Supreme Court: No More Class-Action Lawsuits?

Supreme Court
Ever visited the Supreme Court? It's laid out strangely like the ancient Biblical Tabernacle.

Surprise surprise, another blatant display of the government choosing to support the mega-corporation rather than the little guy.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday to allow employers to force workers to waive their right to participate in a class-action lawsuit as a condition of hiring. What this means is that employers can now legally require employees to sign what are called “mandatory arbitration clauses.”

In other words, before you even start working somewhere, you may be forced to waive your legal right to join with other employees in suing the business if they really dick you over.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, we are moving one step closer to a world in which a company can do just about anything to its employees and get away with it. “Arbitration” is just a fancy word for the idea that a company being sued by a lot of people at once will get to send the case to a mediator of its choice.

In arbitration, the company almost always comes out on top, and the claimants who are making their case usually get next to nothing.

Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the ruling in this case, argued that it’s not the job of the courts to decide the “respective merits of class-action and private arbitration as means of enforcing the law”.

In typical Gorsuch fashion, he basically threw up his hands and said “Not my problem! Not my job! Mmm, no no no! Not for Ol’ Gorsey! Let those poor bastards try to get Congress to work this one out.”

But, of course, Congress won’t work this one out. (News flash: they never do!) And the American people are probably getting a little sick of the old “Not my problem, not my job!” defense from the Conservative justices on the Court.

Because at the end of the day, it IS the job of the Court to interpret the law as it stands. Regardless of the outcome of their decision, it IS their responsibility to make definitive statements about the laws brought before them. In this case, two laws were in conflict: the National Labor Relations Act which gives employees the right to organize, and the Federal Arbitration Act which gives employers to the right to settle by arbitration.

When two laws are in conflict, it is obviously the job of the Court to saw which law is going to take precedence, and in what circumstances. That has always been a part of the Court’s responsibility.

This nonsensical “I wash my hands of it” stance that the Court keeps taking is really just a way to make a controversial, anti-common-man decision without having to deal with the full fallout of saying on the record: “Yeah, we’re pretty okay with big companies giving their employees the shaft.”

It’s cowardly beyond words. If the Justices on the Court really are okay with the status quo, they should have to make arguments in its favor. If they don’t want to (possibly because they can’t think of any that won’t get them tarred and feathered by an angry mob), maybe they shouldn’t have taken the job in the first place.

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