Slate: Operating Instructions

The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law.

-By Dahlia Lithwick

July 1, 2011- Depending on how you count "big cases," the Supreme Court has just finished off either a great (according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) or spectacularly great (according to a new study by the Constitutional Accountability Center) term for big business. The measure of success here isn't just the win-loss record of the Chamber of Commerce, although that's certainly part of the story. Nor is it news that—in keeping with a recent trend—the court is systematically closing the courthouse doors to everyday litigants, though that's a tale that always bears retelling. The reason the Roberts Court has proven to be Christmas in July for big business is this: Slowly but surely, the Supreme Court is giving corporate America a handbook on how to engage in misconduct. In case after case, it seems big companies are being given the playbook on how to win even bigger the next time. 

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Congressman Presses House Judiciary Leaders on Supreme Court Ethics, Noting Recent Gifts to Justice Clarence Thomas

American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

June 23, 2011– Rep. Chris Murphy has urged leaders of the House Judiciary Committee to conduct a hearing consider a measure that “would end the Supreme Court’s immunity to judicial ethics laws,” Think Progress’s Ian Millhiser reports.

Murphy’s letter follows a recent report in The New York Times about Justice Clarence Thomas’s connections to Harlan Crow, “a major contributor to conservative causes,” including allegedly providing $500,000 to Thomas’s wife, Virginia, to launch a Tea Party group that worked to scuttle the landmark health care reform law. Thomas, The Times reported, has received other gifts from Crow, who has also donated $175,000 to a museum being constructed in the justice’s birthplace of Pin Point, Ga., which undoubtedly celebrate Thomas.

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Think Progress: Rep. Chris Murphy: Thomas Gift Scandal ‘Undermine[s] The Integrity of The Entire Judiciary’

-By Ian Millhiser

June 23, 2011- ThinkProgress has obtained a draft letter Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) circulated this morning to his fellow members of Congress asking the House Judiciary Committee’s leadership to hold a hearing on the Supreme Court Transparency and Disclosure Act, a bill that will end the Supreme Court’s immunity to judicial ethics laws. As Murphy’s letter explains, his bill addresses the bevy of recently revealed ethics scandals involving members of the Supreme Court, including the Clarence Thomas gifting scandal: 

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NYT Editorial: Drowning in Campaign Cash

October 30, 2010: Shrill political attacks have saturated the airwaves for months, but behind them is the real problem of this demoralizing election: the dark flow of dollars, often secretly provided by donors with very special interests.

The amount is staggering: Nearly $4 billion is likely to be spent once the final figures are in, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, far more than in the 2006 midterms, which cost $2.85 billion. It could even eclipse the $4.14 billion spent in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Much of this is a direct creation of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., which has cut away nearly all campaign finance restrictions.

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Washington Post: Roberts Court rulings on campaign finance reveal shifting makeup, forceful role

October 31, 2010- Sometimes, it takes years to see the impact of a Supreme Court decision on American life, and sometimes a ruling lands with an explosion.

The Roberts Court's game-changing decisions on campaign finance reform have been both.

Almost from the moment Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the bench five years ago, the court's conservatives have acted systematically on their deep skepticism of campaign spending restrictions. They have repeatedly questioned the ability of Congress to regulate the role of wealth and special interest involvement in elections without offending the First Amendment guarantee of unfettered political speech.

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