The court system provides a way for citizens to ensure that their rights are upheld when the corporate interests of profit engage in exploitative and destructive activities. It’s a way to level the playing field and ensure that they are held accountable and that everyone’s rights remain intact. However, with the new political atmosphere currently in play in legislative circles, many major corporations are circling congress like a bunch of vultures.
Congress has countenanced a large number of bills over the course of the past year that deal with deregulating industry either by removing regulations entirely or else knocking out their teeth. One of these, H.J.Res. 111, which was passed last fall, repealed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulation that prevents banks, lenders, and other corporations from driving aggrieved consumers into an arbitration process and effectively prevents federal level class action lawsuits in against banks, predatory lenders, and others. But these aren’t the only consumer protections that are under fire by bills that are gaining support in Congress:
- 6 bills with provisions to eliminate judicial review, eroding the role of courts as a check and balance on other branches of government.
- 14 bills that could effectively strip people of their right to sue by either forcing them into arbitration or blocking their ability to join together in class action lawsuits.
- 17 bills that would make it too expensive to sue, forcing members of the public to bear the burden of costly litigation against the government.
- 10 bills that meddle with timely resolution through settlements, forcing government agencies to draw out challenges through costly litigation fights.
If these bills make it into law, the corporate environment will not only be freed from the shackles of having to face accountability regulations and judicial processes when they misbehave, but they will also be wearing a bullet proof vest against the possibility of being brought to court to answer for it. H.R. 469, the “Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act”, still to pass the Senate, helps to delay protections to public health.
It’s true that the current administration is much more “business friendly” than the previous, and big money is seizing on this window of opportunity to advance their interests. Americans need to be aware of what is cooking in Congress, because at the present time, it doesn’t smell so great for the common citizen.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.