Corporate Lobbyists Successfully Got Case Decided By Supreme Court

( This month, the Supreme Court attacked workers’ rights, demonstrating how ready it is to serve corporate interests.

On October 17, the Supreme Court ordered a lower court to review a labor dispute that had previously been resolved in the workers’ favor at the request of a powerful corporate lobbying group.

In an unsigned opinion, the justices ruled that a prior decision in favor of employees who sought to sue their employer, the massive Domino’s pizza delivery company, must be overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In an amicus briefing, sometimes known as a “friend of the court” briefing, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce requested that the Supreme Court decide the case.

Amicus briefs are submitted in cases by third parties who have a stake in the resolution and are frequently used by lobbying organizations and business groupings to sway judges. The Chamber of Commerce’s submission was the sole amicus brief made in Domino’s case.

In the case of Domino’s Pizza, LLC. v. Carmona, there is a disagreement regarding the enforceability of arbitration clauses in employment contracts that bar employees from suing their employers for alleged violations of labor laws. Months before the Supreme Court’s decision in Southwest Airlines v. Saxon, which upheld forced arbitration, in June 2022, the Ninth Circuit decided in favor of the Domino’s workers in December 2021.

The federal legislation on arbitration’s interstate commerce exception, which had preserved certain workers’ access to the courts and shielded them from being coerced into private arbitration panels, was narrowed by the Supreme Court in the Saxon case. Despite the interstate nature of its operations, the justices unanimously decided that the exemption should only apply to Southwest employees who “physically load and unload cargo on and off airplanes frequently” and not to all employees of the commercial airlines.

The Chamber of Commerce has spent more than $1.8 billion on lobbying since 1998, more than the second-largest lobbying group. Five of the 11 in-house litigators at the CLC currently work as clerks for conservative Supreme Court Justices.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce submitted 100 more Supreme Court amicus briefs than any other organization between 2005 and 2016, according to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

The organization is “Exhibit A for why strong adjustments are needed to make existing laws effective and equitable,” Whitehouse said.