The Stealth Corporate Takeover of the Supreme Court

Let’s face it, 21st century America is run for the benefit of corporations, so a corporate takeover of the Supreme Court shouldn’t be surprising. The New Republic argues it has already happened:

In August 1971, a prominent corporate lawyer from Richmond, Virginia, named Lewis F. Powell Jr. authored a “Confidential Memorandum” to the United States Chamber of Commerce. Powell observed that “with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic, and political change.” He urged the Chamber to replicate game-changing litigation victories by “[l]abor unions, civil rights groups,” and “public interest law firms,” which often came “at business’s expense.” Six years later, with Powell himself having been appointed to the Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon, the Chamber created a “voice of business in the courts,” the National Chamber Litigation Center.

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Over the past month, the Supreme Court heard three cases that show how radically Powell’s strategy has tilted the law business’s way—more so than he could have imagined, or even favored. Indeed, until he retired in 1987, Justice Powell embraced the Chamber’s position in only 53 percent of its cases he heard, whereas the Chamber has won 69 percent of its cases since John G. Roberts became chief justice in 2005. More significantly, as the Constitutional Accountability Center has reported, in ideologically polarized cases, the five-justice conservative bloc has awarded the Chamber a whopping 80 percent win tally.

This blow-out record has emboldened business advocates to shoot for the moon, throwing precedent and caution aside…

[continues at New Republic]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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