Business interests have done very well in the U.S. Supreme Court, prevailing more often than not since John Robert took over as Chief Justice almost a decade ago. Needless to say, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been very active with this court. The Roberts court sided with the Chamber 71 percent of the time when the powerful business lobby formally involved itself in a case. This is according to a tally kept by the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC). Tom Donnelly, counsel for the center, observed:
Businesses tend to do very well, and that’s especially true in the closer cases. They find a very receptive ear at the Roberts court.
I was not surprised to learn that the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t dispute its success with the court. But the Chamber attributes its winning record to consensus on the court in business cases. It denies that there is than any deference to corporations themselves.
The CAC numbers include 115 cases in which the Chamber was party to a case, filed an amicus brief or represented a party. These cases were since January of 2006 and after Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined the court. By comparison to the 71 percent mark under the current Chief Justice, the Chamber’s view prevailed only 43 percent of the time under former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger between 1981 and 1986 and in 56 percent of cases decided during William Rehnquist’s tenure as chief. Regardless of one’s political leanings, it’s quite apparent that at least five of the justices tend to look with favor on corporate defendants when their cases are before the court.
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