Corporate Accountability

Supreme Court Hands Chamber Of Commerce Blockbuster Pro-Corporate Term

By Amanda Terkel


WASHINGTON — It was another good year for the Chamber of Commerce at the nation’s highest court, which has increasingly taken a corporate tilt under Chief Justice John Roberts.


The Chamber had a 78 percent success rate in the Supreme Court cases it intervened in this term. In other words, it won 14 and lost three cases in which it filed amicus briefs. An additional case was considered neither a win nor a loss because the Court ruled on a separate matter.


In the most controversial cases — the ones that divided the court 5-4 along ideological lines — the Chamber was undefeated, winning all eight.


Tom Donnelly, counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, has been tracking the Chamber’s success rate. He noted in the last Supreme Court term, the Chamber actually went undefeated. Nevertheless, there’s no question that the most recent term was a victory for the business lobbying group.


“It’s typically strong in the sense that the issues involved are issues that we see term by term — the Court continuing to push the law in a pro-business direction,” said Donnelly. “In the context of arbitration, the Court is making it harder for small claimants … trying to join together to hold those businesses accountable. The Court is closing off those collective actions. Similarly, it’s cutting back on class actions generally [and making it] harder for employees to succeed in civil rights claims.”


In two cases decided on Monday, for example, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for workers to sue businesses for retaliation and discrimination.


The Constitutional Accountability Center has also compared how the Chamber has fared under recent chief justices, finding that the Roberts court has been significantly friendlier to the lobbying group.


SCOTUSblog recently published a study that found the Chamber is heavily involved in the cert.-stage, when the justices decide which cases they are going to take up, as well. In fact, the Chamber filed more briefs urging the court to intervene in cases than any other group and had one of the highest success rates.


The Chamber did not return a request for comment.


List of Chamber cases, via the CAC:



American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant

American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles

Comcast v. Behrend

Gabelli v. SEC

Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk

Horne v. Department of Agriculture

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District

Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett

PPL Corp. and Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar

U.S. Airways v. McCutchen

Vance v. Ball State University



Amgen v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds

City of Arlington, Texas v. FCC

Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter



Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center

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