Supreme Court Term In Review Part IV: The Data

The numbers are now in on the just-completed Supreme Court term, and the Roberts Court remains the most pro-corporate Supreme Court in recent memory. Despite a slight downtick in corporate America’s win rate from the previous term, the Chamber of Commerce continues to perform better under Chief Justice Roberts than it did under either of his two conservative predecessors:

The Supreme Court’s October 2009 Term, featuring the Court’s blockbuster ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and producing an overall 81% success rate (13 wins in 16 cases) for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focused a national spotlight on the business rulings of the Roberts Court. The Court’s just-concluded October 2010 Term featured even more cases of considerable importance to business interests and may ultimately prove just as momentous. While the Chamber’s success rate dipped to 57% (12 wins in 21 cases), the Chamber prevailed in the term’s biggest cases and all but one of the cases split the Court along ideological lines. Overall, the Chamber has prevailed in 65% of its cases before the Roberts Court, a figure that is still significantly higher than the Chamber’s success rate of 56% in our study of the Rehnquist Court, and dramatically higher than its success rate in our study of the Burger Court, when the Chamber only won 43% of its cases.


Corporate America’s big wins this term include another big victory for corporate money in elections, a license to lie for Wall Street, two decisions effectively eliminating access to class action suits for millions of Americans, lawsuit immunity for generic drug manufacturers, and a green light for health data mining by drug companies.