The Roberts Corporate Court Strikes Again

By  CAP Action War Room

The Powerful Over the People

Yesterday, we celebrated two landmark Supreme Court rulings advancing LGBT rights, but a closer look at the rest of the Supreme Court term reveals a wide variety of troubling rulings. These rulings may be on different issues, but they all have a common theme: whenever possible the High Court’s conservative wing puts the interests of the powerful above those of the people. This term the Supreme Court has issued rulings attacking voting rights, consumer rights, workers’ rights, and more.

In particular, the Roberts Court chooses to side with powerful corporations at almost every possible opportunity. Even conservative-leaning Supreme Courts in the past have not sided with corporations as often. For example, in cases where the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce intervened, they won barely more than half the time under Chief Justice Rehnquist. Since Chief Justice Roberts and Alito joined the court in 2006, the Chamber has won 70 percent of its cases. Over the past two terms alone, the Chamber has prevailed in a whopping 88 percent of its cases. In fact, the Roberts Court is the most pro-corporate Supreme Court in more than six decades.

Here’s a few of the areas where the court trampled on the people at the expense of the powerful:

  • Voting Rights: Just this week, the Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. As a result, six states are already moving forward with voter suppression laws that previously would’ve been held up or blocked entirely. If individuals cannot vote, they of course cannot vote for politicians who support progressive or populist policies or vote against those who are the tools of corporate special interests like polluters, insurance companies, and Wall Street banks.
  • Workers’ Rights: In two decisions also handed down this week, the Court made it much harder for victims of workplace discrimination to seek justice. The first case severely limited the definition who counts as a supervisor, making it much easier for people to be intimidated out of taking action against harassment by their bosses. A second decision issued the same day made it much easier for corporations or supervisors to retaliate against individuals who complain about discrimination.
  • Human Rights: In April, the Court severely limited a 200 year-old law that allowed individuals to use the U.S. civil court system to seek recourse for human rights violations committed abroad. Chief Justice John Roberts led a splintered court in ruling that several Nigerians alleging an oil company aided an abetted torture, arbitrary killings, and indefinite detention could not sue, because the corporate conduct occurred outside the United States. It is now essentially impossible to hold anyone accountable for such conduct.
  • Consumer Rights: The Roberts Court has made a habit of issuing rulings that limit the ability of individuals to file class action lawsuits and/or seek justice outside the arbitration system that heavily favors corporations. The Court issued several such rulings this term, making it harder for individuals or even millions of individuals impacted by wrongdoing or some other harm to take on powerful corporations.

In addition, the Court ruled in favor of pharmaceutical companies, authorized what should be unconstitutionally intrusive police collection of DNA, undermined the rights of indigent defendants, and sided with big developers and trampled on “local community rights,” among other unfortunate decisions.

Based on the cases the Court has agreed to hear next term, it appears we may be in for more of the same. The Court will hear cases on abortion rights, housing discrimination, the separation of church and state, the ability of the president to fill executive vacancies in the face of Senate obstruction, affirmative action, and environmental laws, just to name a few potentially explosive decisions.

When the Court managed to rule against corporate interests and the powerful, it almost always came over the objections of Chief Justice Roberts and the other members of the Court’s conservative wing.

BOTTOM LINE: In spite of some bullets dodged and landmark victories, the Roberts Corporate Court continued to distinguish itself by overwhelmingly favoring corporate interests and the powerful over the rights and interests of individuals and the American people.

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Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

National Women's Law Center
Here are some things we don’t think you should be punished for:

  • Having a chronic disease.
  • Taking care of an elderly parent.
  • Living in a neighborhood where exercising outdoors isn’t safe.

Seems obvious, right? But a loophole in the health care law could do just that.
We need your help to close a loophole in the health care law that could punish low-income women and women with chronic diseases. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released proposed rules on the health care law’s wellness program that would increase premiums and out-of-pocket costs for individuals who do not or cannot participate in certain wellness activities, such as an exercise program. Help us make sure that employer-sponsored wellness programs don’t penalize women and their families.
Programs that increase premiums or out-of-pocket costs for individuals who do not participate in employer-run wellness programs could cause women who hold more than one job, who have childcare or eldercare responsibilities, or health conditions that restrict their ability to participate in program activities to pay more for health coverage or health care. And they ignore other economic and environmental barriers to improving health for low-income women and the fact that women who are pregnant or breast feeding might be medically-advised against participating in certain activities, such as a weight-loss program.
You have less than a week to make your voice heard! The IRS is only taking comments about its proposed rules on the health care law’s wellness program until July 2. That’s why we need you to make your voice heard today.
Going to the gym and eating healthy foods are good goals but easier for some than others. If your neighborhood grocery store doesn’t have fresh vegetables, you have children or elderly family to care for, or your community doesn’t have an affordable gym or sidewalks for you to walk and run on— it may be nearly impossible to be part of a program that requires you to participate to keep your health insurance premiums or out of pocket costs affordable.
Take action now.
Thank you for all you do for women and families.

Judy Waxman Judy Waxman Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights National Women’s Law Center

Ballot #594


It’s official.

Last week we got our ballot number — 594.

And this week, we got the language from the secretary of state, which will be finalized the week of July 8. After that, we can start our petition drive to make sure that criminal background checks are on the ballot in 2014.

With your help, we’re going to make sure that every single person purchasing a gun in Washington has to pass a criminal background check — and keep our families safe.

Thanks for pledging your support to help us make this simple, commonsense reform the law.

We’d love to hear your ideas about the campaign. Click here to join us on Facebook!

We’re very excited by how quickly this campaign has been coming together, and that is a direct result of the support of thousands of folks just like you.

Thanks for stepping up.

Talk to you soon,


Meet us for dinner — airfare on us

Between trips to Capitol Hill, state legislatures, and Gabby’s work recovering from her injury, we don’t get many chances to just sit down and enjoy a relaxing meal with friends.

And that’s a shame, because we have so much thank you for — you’ve taken our effort to pass gun violence legislation and turned it into a grassroots movement.

We’d love to share our appreciation in person.

Contribute $5 or more today and you’ll be automatically entered to join us and six supporters for a lobster dinner in Portland, Maine on Saturday, July 6th. Choose a friend or family member to bring along, and we’ll take care of your airfare and lodging.

The dinner is part of a Rights and Responsibilities Tour we’re kicking off that will take us from Alaska to North Carolina with a few stops between during the first week of July.

As a bonus, you can be sure that your contribution will go towards our campaign to change our gun laws, or change Congress if they refuse to act.

We’d love to see you while we’re in Maine.

All the best,
Gabby and Mark

the Senate ~~ CONGRESS on break until 7/8/2013 ~~ the House


The Senate will convene at 2:00pm on Monday, July 8, 2013.

  • Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business until 5:00pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.
  • At 5:00pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #90, the nomination of Gregory Alan Phillips, of Wyoming, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit with 30 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Grassley or their designees.
  • Upon the use or yielding back of time (at approximately 5:30pm), there will be a roll call vote on confirmation of the Phillips nomination.


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Watch Live House Floor Proceedings

Last Floor Action:
10:07:36 A.M. -H.R. 2231
On agreeing
to the DeFazio amendment (A008) Roll Call 299 – Recorded vote pending.