While addressing the ways corporations use mandatory arbitration clauses to stifle employees and consumers, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., questioned Judge Neil Gorsuch during his Senate hearings today about how arbitration has made it more difficult for people to have their cases heard before a court.
Franken, who noted how mandatory arbitration clauses have prevented people—including soldiers who had their properties unlawfully foreclosed upon while serving overseas and women who want to come forward with accusations of sexual harassment at work—from seeking justice in court, pointed out that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts has expanded the use of such clauses.
The Minnesota Democrat said that the Roberts Court, frequently in 5-4 decisions where the GOP-appointed justices rule in the majority, has “closed the jury to employees and to customers.”
“That’s why there’s so much at stake here,” he said. “As Sen. [Sheldon] Whitehouse has demonstrated, what we’re worried about is another 5-4 Roberts Court making one decision after another that hurts workers and employees, that hurts consumers. And you said earlier that there are no Democratic judges, there are no Republican judges; if that’s the case, what was Merrick Garland about? That’s what it was about.”
Franken added that in a “core group of cases,” the Roberts Court has “continually ruled in favor of corporations and against workers and consumers.” He said the Senate must consider whether Gorsuch’s nomination will continue “this pro-corporate bias and of this bias towards big money” in politics, “where the weight shifts against the little guy and for the big guy—and this election was supposed to be about the little guy.”