civil discovery.