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Post Justice Scalia and Dow Chemical
Created by John Eipper on 03/01/16 5:13 AM

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Justice Scalia and Dow Chemical (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 03/01/16 5:13 am)

In recent days we were debating Antonin Scalia's nature as a human being and US citizen. I was suspicious of him because of the Citizens United case. Some more negative evidence about his character is trickling in after his death under interesting circumstances.

Some media outlets not yet purchased by big money are reporting the following:

Dow Chemical Co. has been accused of conspiring to fix prices for some chemicals and a jury found that they did. The Court entered Final Judgment against Dow for the amount of $1,060,847,117.00, plus interest.

Needless to say, Dow appealed the verdict and the judgment to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, lost on the appeal and the Court denied Dow's request for a rehearing.

On March 9, 2015, Dow filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, seeking further review of the verdict and judgment. The case was expected to be heard in late 2015 or in the first half of 2016.

Suddenly, however, Dow decided to pay $835 million to settle the antitrust case pending before the US Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia's death, which sources believe reduced the chances of overturning the jury award.

Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's business and law schools, stated, "Companies whose positions are based more on political philosophy than on interpretation of the law worry when the majority philosophy in sway at the court changes. ... It is unlikely that any nominee will be as favorable to business as Justice Scalia was."

Whatever happened to free-market capitalism that we used to be so proud of? This seems more like Capitalism by market and government manipulation and as I suspected,

Scalia seems to have been part of the problem.

JE comments:  See this piece from the Alternet website:


Dow (a Michigan company) was found guilty of fixing the prices on a urethane compound used in foam upholstery.  Does this mean that everyone who's purchased a couch recently will get a cut?

Scalia was notoriously unsympathetic about consumer class-action lawsuits.

On a related Supreme Court note, Justice Clarence Thomas, for the first time in ten years, asked a question during a hearing yesterday.  Is Thomas seeking to take over the Scalia mantle?

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  • Antitrust Settlements (David Duggan, USA 03/01/16 2:26 PM)

    To have standing under the antitrust laws, you have to have purchased from the price-fixer, not some middle-person (i.e., the manufacturer of the product containing the price-fixed component) between the price-fixer and the consumer. See Illinois Brick.

    JE comments:  I was kind of joking about my couch, although I did buy one a few months ago, and wouldn't mind a nice check from Dow.

    This means, I presume, that the majority of the Dow $800+ million will go to other corporations--furniture and automotive seating companies, for example.

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  • Justice Scalia and Big Business: New Yorker (Paul Levine, Denmark 03/03/16 4:35 AM)

    In connection with Antonin Scalia's death, this article from the New Yorker casts light on the real consequences of the Supreme Court Judge's legal philosophy:


    JE comments:  Author James Surowiecki contends that Scalia's death will have little impact on the "culture wars" (same-sex marriage and abortion), given that he was already in the minority on these issues.  The biggest shift will be for big business:  Scalia was reliably on the side of the large corporations in matters such as consumer litigation and class-action suits.  Scalia's passing, according to Surowiecki, means the Little Guy will have a better chance to have his/her day in court.

    Meanwhile, that paragon of investigative journalism, the National Enquirer, leads its March 7th issue with the headline "Scalia Was Murdered"!  The bullet points:  1)  Why DNA was destroyed & there was no autopsy; 2) Why body was found with pillow over head; 3) Why he was staying next to a brothel; 4) Why his bodyguard disappeared.

    Confession:  WAIS HQ subscribes to the Enquirer.  Enquiring minds want to know.  If time allows, I'll read the full story today.

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