Judge Alito: Why We Care

By January 10, 2006Judicial Nominations

As Judge Alito’s hearings continue this week, we ought to take this opportunity — for those of you who just joined us — to remind you of why we care who’s on the Supreme Court.

As you may know, legal costs soak up over 2% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an amount seven and a half times that of our nearest competitor. We flush more money down the rat hole on tort costs than some 200 countries spend on their entire GDP’s. We know that litigation is in inverse proportion to predictability. That is, the more certainty you have in the courts, the less litigation there is. The more adventurers you have on the bench, the more judges you have willing to ply their own theories — the law be damned — the more litigation you have. And that’s always bad for manufacturers.

We have been very active in Washington over the years working two branches of the government, but we have too long ignored the judiciary — unless, as NAM President John Engler likes to point out, you count being a defendant. We can’t stay on the sidelines any longer. Some 80% of a federal judge’s caseload is spent on issues of importance to manufacturers — torts, contracts, property rights, employment law, etc. Yet the debates over Supreme Court nominees always seem to focus on a narrow band of social issues — issues on which a Justice will spend relatively little of their time. We thought it was important to be the voice of business in this fray.

And so our Judicial Review Committee did a fairly in-depth examination of Judge Alito’s record and concluded that he met our criteria. Try to find another group in this thing with published criteria. They decided he would be the kind of justice that we should support, the kind of Justice who will apply the law as written, not as he thinks it should have been written. Legal reform begins at the top.

Please drop a note to your Senators and urge them to support Judge Alito and urge them to pt his nomination to a swift up-or-down vote.