Saturday, January 26, 2008

Supreme Injustice

"In the latest of a series of victories for Wall Street, the Supreme Court sharply limited the ability of shareholders defrauded by a company to sue other parties, including advisers, lawyers and accountants. ... Wall Street has successfully argued that Congress intended only the [SEC] to police fraud, not to open the door to lawsuits by private shareholders. ... The SEC took the position that federal law permits private lawsuits against third parties. ... Stoneridge also sued Motorola Inc. and Scientific-Atlanta, now a unit of Cisco Systems Inc. Both vendors agreed to charge artificially high prices for cable boxes they sold to Charter. They used the extra money to 'buy' advertising from Charter, money which Charter used to inflate its bottom line ", WSJ, 16 January 2008.

"When did protecting big, fraudulent business enterprises become the hallmark of conservative thought, or was it ever thus? ... Writing for the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy said Charter didn't need to collude with the other two companies in order to defraud its accountants and investors. If that were the case, Charter would not have engaged in the charade, taking the chance that one of the third parties would blow the whistle", Houston Chronicle, 18 January 2008.

"They're basically providing escape routes for people who are going to be pursuing their own game at the expense of investors,' said Stephen Arbogast, a finance professor at the University of Houston. ... The box makers can't be held accountable because the 'deceptive acts were not communicated to the public'. That, of course, in the nature of deceptive acts. They're not deceptive if you tell everyone about them", Loren Steffy (LS) at the Houston Chronicle, 18 January 2008.

I predicted the Stoneridge votes of seven of the eight voting Supremes, only Antonin Scalia surprised me. This ruling is a DISGRACE. If it comes to it, I hope President Hillary has Congress impeach these black-robed hooligans. Stoneridge flies in the face of 250 years of common law and prior Supreme Court rulings like: Pinkerton v. US, 90 LEd 1489, (1946) which upheld the concept of co-conspirator liability. This is basic, it's in Torts, 4th Edition, 1984, Section 46, by Prosser; literally, it's hornbook law. I am mortified. The "Crits" are right, "law" serves the interests of the ruling class. "Pretty Boy Roberts" pays off for the plutocrats like a "fixed" slot machine. Shame on these gangsters in black robes. Harvard Law Review (HLR), big deal. I remember reading a 1959 HLR article on conspiratorial liability. What don't the Supremes understand? Way to go LS.

This case is such a disgrace. Why weren't all the parties involved in the overbilling scheme indicted under the federal mail and wire fraud statutes, 18 USC 1341 and 1343?

Let's look at the "Supreme Five" who voted for Stoneridge:

Antonin Scalia, Harvard Law Review.
Anthony Kennedy, Harvard Law School.
John Roberts, Harvard Law School, Magna Cum Laude.
Clarence Thomas, Yale Law School.
Samuel Alito, Yale Law Journal.

Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, explained the ruling on 88.7 FM radio this way: If a person plans a bank robbery and drives the getaway car, he cannot be sued in tort by the bank. Why? He never went into the bank and no teller ever saw him. So? Under the felony-murder rule and Pinkerton, if one of the four robbers in the bank killed someone, the getaway driver could be charged with murder, but the Supremes say not sued in civil court for tort damages. Amazing. This is: ALICE IN WONDERLAND law! This is the worst decision by the Supremes since Kelo. See my 1 September, 9 and 17 October and 9 November 2007 posts on Stoneridge.

Upon hearing the Supreme's ruling in Worcester v. State of Georgia, 8 LEd 483 (1832), President Andrew Jackson (AJ) is supposed to have said, "Justice Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it". Where is an AJ today? Kennedy's opinion is crazy. To believe it, you would have to believe no conspiracy could take place for fear a conspirator would "rat" on his fellows! Who in his right mind could believe this?

Here we have peasants like Joseph K in Franz Kafka's Before the Law, waiting for the Law and never being admitted to it. Supremes, you should be ashamed of yourselves.


Anonymous said...

These men are shameless,with the possible exception of Clarence Thomas who has alluded publicly to his lack of capacity to Be a Justice of this court,so he at least can be embarassed by his own behavior at times.We certainly live in interesting times.I believe we are witnessing the systemict. failure of our society.Thank God for the bill of rights! oh,wai

Independent Accountant said...

The five justices who voted for Stoneridge are not lacking in intellect. Even Thomas can understand a basic tort issue. You can resolve the question by reading the Restatement of the Law, a basic legal reference. The problem with these guys is: no integrity. For a "fee" they will say the moon is made of green cheese!
Scalia surprised me because he was on the three-judge panel which decided Halberstam v. Welch, 705 F2d 472 (1983). Correctly, and well-reasoned. As for Alito and Roberts, Bush put them in as Supremes, in part, because "Stoneridge" would come up sooner or later. I am convined, with respect to these two, "the fix was in", i.e., no argument affected their decision. Apparently Bush installed them to protect Wall Street malefactors and they did as told.
Bush had three competent, Conservative judges he could have nominated, but didn't: Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit and Alex Kozinsky of the 9th Circuit. Why didn't Bush nominate these guys? Guess.

winged unicorn said...

and here we see what i consider the ULTIMATE power of the presidency: the right to nominiate to the supreme court, who obtaining the hekshure [kashruth seal] from congress can mold our fine nation for GENERATIONS.... scary. very scary.
yes, anonymous, we live in the curse of interesting times. and yes, there IS a santa claus. but he is not coming to our house any time soon.

Independent Accountant said...

Winged Unicorn:
It just struck me, Helicopter Ben (HB) is Santa Claus in modern dress. Unlike the Santa we were exposed to as children, HB distributes goodies to his Wall Street "children" as a reverse Robin Hood.