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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 01:56 PM
Original message
The Corporate Court System - why Roberts?
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 02:00 PM by bloom
From Mother Jones 11/03 The Making of the Corporate Judiciary

News:How big business is quietly funding a judicial revolution in the nation's courts

...Since 1998, major corporations -- Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and the insurance giant AIG, to name a few -- have spent more than $100 million through front groups to remake courts that have long been a refuge for wronged consumers and employees. By targeting incumbent judges, they have tilted state supreme courts to pro-business majorities and ousted aggressive attorneys general. At the same time, corporate lobbyists have blitzed state legislators with tort-reform proposals, overseeing the passage of new laws in 24 states over the past year alone.

Now, with a sympathetic ear in the White House, corporate America is taking its legal agenda to the federal bench with a behind-the-scenes campaign of high-powered lobbying and interest-group advertising. Pryor is just one of the corporate stars. Several of President Bush's nominees to federal appeals and district courts -- and even White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, a former Texas Supreme Court justice who now selects federal nominees for the president -- owe their careers to the support of the insurance, retail, and energy industries that got them elected on the state level.

The nominees' legal approaches have been nurtured by a string of corporate foundations that fund university programs and ideological groups like the Federalist Society. And their promotion to the federal bench coincides with an ambitious corporate legislative agenda, backed by more than 475 lobbyists, that seeks to force limits on jury awards and move lawsuits out of state courts, where judges historically have favored plaintiffs. In Congress, the House Majority Leader, Rep. Tom DeLay, has formed a working group on "judicial accountability" to push for the approval of the president's nominees and launch investigations of liberal federal judges. "What you have is a wholesale effort to hijack the federal judiciary," says Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and former corporate defense lawyer. "They clearly want to put in a more conservative judiciary and then start stacking the deck by removing more and more cases to the federal courts."<>

...Those familiar with Rove's operation in Texas now see the same strategy at work in the White House's selection of federal judges. In addition to Owen and Pryor, Bush has nominated Ohio Supreme Court Justice Deborah Cook, who rose to prominence on the back of a statewide business campaign, which helped her raise $650,000 for her 2000 re-election. Other nominees have distinguished themselves as lawyers defending the rights and profits of corpo-rations. Carolyn B. Kuhl, who Bush nominated for the 9th Circuit, represented tobacco and gas companies before becoming a California state judge, arguing against employee-discrimination claims and the right of whistleblowers to sue corporations. John Roberts, a Bush nominee who recently won confirmation to the District of Co-lumbia Circuit Court, worked as an attorney to strike down new clean-air rules and filed a brief for the National Mining Association, arguing that federal courts could not stop mountaintop-removal mining in West Virginia. Business groups cheered the appointment of Jeffrey Sutton, a conservative activist, to the 6th Circuit because of his long record of opposing federal powers over the states, including a successful case that voided federal employee-discrimination laws. Another nominee, Victor Wolski, who was confirmed to the Court of Federal Claims, worked for years as an attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, an organization devoted to rolling back the "regulatory state." "Every single job I've taken since college has been ideologically oriented, trying to further my principles," Wolski told a reporter in 1999.<>

...But as with so much in the behind-the-scenes battle for control of the federal judiciary, Wayne's work has escaped public attention. The corporate candidates he represents will reshape America's legal landscape for at least a generation, but their connections remain largely unnoticed. When Owen came before the Judiciary Committee for her own nomination hearing, she faced only a handful of questions about her corporate sponsors or pro-business agenda. The headline in the New York Times the next day read "Debate on Court Nominee Centers on Abortion."



"Another Bush judicial appointee with experience representing the mining industry is John G. Roberts, Jr., a former colleague of George Miller's at the Hogan & Hartson law and lobbying firm. Roberts was one of the co-authors of Millers amicus brief on behalf of the National Mining Associations challenge to the government ban on mountaintop removal. In 2003, Roberts was confirmed to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where earlier this year he ruled against environmentalists who were pushing for more restrictive government regulations of copper smelters--many of whom are members of the National Mining Association that Roberts once represented. As a lobbyist in the 1990s, Roberts worked on behalf of the peanut industry, pushing federal legislation that maintained government subsidies which the GAO estimated cost consumers $500 million a year. Agricultural and mining interests are often involved in regulatory cases that come before the DC Circuit Court where Roberts now sits."
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. Federalist Society agenda
"Courting Disaster"

"...some ultra-conservative Republican-appointed judges are working to challenge the very constitutionality of environmental law. And new Bush nominations to the appellate courts and Supreme Court could provide the majorities needed to achieve that goal.

"The most important long-term issue before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the lower courts, is New Constitutionalism," says Sugameli. This extreme anti-regulatory philosophy, also called New Federalism, has been refined by corporations, right-wing think tanks, and the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. Born in the Reagan era, New Federalism opposes big government, and especially the intrusion of the federal government into state and local public services and economic and regulatory matters, according to the Cato Institute web site.

New Federalism would repudiate a broad interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause, upon which much of federal environmental law is based. Until the 1930s, this clause was used primarily to regulate trade between states. But from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal era to the present day, judges have interpreted the clause as granting Congress the power to regulate business with regard to wage and hour limitations, health and safety and the environment." /
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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes, it is about the Federalist Society, another well-funded
tentacle of the oligarchy

Discussion about it here yesterday for more info, in case anyone is interested

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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Thanks
I expect that if Roberts didn't go through - they would pick another one out of the same hat.

"Others on President Bush's reputed short list include Federalist Society members John Roberts and Michael McConnell, both appellate court justices. Still others on the list have addressed the group, including appellate Judges J. Harvie Wilkinson, Emilio Garza, Edith Hollan Jones and Samuel Alito, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales." /

But even still - there are many issues to bring up in fighting the nomination - to make people more aware of what they are trying to do - taking away various rights. Not only RvW but environmental protections and many other.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. Until we get the corporations under control and out of gov't, we will
only have policies which favor big business.

Which is why we HAVE to fix the election system. Start there and reclaim the nation from the ground up.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I think if the Dems in Congress don't do much to fight this...
to bring up issues at the very least - like they were able to do with the Gonzales confirmation, for instance - that it would be a very bad sign.

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Tommymac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. Amen. nt
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
6. Represented FOX... and opposed efforts to uphold voting rights

"... based on interviews with key players, business is clearly identifying its favorites...

... highly regarded because of their corporate experience are John G. Roberts Jr. and Edith Brown Clement ... Roberts, a former deputy solicitor general for President George H.W. Bush, is a former partner at the Washington office of Hogan & Hartson, where he gained broad litigation experience representing corporations such as Toyota Motor Corp. (TM ) and Fox Broadcasting Co. (FOX ) "The court really doesn't have somebody who has represented the business community," says Glenn G. Lammi, chief counsel of the Washington Legal Foundation.

"For Reagan, opposed a congressional effort (in the wake of the 1980 Supreme Court decision Mobile v. Bolden) to make it easier for minorities to successfully argue that their votes had been diluted under the Voting Rights Act."
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. Pro-corporate, anti-environment

by John in DC - 7/19/2005 08:49:00 PM


Roberts Coauthored Amicus Brief in Support of Mountain Top Removal.
"Another Bush judicial appointee with experience representing the mining industry is John G. Roberts, Jr., a former colleague of George Miller's at the Hogan & Hartson law and lobbying firm. Roberts was one of the co-authors of Miller's amicus brief on behalf of the National Mining Association's challenge to the government ban on mountaintop removal." While serving on the DC. Circuit Court Roberts ruled against environmentalist who were pushing for stricter government regulation of copper smelters."

Roberts' Lobbying Efforts Cost the American People $500 Million a Year.
While working at the law firm of Hogan and Hartson Roberts was registered to lobby for the Peanut industry. In his capacity as the industries lobbyist, Roberts pushed legislation that maintained subsidies whose costs, the GAO estimated, were $500 million a year to consumers.

Roberts Argued that Private Citizens Do Not Have the Right to Sue Over Environmental Regulations.
In 1990 while serving as Deputy Solicitor General during the first Bush administration Roberts argued against a citizen's right to sue over environmental violations. Roberts aregued, in the Supreme Court, that citizens did not have the right to sue over environmental violations unless they were directly affected by those violations.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
8. "The worst kind of wingnut"
"This is all you need to know about Bushs Supreme Court nominee. From a report published by the Alliance for Justice when Bush picked Roberts for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2003:

Roberts has a record of hostility to the rights of women and minorities. He has also taken controversial positions in favor of weakening the separation of church and state and limiting the role of federal courts in protecting the environment. The Alliance for Justice opposes his nomination to the D.C. Circuit.

While working under Presidents Reagan and Bush, Mr. Roberts supported a hard-line, anti-civil rights policy that opposed affirmative action, would have made it nearly impossible for minorities to prove a violation of the Voting Rights Act and would have resegregated Americas public schools. He also took strongly anti-choice positions in two Supreme Court cases, one that severely resticted the ability of poor women to gain information about abortion services, and another that took away a key means for women and clinics to combat anti-abortion zealots.

NARAL Pro-Choice America spells out Roberts position on Roe v. Wade:

As Deputy Solicitor Roberts argued in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court (in a case that did not implicate Roe v. Wade) that e continue to believe that Roewas wrongly decided and should be overruled he Courts conclusion in Roethat there is a fundamental right to an abortion finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
9. Lobbying
Registered Lobbyists Appointed to Bush's Transition Teams and Their Activity

Justice John Roberts
Hogan & Hartson

"In case there was any doubt that lobbying Congress and the administration is big business, now comes "the Influence 50," the law firms and lobby shops that brought in the most lobbying bucks in 2004.

At the top of the Influence 50, a report of Influence, the online publication of Legal Times about the lobby biz, is the law firm of Patton Boggs, at $65.8 million in gross lobbying revenue, up 13 percent from 2003 ($58 million).

The next three on the list are also law firms: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, $64.2 million; Hogan & Hartson, $51.6 million; and DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, $42.4 million. No. 5 is the lobby shop Cassidy & Associates, at $28.9 million."

John Roberts Political Activity

Executive Committee, DC Lawyers for Bush-Quayle '88
Member, Lawyers for Bush-Cheney
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
10. "Roberts role in Bush recount team "critical"

Role in 2000 recount

"In the aftermath of the disputed 2000 presidential election, Judge Roberts played a key, if quiet, role in the Florida recount.

Although his name did not appear on the briefs, three sources who were personally aware of Judge Roberts' role said he gave Republican Gov. Jeb Bush critical advice on how the Florida Legislature could constitutionally name George W. Bush the winner at a time when Republicans feared that if the recount were to continue the courts might force a different choice."
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
11. "Will Roberts Defend Religious Liberty?"
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 09:32 PM by bloom
"While everyone is speculating on abortion and other hot-button social issues, we can be sure his views and votes on religious liberty will change the court.

What will he do? During his tenure as a federal appellate judge for the past two years, Judge Roberts has not had the opportunity to rule squarely on a religious liberty case. But during a previous post, as Principal Deputy Solicitor General in President George H.W. Bushs administration, Roberts was involved in two significant cases--Lee v. Weisman in 1992 and Mergens v. Westside Community School District in 1990. In each of these cases, although the federal government was not a litigant in the case, the Department of Justice, through the Solicitor Generals office, engaged in the standard practice of filing friend of the court briefs in support of one the parties to the case. In Weisman and in Mergens, Roberts was an author of these briefs.

While Roberts wrote the briefs as an attorney representing a clientas opposed to an academic law-review article expounding his own viewsthe liberal group People for the American Way has called the Weisman brief, and Roberts, radical. A white paper published on the groups website said Roberts brief went far beyond the case at hand and, had its position been adopted by the court, it would have resulted in public school students being subjected to religious coercion.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
13. Roberts Wife Law Firm Targets Iraq Reconstruction

"Also, the firm in which she is a partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, emphasizes among other things its expertise in facilitating business in Iraq:

"We offer one-stop service to clients pursuing projects in Iraq, from solicitation and RFP counseling to working with key government and multilateral agencies, and from initially penetrating the Iraqi marketplace to final project implementation. Our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their fields, and at the cutting-edge in a variety of disciplines relevant to Iraq reconstruction. A number have served in senior government positions in key agenciesincluding the Departments of Transportation, Navy, Justice and Commerce, as well as the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank."<>

Perhaps it will surprise few people that Pillsbury Winthrop, where Ms. Roberts is a partner, is offering its services for a newly privatized Iraq:

"Pillsbury's Iraq Reconstruction Practice is mobilized to offer clients strategic legal advice in their postwar reconstruction efforts. Comprised of lawyers from several offices and backgrounds with relevant legal, industry and regional experience, the team is well poised to support virtually every endeavor in post-war Iraq, including:
"Infrastructure development, construction and procurement
Intellectual property, technology and outsourcing services . . . "


Meanwhile, her husband's numerous investments also include Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. One wonders whether a Justice Roberts would have to recuse himself from any cases involving Iraq, including cases about profiteering; procedure regarding "detainees" rounded up in Iraq; Iraq contract fraud; and/or regulatory or other violations by satellite systems companies that hired his wife's firm or his wife herself."
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
14. Career highlights:
Edited on Thu Jul-21-05 12:20 PM by bloom
After graduation, Roberts became a law clerk for Henry Friendly on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and held this post until the following year. From 1980 to 1981, he was a law clerk to then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist on the Supreme Court. If he is confirmed before the retirement of Rehnquist, he will be the first Supreme Court Justice to serve concurrently with a justice for whom he previously clerked.

From 1981 to 1982, Roberts was a Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith under President Ronald Reagan at the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1982, Roberts became the Associate Counsel to the President under Fred Fielding, and held this post until 1986.

Roberts entered private practice in 1986 as an associate at the Washington, D.C.-based Hogan & Hartson law firm, but left to serve under President George H.W. Bush in the Department of Justice from 1989 to 1993 as Deputy Solicitor General. In this capacity, he argued 39 cases for the government before the Supreme Court, winning 25.

In 1992, Bush nominated Roberts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but he was not confirmed; no Senate vote was held. Roberts returned to Hogan & Hartson as a partner in 1993 after Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton in the1992 presidential election, and became the head of the firm's appellate practice. He represented 19 states in United States v. Microsoft.

George W. Bush nominated Roberts to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on May 9, 2001, but the nomination along with 29 othersfailed to make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was renominated onJanuary 7, 2003, to replace James L. Buckley. The U.S. Senate confirmed Roberts by voice vote on May 8, and he received his commission on June 2, 2003. Some Democrats had objected to Roberts's nomination; during the nomination hearing, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts expressed concern and Senator Charles Schumer ofNew York criticized Roberts for declining to cite court rulings with which he disagreed. .

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