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Elizabeth Warren slams 'pro-corporate' Supremes

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to at the AFL-CIO Quadrennial Convention yesterday, excoriating everyone from big business to the right wing's tight grip on the Supreme Court.

The five conservative justices currently sitting on the United States Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in half a century. You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business.

Apparently Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia got the message. Speaking before the Lanier Theological Library, Scalia said, "In order for capitalism to work, in order for it to produce a good and stable society, traditional Christian virtues are essential….Governmentalization of charity affects not just the donor but the recipient. What was once asked as a favor is demanded as entitlement."

The current court has grabbed headlines for its progressive rulings on social issues: overturning the reactionary Defense of Marriage Act and nullifying Prop 8, as well as its conservative rulings like Citizens United and Shelby v. Holder. But the greatest damage done by the court has perhaps been economic.

The Chamber of Commerce business lobby wins 70% of all cases they support before the Supreme Court, and it comes at a cost to workers. In the April 2011 ruling Vance v. Ball State University, the five conservative justices made it more difficult for employees to bring sexual harassment charges against a supervisor. That same year, the court ruled in  AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that employees can sign away their ability to bring forward class action lawsuits. A few months later Wal-Mart v. Dukes barred more than 1 million women who challenged systematic gender discrimination at the low-wage retail giant from joining together in a class action suit.