Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Supreme Court , Inc." in Numbers

Reading this made me feel exactly the way I felt after seeing No Country for Old Men, which won Best Pic: The bad guys are getting away with murder. So what? Here's a little snippet from a review of Alterman's new book, Why We're Liberals, by Scott McLemee who serves on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.
Immanuel Kant (a liberal) said the three questions facing philosophy were “What can I know?” “What ought I to do?” and “What can I hope for?” Politics is philosophy continued by other means, so these puzzlers still apply.

Well, we know, from the polling data, that the right wing’s claim to speak for the majority of American opinion is untrue. But Alterman never really addresses what liberals (or progressives, or whatever) ought to do. Nor, subtitle notwithstanding, does he ever address what one might reasonably hope for in the post-Bush world.

Back on topic, quoting Rosen, "exactly how successful has the Chamber of Commerce been at the Supreme Court? Although the court is currently accepting less than 2 percent of the 10,000 petitions it receives each year, the Chamber of Commerce’s petitions between 2004 and 2007 were granted at a rate of 26 percent, according to Scotusblog. And persuading the Supreme Court to hear a case is more than half the battle: Richard Lazarus, a law professor at Georgetown who also represents environmental clients before the court, recently ran the numbers and found that the court reverses the lower court in 65 percent of the cases it agrees to hear; and when the petitioner is represented by the elite Supreme Court advocates routinely hired by the chamber, the success rate rises to 75 percent."

Talking public safety, businesses will surely be encouraged to keep unsafe products on the shelf longer, and be slower to make improvements. 'By and large, the Supreme Court defers to agencies that refuse to regulate public health and safety. “The industry has a lot of money, and they can routinely hire the biggest names in the biggest firms, while we’re doing it on our own,” Zieve, of Public Citizen, says. “We don’t charge anything — we’re free. It didn’t cost $250,000 to get us to write the brief.”'

Jeffrey Rosen, NYT Magazine


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