Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor
This session the record is 7-1. Since October of 2011, the record is 28 wins and 4 losses. That is a record that any team would be proud of and evidence of a significant amount of work and effort to improve its performance on the court. However, I am not talking about any particular basketball team currently involved in March Madness and the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball tourney.
I am talking about the record a team called The United States Chamber of Commerce has in cases it has argued or filed a brief in front of the Supreme Court. Even Coach K or Coach Izzo would be jealous of that record.
“Since 2010, Constitutional Accountability Center has been tracking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s record before the Supreme Court, closely analyzing each case with Chamber involvement and publishing our findings. These reports – typically released at the end of each Term – have documented the Chamber’s rather astounding success before the Roberts Court. For instance, since the beginning of October Term 2011, the Chamber has won a staggering 88% of its cases overall (28 wins and 4 losses).” Constitutional Accountability Center
I guess I should not be surprised at how successful the Chamber has been in cases in front of the Supreme Court, but I am old enough to remember that the Chamber of Commerce and other business entities and interests did not always have such astounding records in front of the Supreme Court. The Rehnquist Court decided in favor of US Chamber of Commerce cases only 56% of the time while the Roberts Court is currently favoring the Chamber of Commerce at a 72% rate.
The Constitutional Accountability Center also tells us that the Burger Court found in favor of the Chamber of Commerce only 43% of the time.
The following chart from the Constitutional Accountability Center describes the success rate more dramatically:
What could cause this impressive winning percentage for the Chamber of Commerce in cases it has argued or filed an amicus brief? Could it be politics creeping into the decision making process of the Justices? Does the Chamber have an overwhelmingly better legal staff than many of its opponents in these cases? If the Roberts Court continues to favor Chamber cases at its current rate of 72% or its 88% success rate since 2011, could the success rate itself be a deterrent to people attempting to have their cases heard in the top court of the land?
The current term of the Supreme Court still has 6 cases to be decided where the Chamber of Commerce is involved. When one reads of these heady success rates by the Chamber of Commerce, it should make people understand why nominations by Presidents to the Supreme Court are so important.
It could also be argued that Chamber success rates that have been climbing in recent years is another reason why the Right has so frequently filibustered Judicial appointments of the Obama Administration. A pessimist could claim that Chamber money could keep flowing to Conservative candidates in order to maintain these lofty win/loss records.
Can individuals who are in litigation with Chamber backed opponents have any confidence that they have a legitimate chance of success if the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court? I guess at the end of this term, when the remaining 6 cases have been decided, we will either have additional evidence that the Chamber has a firm grip on the Supreme Court or evidence that the Supreme Court has softened its pro-Chamber proclivities.
Do you think the Chamber will maintain its Hall of Fame winning percentage? What can be done to insure that no one organization or group or individual has a lock on the Supreme Court?
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