Corporate Accountability

U.S. Supreme Court: A (big) business-friendly climate

By Joel Connelly


The U.S. Supreme Court, in its recent rulings, is increasingly a big business-friendly workplace,  according to a new study by the Constitutional Accountability Center, a think tank with progressive leanings.


Specifically, it found that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is seven-for-seven in decisions rendered by the Supremes in the session that is about to end with a ruling on the Affordable Care Act.


“(A) string of seven straight victories brings the Chamber’s overall win/loss rate before the Roberts court up to 68 percent (60 of 88 cases),” it found.  “That’s significantly better than the Chamber did under the past two chief justices, William Rehnquist (it had a 56 percent win rate) and Warren Burger (a 43 percent success rate).”


The high court has moved sharply to the right and become far more activist under Chief Justice John Roberts.


The Supremes threw out precedents dating back 103 years to Theodore Roosevelt in their 5-4 Citizens United ruling, which removed all limits on campaign spending and declared that corporations have the same rights as people.


The Chamber, which supported the ruling, has become a kind of political laundry through which big business channels campaign donations in order to avoid leaving footprints.


Later in the 2010 campaign, it put $997,000 into efforts to unseat Washington’s Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.  Where did the Chamber get the money to donate?  Nobody knows.


The Chamber is involved in two still-pending cases.  It is seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act and roll back health care reform.  It is also involved in the case of First American Financial Corp. vs. Edwards.


The Chamber gives insight into its attitudes in a brief to the court:


“(V)iolations by banks and title companies of the anti-kickback provisions of the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act should not, by themselves, be sufficient to give home-buyers ‘standing’ to sue violators in court.”


(Kudos to Joan McCarter of the web site for bringing the Constitutional Accountability Study to national attention.)

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