The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Closing the Courtroom Doors to Ordinary Americans
July 14, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions reveal a growing trend toward limiting Americans’ access to the courts, according to witnesses testifying at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“Especially in these tough economic times, American consumers and employees rely on the law to protect them from fraud and discrimination,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D. Vt. “They rely on the courts to enforce those laws intended to protect them. Unfortunately, these protections are being eroded by what appears to be the most business-friendly Supreme Court in the last 75 years.”
Witnesses at the hearing pointed to decisions in cases such as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion as examples of Court decisions that will negatively impact Americans’ ability to have their day in court. Class action suits have historically been a primary means to ensure civil rights enforcement, but these decisions severely limit people’s ability to challenge corporations for systemic abuse or discrimination.
“These two decisions show a remarkable willingness to close the doors to people seeking redress for substantial injuries. This denial of access means the people who have been harmed are highly unlikely to recover for those harms. And it means that those who caused those injuries will not be held accountable,” said Melissa Hart, associate professor and director of the Byron R. White Center for Study for American Constitutional Law.
Federal courts are beginning to apply these standards in cases before them in dismissing lawsuits involving ordinary Americans whom bring cases seeking to hold big business accountable. In order to ensure that individuals are treated fair and equitably, it is important for individuals to have access to the courts to redress wrongs they have suffered. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights supports an individual’s right to pursue judicial remedies for these wrongs.