Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Please add any other thoughts about the bin Laden killing and the war on terror that you think might be relevant.
UPDATE: The Obama administration has decided not to release any photos of the dead bin Laden. Wise decision?
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Here is the background as told by this article:
"The Concepcions, the California couple who filed the case, went to court contending that AT&T misled them when it billed them $30.22 for a cell phone that was supposedly free. Because there was reason to believe the charges were widespread - the carrier said it was simply assessing sales tax for the actual cost of a subsidized phone - their lawyers filed the case as a class action.
AT&T fought them on procedural grounds: It said the Concepcions had no right to be in court at all, because their contract with the carrier required that disputes be resolved via arbitration. And it said they also had no right to claim that other customers were similarly harmed, because the Concepcions' contract with AT&T barred them from joining in a class action - in court or before an arbitrator.
AT&T's solution? Customers who felt wronged could try to get their money back by filing individually for arbitration. And the company touted its unusually consumer-friendly arbitration process, under which a successful claimant could get lawyers' fees and even a bonus award of $7,500 - if the arbitrator found he or she was entitled to more than AT&T's final offer.
Ruling in AT&T's favor, Justice Antonin Scalia said the case turned on a 1925 law, the Federal Arbitration Act, that he said preempted California state law. "Arbitration is a matter of contract," Scalia wrote, "and the FAA requires courts to honor parties' expectations."
What's the problem with Scalia's ruling? Unless Congress intervenes, the court has essentially allowed any company that deals with consumers to mistreat them with impunity. By writing a contract that mandates arbitration and at the same time bars class actions, a company can insulate itself from the only kind of legal challenge - a class action - that can deal with a large number of small-dollar wrongs."
Does this ruling seem fair? How much power should corporations have compared to consumers? Should Congress intervene and pass a law or Constitutional amendment to work around this ruling?
What about the concept of federalism? The court is clearly holding a 1925 federal law supreme over state law. Are you pleased with that?
On another tangent, should federal judges have term limits? Should citizens be allowed to conduct a national referendum to repeal Supreme Court rulings?
Please express your thoughts with civility and respect.