Capitalizing on the excitement surrounding the looming vacancy on the Supreme Court, three activist groups today used an advertisement in the Washington Post to offer a biting criticism of the Supreme Court’s “corporate-biased” practices.
Unfortunately, despite appearing in a publication of high repute, the ad by Alliance for Justice, MoveOn.Org, and People For The American Way is light on facts and heavy on unsubstantiated criticism.
Consider its claim that the Supreme Court has allowed corporations to “dodg[e] liability for faulty medical devices.” The quotation alludes to Riegel v. Medtronic in which the eight justice majority declared that federal law preempts state common-law claims. This opinion does not represent a renegade court; rather, it is in keeping with The Medical Device Amendments, drafted in 1976, which expressly allow federal preemption. Federal preemption is not a whim of the Supreme Court, but the will of the people as represented by our legislators in Congress.
Or consider the ad’s claim that the Court is led by “the radical right … Justices Roberts and Alito.” It is true that John Roberts is the Chief Justice, but it is also true that Roberts was confirmed with a good deal of bipartisan support—something a true “radical” could certainly not have achieved. Continue reading