In a speech at the annual AFL-CIO convention on Sunday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called the United States Supreme Court a right-wing support group that bows to the interests of corporate America, Politico reports.
Warren, the highest-profile national Democrat scheduled to speak during the convention, warned union members of a “corporate capture of the federal courts” while condemning the Court as an tool of the wealthy that regularly sides with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Warren backed up her claim with the findings of an academic study that called the current Supreme Court’s five conservative-leaning justices among 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,” Warren said.
Warren’s view was supported earlier in the day by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who told reporters the Supreme Court is “the best champion of corporate America” and raised the prospect of a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s rulings against campaign finance regulation.
“It may take a constitutional amendment, because this Supreme Court, as currently constituted, equates money with free speech,” Trumka said.
Many believe Warren and Trumka voiced aloud what most members of the Democratic Party are thinking: that a minor change in the balance of power on the Supreme Court could shift the balance sharply in Democrats’ favor, or create a more conservative majority that would have struck down the narrowly upheld Affordable Care Act, and other liberal legislation in the future.
Warren saved some of her sharpest criticism for the financial services industry, touting the importance of the Dodd-Frank banking regulation law and calling for new separation between commercial and investment banking.
“The big banks and their army of lobbyists have fought every step of the way to delay, water down, block, or strike down regulations,” Warren said.
“When a new approach is proposed – like my bill with John McCain, Angus King, and Maria Cantwell to bring back Glass-Steagall – you know what happens – they throw everything they’ve got against it.”
Warren amped up the gathering when she voiced her distrust of upcoming trade deals – debates that may see big labor and liberal members of the Senate going head-to-head the Obama administration.
“Wall Street, pharmaceuticals, telecom, big polluters and outsourcers are all salivating at the chance to rig upcoming trade deals in their favor,” Warren said.
“I’ve heard people actually say that [trade deals] have to be secret because if the American people knew what was going on, they would be opposed.
I believe that if people would be opposed to a particular trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not happen.”
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