Corporate Accountability

CAC: Pro-Corporate SCOTUS Decisions Yield More “Big Wins” for the Chamber


U.S. Chamber Watch
CAC: Pro-Corporate SCOTUS Decisions Yield More “Big Wins” for the Chamber
Posted by LLevenstein on May 18, 2011


The Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) is keeping a close watch on the Chamber’s influence over the Supreme Court these days. Yesterday, the CAC called attention to two recent decisions in the Chamber’s favor, both of which they say “shield corporations from liability by making it more difficult for individuals to pursue claims against corporate wrongdoing” and “represent part of a disturbing trend of increased polarization on the Supreme Court in business cases.” These cases included Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Kirk and AT&T v. Concepcion.

Neil Weare, Litigation and Policy Counsel for CAC, explained why these decisions only bolster a previous study by the organization showing how the Chamber has seen more Supreme Court decisions go its way under the Roberts’ court than at any other time:

Not surprisingly, the Chamber’s success rate this term has now improved and, overall, the Roberts Court has still ruled for the Chamber far more than its predecessor Courts. Including yesterday’s decision, the Robert Court has now ruled 64% of the time in favor of Chamber positions since Alito joined the Court, compared to 56% during the stable Rehnquist Court, and just 43% during the last five years of the Burger Court.

Even more striking is the Chamber’s domination in cases decided by a 5-4 or 5-3 vote. There are more of these closely divided business cases in the Roberts Court than ever before, and the Chamber’s success rate in these cases is startling. Adding Schindler and Concepcion to our empirical study of the Chamber’s success before the Supreme Court, the Roberts Court has favored Chamber positions more than 75% of the time (16 of 21 cases) in close cases.

The U.S. Chamber: largest business influence over the Supreme Court, highest overall spender on Congressional lobbying, direct line into the White House, millions spent on electioneering communications, mostly for Republicans, and all with anonymous cash. As Weare ends his post, “Those are the facts.” Facts that deserve exposure as the Chamber’s secretly-funded shadow over Washington (and the country) grows larger and more ominous.