June 29, 2007

Get SCOTUS Clerks Open for Business

by PG

Business Week says,

Consider this: Out of 15 cases in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed friend-of-the-court briefs, presenting the views of its corporate members, the chamber won 13 -- the chamber's highest winning percentage in its 30-year history. Indeed, the court's 2006-07 term, drawing to a close this month, has been a banner year for business, with important victories in areas ranging from antitrust and banking to shareholder suits and punitive damages.
Despite the political lesson Volokh Conspirator Stuart Benajmin tries to draw from Leegin, the end-of-term issued opinions, which are supposed to be for the most contentious cases, have been fairly peaceful with regard to business. Tellabs had only a Stevens dissent; Credit Suisse only a Thomas dissent; the freakishly narrow-reading Long Island Care decision was unanimous, as were Atlantic Research Corp and Beck; Safeco Insurance was unanimous for the result; and what might be perceived as a loss to business but a gain to common sense, Watson v. Philip Morris, also was unanimous. I would say that Roberts actually may have inclined to accept more business cases in order to minimize intra-court fighting except on issues he deemed vital to conservatives -- abortion, anti-abortion speech and race-conscious government action. BW continues,
The true sea change brought about by the Roberts court stems from its willingness to take business cases for review. The group presided over by his predecessor, William H. Rehnquist, simply wasn't interested, instead favoring cases involving criminal law, school prayer, or other matters involving fundamental constitutional rights. "There was a period there toward the end of the Rehnquist years when you couldn't buy an antitrust or securities case onto the docket to save your life," says Carter G. Phillips, an appellate specialist Sidley Austin in Washington who has argued before the Supreme Court dozens of times.
Hopefully the Roberts Court's inclination to take business cases will be coupled with an inclination to take business clerks, i.e. law school graduates who have taken bankruptcy, antitrust, securities, tax and advanced courses in business organizations, and better yet, applicants who have experience as academics or practitioners in these areas. This isn't self-promotion; I'm an antitrust geek but decidedly not a general business one.

June 29, 2007 06:26 PM | TrackBack
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