01.16.19

Whitehouse Lauds SCOTUS Decision Upholding Americans’ Right to Their Day in Court

Senator’s amicus brief warned of growing threat to judicial legitimacy from corporate special interest campaign to deny Americans access to the courts

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement today on the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira to uphold Americans’ constitutional right to a civil jury.  Whitehouse filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case arguing for this outcome.

The Founding Fathers believed firmly in protecting Americans’ right to a civil jury, which is why they enshrined that right three times in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  This is a victory for the American people over the corporate special interests looking to seal off ordinary citizens’ access to the courtroom.  It is also a welcome respite from the string of 5-4 partisan decisions that have come to dominate the Court’s jurisprudence when corporate power is involved.”

New Prime centered on a challenge by a truck driver against a trucking company that sought to force him into arbitration proceedings under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).  The company argued the driver was compelled to enter arbitration under the terms of his contract and the FAA, while the driver contended the law expressly exempts truck drivers and other “workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” from giving up their recourse to a civil proceeding.  The Supreme Court held that a court, rather than the arbitrator him or herself, should get to decide whether that exemption applies.

Read Whitehouse’s full brief here.  A summary of the Court’s holding is available here.

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