Alliance for Justice released a report exposing repeated and aggressive efforts by the conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court to radically rewrite the laws governing arbitration in order to shield corporations from liability.
Arbitration Activism: How the Corporate Court Helps Business Evade Our Civil Justice System details ways in which the Supreme Court’s rulings in cases like AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion and Rent-a-Center West v. Jackson have “allowed big business to abuse forced arbitration contracts, building up a privatized legal system that robs everyday Americans of the chance to be heard by an impartial judge and jury.” The Court’s actions can ripple through the legal system in a very short time, and the report tracks the harmful impact that the AT&T case has already had on civil and employment rights and constitutional protections in the five months since it was decided.
The Corporate Court’s rulings have systematically distorted existing federal law, allowed corporations to establish arbitration procedures that free themselves from class liability, and have removed many legal disincentives for corporate misbehavior. Most importantly, the Roberts Court has willfully undermined the fundamental principle that all Americans should have access to the courts, ensuring that all parties stand equal before the law.
In announcing the release of the report, Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron said, “Our nation is facing a crisis where our most cherished notions of fairness and the rule of law are being slowly chipped away by those who seek to concentrate all power in the hands of giant corporations and financial institutions. The aggressive expansion of forced arbitration by this Supreme Court is just one more example of how even the most routine aspects of our lives, from signing up for a cell phone or applying for a job, are being rigged to favor business interests and to disempower everyday Americans. We call on Congress to restore fairness and balance to the system of resolving consumer, employment, and civil rights disputes, before it is too late.”
Danielle Franco-Malone is legislative counsel at Alliance for Justice.