Federal Courts and Nominations

Roberts’ Supreme Court Is More Pro-Business Than Any Other Court Since World War II: Study

By Caroline Fairchild        


It’s no secret big business has some good friends in Congress. But a new study shows that the Supreme Court has also served as an important ally to the corporate world.


The current Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., has been more favorable to businesses than any other court since at least World War II, according to a recent study published in April’s Minnesota Law Review.


The researchers also found that five of the justices serving on the Roberts Court are among the top 10 most pro-business justices in the past 65 years. In fact, the two justices who were found to be most likely to vote in favor of businesses are Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the only current justice among the 10 least favorable justices to business.


The study, which analyzed more than 2,000 court decisions since 1946, was conducted by Lee Epstein, a professor of law and political science at the University of Southern California, economist William M. Landes from the University of Chicago and Richard A. Posner, a Chicago federal appeals court judge.


The current court has voted in favor of big business in many high profile cases.


In one of its more controversial decisions, the Supreme Court rejected limits on campaign donations made by corporations. The court’s ruling in the Citizens United case allowed corporations to spend hundreds of millions of dollars without restraint in the latest campaign season. The court held that political spending, either by a corporation or an individual, is protected under the First Amendment and cannot be curbed by the government.


In 2011, the court blocked a major sex discrimination lawsuit against Walmart, making it more difficult for future large-scale bias claims against big employers to reach the Supreme Court.


Just last month, the Supreme Court turned its back to a class action lawsuit against Comcast alleging that the company’s monopoly in parts of the Philadelphia area allowed it to hike up prices unfairly. The court argued that there was not enough evidence of the damages.


The Supreme Court’s support of the Chamber Of Commerce has also increased under the current Supreme Court, according to a report by liberal judicial group the Constitutional Accountability Center. The chamber has won almost 70 percent of the cases it has gotten involved with during the Roberts Court. This compares to the chamber’s 56 percent success rate during the Rehnquist court from 1994 to 2005.


(h/t the New York Times)

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