More Wednesday Nice-Time! Here's Elizabeth Warren Talking About How Big Business Owns The Courts!
We love Elizabeth Warren. There. We said it. WE LOVE ELIZABETH WARREN! So much, in fact, that sometimes we wish we could marry her. Or, if that's not possible, we wish we could someday cast a vote for her, but we do not live in Massachusetts so alas, this dream will not be a reality until the day she decides to run on a presidential ticket. (Warren/Sanders 2016 because we are flaming liberals! Or for the centrists out there, Clinton/Warren 2016! Or just for the hell of it, Booker/Warren 2016!)
Anyway, even though we don't live in Massachusetts we can still fire up the old YouTube to watch her hand Ben Bernanke his own ass or try desperately to give us all the moneys or warn us about the corporate capture of the courts, like she did last week while talking to the liberal lawyers at the American Constitution Society. The entire speech is here [pdf], but here are some of the highlights:
After a nice greeting and obligatory thank-you-for-inviting-me, Warren opens a can of Righteous Jeremiad and warns everyone that most of the people who become judges are shitbags (this is a technical legal term):
[A] study published by ACS earlier this year...examined the biographies of 162 judges listed in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary. It found that 85% of the judges had worked in private practice, and also noted that it was "clear from the judges’ biographies that a sizable number of them worked for large, well-known firms that tend to represent corporations."
Meanwhile, only 3% -- five judges total out of 162 -- had substantial legal experience working for non-profit organizations. And none of those five judges had worked for such an organization more recently than 1981!
Similarly, only 3% of the judges had worked for organizations or government agencies that enforce civil rights. Only three judges TOTAL appeared to have worked for organizations representing low income Americans, and only one judge -- one out of 162! -- appeared to have substantial experience litigating consumer protection cases.
How convenient for big companies that they essentially have a member of the board sitting on the bench. Clearly it was not fair that they only had two branches of government to themselves; since they are now people, it's only right that they capture the third branch.
But if you are not an Incorporated American, is it a big deal that the bench is filled with a bunch of little Alex P. Keaton* clones? Yes. Yes it is. Tell us more, Liz:
Data on the Supreme Court in recent years shows a heavy pro-corporate tilt. The five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top ten most pro-business justices in a half century -- and Justices Alito and Roberts are numbers one and two -- the most pro-business. Or take a look at the win rate of the Chamber of Commerce. According to the Constitutional Accountability Center the Chamber moved from a 43% win-rate during the last five terms of the Burger Court, to a 56% win-rate under the very conservative Rehnquist court, and they are now at a 70% win rate with the Roberts Court. Follow this pro-business trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce.
Silly us! We thought it already WAS sooner than later. But apparently it can get worse, so that's good to know. OK, so the bad news is that the court, like the legislative branch, has been bought and sold to Incorporated Americans. You might be wondering just where is the Nice Time in this confirmation that we are in thrall to our corporate overlords? Here is the Nice Time: We have Elizabeth Warren on our side, and she is happy to fight ALL OF THE BRANCHES if need be.
*Don't pretend not to get the reference. You fogeys aren't fooling anyone.