Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former U.S. Attorney and Attorney General for Rhode Island, issued the following statement today following his meeting with Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who was recently nominated by President Obama to be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:
“The decisions made by the Supreme Court can have far reaching, and often unseen, implications for the citizens of this country. Even cases that go relatively unnoticed at the time can have enormous consequences for Americans. The obscure and technical 1978 Marquette decision, for example, has had the effect of subjecting millions of Americans to the weak consumer protection laws of the few states where most national banks and credit card companies moved.
“Our next Supreme Court Justice must be mindful of the potential effects of the Court’s decisions on all Americans, whether in cases relating to employee protections, environmental safety, financial fraud, or other areas of the law. After meeting her today, I’m confident that Elena Kagan would bring not only great intellect and legal expertise to the Court, but also an appropriate understanding of how its decisions affect the American people. I look forward to participating in the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on her nomination.”
Whitehouse has introduced an amendment to the Wall Street reform bill to address the loophole created by the 1978 Supreme Court decision in Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp., which interpreted the word “located” in the National Bank Act of 1863 as meaning the location of the business and not the location of the customer. This loophole opened the door for national banks to relocate to those states that have the least consumer protections. The Whitehouse amendment would change the law to make clear that credit card companies and other national lenders — no matter where in the country they are located — must abide by the interest rate limits of the states in which their customers reside.