May 22, 2018

In a 5-4 partisan split, a sharply-divided Supreme Court on Monday gave a victory to businesses in Epic Systems v. Lewis, ruling that employees who have entered into arbitration agreements with their employers and are not satisfied with the ruling must challenge it individually and can’t file class action lawsuits.

Writing for the liberals on the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg blasted the majority as “egregiously wrong” for undermining the workers’ strength in numbers. But in the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that while the policy may be debatable, as a matter of law, the Federal Arbitration Act as written by Congress clearly instructs “federal courts to enforce arbitration agreements according to their terms — including terms providing for individualized proceedings.”

This may seem like an arcane legal matter, but it provides a perfect example of the battle raging across the land over the proper role of courts. The liberal Justices would have ruled based on what they believe to be most fair, not the law Congress passed. The conservative Justices admit that it might not seem fair to some, but that’s the way Congress wrote the law. If you think it's wrong, then you lobby the branch of government with lawmaking power – Congress – to change the law; you don’t ask a judge to usurp legislative power and rewrite laws from the bench. This is why so many liberal hot button issues get imposed on America by unelected judges: because they’d never be able to get Congress or the voters to agree to them.

Whether you like the SCOTUS ruling or hate it, the fact that even at the highest level of our court system, deference to the Constitutional separation of powers hinged on just one vote shows how important it is for those who want to preserve the Constitution to maintain control of nominating and vetting judges.


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