Thursday, June 27, 2013

High court is corporate America's best friend

The Supreme Court means business when it issues a decision. Big business, that is.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce during the just-ended court session won more cases than ever, prevailing in 13 of the 16 appeals in which it took a position. The latest examples came this week when the nation's top corporate lobbying group won three cases that shield big business from existing law.

Two of the cases made it easier for companies to strike back at workers who allege they are victims of discrimination. The other granted legal immunity to a generic drug manufacturer whose product reportedly caused severe burns to a patient's body.

In one instance, the high court went even further than the government officials who initially put the policy in place. Per Think Progress:
Notably the Court deferred so completely to the Chamber [this week] that it adopted a harsh rule limiting sexual and racial harassment claims even though the attorney arguing that case on behalf of the defendant — a former Solicitor General under George W. Bush — would not endorse the rule himself while he was arguing the case. So the five conservative justices sided with the Chamber even though no party before the Court agreed with the Chamber’s position.
That is not good news for the nation's workers. Fortunately, not everyone involved in the lawmaking process has it out for us. Rep. Alan Grayson introduced legislation that would expand the legal remedies available to non-union workers who are punished for workplace activism. Beyond seeking redress from the National Labor Relations Board, it would allow most employees to sue their boss in civil court for retaliating, and the chance to seek an injunction to swiftly reverse the alleged retaliation.

Sadly there is little chance the legislation will be taking up during the current Congress. The House Republican leadership ensures it. But we hail policymakers who take a stand on behalf of middle-class families. And we live to fight another day.