Missed This About The SCOTUS…

in all the Casey Anthony fracas.

Hat-tip to Bad Lawyer, an article by a prominent law school dean that affirms much of the verbiage on this blog.  I know, I know:  it’s weak and womanish to need “validation”.  Still, I can’t be a pillar of strength in my fortress of solitude all the time.

But in case after case in the just-completed term, the court, usually in 5-4 decisions with the conservatives in the majority, denied access to the courts.

Consider just a few of the examples:

• The court ruled that patients who suffer devastating injuries from generic prescription drugs cannot sue the manufacturers for failing to provide adequate warnings even when drug companies making the non-generic versions of the same drugs can be sued on the same basis.

• The court held that standard clauses in consumer contracts calling for arbitration preclude consumers from joining class-action suits even when the effect almost surely would be that no individual lawsuits would be filed because the amount involved was too small.

• The court decided that employees who claim to be victims of sex discrimination cannot sue in class actions when the employer has a policy that prohibits discrimination.

• The court concluded that a man who spent 18 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit could not sue the prosecutors who hid key evidence.

• The court said that taxpayers cannot bring an action in federal court arguing that a state impermissibly established religion by giving tax credits that go almost entirely to religious schools.

• The court held that prisoners convicted in state court cannot obtain a hearing in federal court even when they have new evidence that calls into question their convictions — because of matters such as ineffective defense counsel or failure of prosecutors to turn over evidence — notwithstanding a federal statute that expressly authorizes such hearings.

Read the whole thing here.

I like this part:

One way of interpreting these decisions, and others like them, is that the conservative justices are simply pro-business and pro-prosecutor and are denying access to the courts to consumers, employees and criminal defendants. That certainly explains the rulings.

The good professor goes on to explain that there’s something else “more disturbing” at work.  Really?  What’s more disturbing than that the SCOTUS obviously plays favorites to those already heavily favored and is helping to rig the entire system to do the same?

And I have to ask:  did the good professor just notice this trend, that every practitioner has been able to discern for the last, oh, 20 years or so?

Not to mention this.  And this.  And this.



Filed under Judicial lying/cheating, wrongful convictions

3 responses to “Missed This About The SCOTUS…

  1. The one that really upsets me as a person, citizen, and lawyer is the decision that the man who spent 18 years in prison could not sue the prosecutors who committed some of the worst misconduct I have ever seen – and I used to be a prosecutor! Things like this are what made me become a defense attorney.


    Joe Patituce


    • Yes, Connick v. Thompson. But I think I pointed out in some of those other linked posts that this is a trend at the SCOTUS and has been for more than 30 years: basically, screw the little guy, don’t let him get his day in court. The lower courts, state and federal, who never paid much attention to that 4th amendment stuff from the 1960’s were all too happy to climb aboard with the screw the little guy trend.

      And we wind up where we are now. Big establishment litigants are favored across the board, and individuals don’t count. It’s terrible that courts are that way. Why even have them?


      • Atticus,

        I agree – the deference that the government gives itself (the courts are an arm of the government) sometimes goes a lot too far for my tastes. I understand wanting to be hard on crime – some crimes are utterly disgusting. However, stripping away rights in exchange for “security” is something that can get quite scary.


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