Sunday, November 1, 2015

What it means to be business-friendly - Koppelman //Balkinization:

As a lawyer John Roberts was an architect of the strategy to force consumers into dead-end arbitration.  As Chief Justice he cast the deciding vote against consumers and employees, stripping the courts of jurisdiction. An umpire rewriting the rules, he might say in another context.  - gwc
Balkinization: What it means to be business-friendly

by Andrew Koppelman

It is now well established that the Roberts Court isextremely business-friendly, but this way of putting it masks the fact that there are different ways of being business-friendly. Some of these subvert what is valuable and honorable about business.

Today’s New York Times reports the increasingly widespread use of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, with the Supreme Court’s encouragement, to insulate businesses from class action suits. The consequence is that the misbehavior that such suits target – small thefts and abuses that affect large numbers of consumers, producing millions of dollars in illicit profits – is insulated from any legal remedy.

Among the lawyers who devised this clever trick was one John G. Roberts. He later provided the crucial vote to interpret the Federal Arbitration Act to shut down consumer and employment discrimination suits, in defiance of the intentions of the act’s authors.

Doubtless class action suits can be a nuisance for businesses, and sometimes they’re not meritorious. But when they are entirely blocked, really nasty business practices can be conducted with impunity.

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