Update: At the Supreme Court, What Pro-Business Bias?

Activists and the plaintiffs’ bar complain regularly about the Roberts Court’s “bias” in favor of business.

WLF’s Chairman addressed this canard last spring in The Washington Examiner, showing that the claim is not only misguided, but potentially pernicious (would the activists prefer the court be anti-business?  This seems especially odd in our current period of economic difficulty).

Since this op-ed, the evidence against the activists’ claim has only grown.  Consider this March 1 post by Josh Blackman titled, “The Pro-Business Roberts Court is Striking Out.”

  • In FCC v. AT&T Inc. Chief Justice Roberts, the great illusionist, wrote for a unanimous Court that corporations do not possess personal privacy rights under FOIA.
  • In Henderson v. Shinseki, Justice Alito writing for a unanimous Court found that a statute of limitations applied to veterans filing appeals is not jurisdictional, thus leaving open such options as “equitable tolling.”
  • In Staub v. Proctor Hospital, Justice Scalia writing for 6 members expanded the ability of employees to sue their employers under USERRA under the “cat’s paw” theory. Justice Alito, joined by Justice Thomas, concurred in judgment, and would have reached the same result through reference to the statutory text, rather than to principles of agency law.
  • Last week in Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc., the Court unanimously found that a California car-safety law was not pre-empted.
  • In January in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, Justice Scalia wrote for a unanimous Court, and found that Title VII’s ban on workplace retaliation against an employee who challenges discrimination also protects a co-worker who is a relative or close associate of the targeted employee.

True, the Roberts Court has also handed down decisions which create a more positive atmosphere for free enterprise (including, most recently, Brusewitz v. Wyeth), but as Blackman has displayed, the Court has no knee-jerk predisposition towards the business side of any given case.

2 thoughts on “Update: At the Supreme Court, What Pro-Business Bias?

  1. Pingback: So maybe the Roberts Court isn’t so pro-business

  2. Pingback: Last Week At WLF « The Legal Pulse

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