Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Too big to sue

That is essentially what the Supreme Court's Wal-Mart ruling means.

Class action lawsuits have traditionally been the vehicle for individuals to seek justice from large corporations. It allowed these individuals to pool their resources in order to achieve the same level of justice as the corporation. This was the method that was used to counteract a corporation's lawsuit war chest, with which they could buy their way out of a lawsuit with an army of lawyers and endless appeals. The class action lawsuit leveled the playing field.

But the Supreme Court ruling this week means that many corporations are just too big to sue. Since large groups of people are now not allowed to pool their resources due to the vague "glue rule" advanced by Antonin Scalia, the only avenue left for suing these corporations is via small groups or individuals. And of course, when going up against small groups or individuals, a large corporation has all the advantages that money can buy.

Many lawyers are simply not going to take such cases any more, advising their client that they can't win. Thus justice will be denied, over and again. Congress and the White House could work to change this setback for Americans through either legislation or even constitutional amendment, but somehow I doubt they will. After all, they don't want to displease their corporate masters, especially after last year's Citizens United ruling (and didn't Obama make some vague promise about doing something about that atrocity).

We no longer live under the rule of law, but rather under the rule of corporations. That's fascism, folks. Or as Benito Mussolini* pointed out, more properly called corporatism.

What, if anything, should we the people do about that?

Do you still have hope that our elected officials will actually make the necessary changes? I don't.

A stronger labor movement would be a good thing towards this end. But the unions have been dying for decades now, and the corporations and the traditional media are busy putting the final nails in their coffins even as I blog.

Frankly I think that the only option left is the one to which the people of France resorted in 1789. I'm just not certain that I will live to see it. It's also quite likely that if a populist uprising like that occurred it would be led from the extreme Right, such as the TeaBags (they have most of the guns, after all). Which would move the country still further right. Toward more theocracy and more corporatism, without a doubt. With a bit of idiocracy thrown in.

But perhaps we could make a start in the not-right-but-certainly-proper direction by impeaching Clarence Thomas. As former US Senator John Blutarsky famously said: "Who's with me?!"

 *Some disagree that Mussolini actually said this.

Related reading:

Beyond the Supreme Court: Other Strategies Needed to Fight Discrimination at Wal-Mart (and Other Corporations)


Greg said...

Have you read the ruling? That is not what it says or what it means.

The problem was that you had an unmanageably large class of plaintiffs with a wide variety of different circumstances, which made the group unsuitable for consideration as a class. Indeed, it would have been impossible to present all the different permutations and combinations -- much less refute them -- in a trial.

Matt Bramanti said...

It looks like you copy-pasted this from someone else's DU post.