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NYT – Corporations Find a Friend in the Supreme Court

Adam Liptak: “While the current court’s decisions, over all, are only slightly more conservative than those from the courts led by Chief Justices Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist, according to political scientists who study the court, its business rulings are another matter. They have been, a new study finds, far friendlier to business than those of any court since at least World War II. In the eight years since Chief Justice Roberts joined the court, it has allowed corporations to spend freely in elections in the Citizens United case, has shielded them from class actions and human rights suits, and has made arbitration the favored way to resolve many disputes. Business groups say the Roberts court’s decisions have helped combat frivolous lawsuits, while plaintiffs’ lawyers say the rulings have destroyed legitimate claims for harm from faulty products, discriminatory practices and fraud. Whether the Roberts court is unusually friendly to business has been the subject of repeated discussion, much of it based on anecdotes and studies based on small slices of empirical evidence. The new study, by contrast, takes a careful and comprehensive look at some 2,000 decisions from 1946 to 2011.”

  • See also, NYT – The Most Active ‘Friends of the Court’ – “Groups who favor business interests file the most friend-of-the-court briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to review a case, according to an analysis of briefs filed over a recent three-year period. The United States Chamber of Commerce filed the most briefs, with a success rate of 32 percent of petitions granted. The court grants about 1 percent of all petitions filed.”
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