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October 22, 2021

Better Markets’ Look at the U.S. Supreme Court, As It Decides Cases Affecting the Financial Lives of Every American

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Stephen Hall, Better Markets Legal Director and Securities Specialist, released the following statement on the publication of a new Better Markets report, THE SUPREME COURT’S 2021-2022 TERM:  A Review of the Cases Affecting Every American’s Financial Well-Being; A Look Back At Justice Kavanaugh’s Track Record; And An Update On The Court’s Transparency Challenges:

“Every October, the Supreme Court begins a new term presenting not just high-profile social policy questions but also financial and economic issues that affect the financial well-being of all Americans.  Those cases help determine how well we can meet our basic life needs, establish and maintain a decent standard of living, and pursue the American Dream without being victimized by financial predators.

“Last term, the Court took a vital enforcement tool—restitution—out of the hands of the Federal Trade Commission; opened the door for banks to lie to the public and then defend themselves by arguing that their deceptions were too general to matter; and limited Congress’s ability to create private rights of actions for violations of consumer protections laws.  And this term, they’ll decide whether a whistleblower who got nothing from an arbitration panel can challenge that decision in a state court; whether there will be a fresh assault on the administrative agencies we rely on for so many protections; and whether retirement savers will have their day in court against a retirement plan fiduciary who cost the participants money by offering overpriced and underperforming investments.

“In our report, we review all of these cases in detail.  In addition, because the Court’s decisions hinge so vitally on the Justices, we look back at Justice Kavanaugh’s three-year record.   The Report confirms fears that he would favor limiting the independence of regulatory agencies, forcing consumers into mandatory arbitration, and shutting off access to the federal courts with restrictive standing requirements. And we offer some updates on the transparency challenges the Court is facing, as the shadow docket draws increasing criticism for what many regard as its rushed and poorly reasoned decisions on matters of enormous consequence.

“The bottom line is that anyone who uses a financial product or service—a checking account, credit card, mortgage, student loan, car loan, retirement plan, college savings fund, or brokerage account—should care about the Supreme Court’s decisions and operations and should spend some time with this Better Markets report.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.

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