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September 26, 2022

Better Markets Supreme Court Report Shows Decisions Affect Americans’ Wallets and Threaten Financial Protection Rules

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Stephen Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist, released the following statement on the publication of a new Better Markets report, The Supreme Court’s Decisions That Affect Americans’ Financial Lives & The Growing Threat to the Administrative State:

“The Supreme Court decides cases every year that have a profound impact on the economic and financial well-being of every American.  That’s why 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 and pay attention to the Supreme Court’s decisions that relate to those topics.  While those decisions tend to be overshadowed by the Court’s more headline-grabbing pronouncements on controversial social policy questions, the Court’s importance to kitchen table issues cannot be overstated and should not be overlooked.

“The last term, discussed in the Report we are releasing today, was eventful to say the least.  For example, in Hughes, the Court affirmed the duty of retirement plan administrators to monitor investment options and eliminate those that are overpriced, thus protecting workers’ hard-earned retirement savings.  On the other hand, as suggested by West Virginia v. EPA, the conservative Justices appear determined to undermine agencies that protect the health, safety and welfare of the American people. Those agencies, for many decades, have protected the American public from environmental pollution, dangerous products, and predatory financial firms.  Only time will tell how much damage those conservative Justices and West Virginia v. EPAinflict, but meanwhile, the regulatory agencies must continue to use the broad authority Congress gave them to enact rules critical to protecting the public, and when necessary, defend those rules vigorously in court.

“The upcoming term also promises to be significant in the financial arena because the Court will tackle issues related to the SEC’s investor protection enforcement practices, the scope of the monetary penalty provisions in the Bank Secrecy Act, and the question of “standing,” which addresses the sort of injury litigants—including the states—must claim before they are even entitled to pursue their cases in federal court. And based on the many pending requests for Court review, we expect the Court to weigh in on multiple disputes over mandatory arbitration.  All of these forthcoming decisions will have enormous consequences for tens of millions of Americans, including in particular investors who so often find themselves without meaningful recourse for financial fraud when they are forced into dark, biased, and fundamentally unfair arbitration proceedings.”

You can find the full report here.

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded 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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