So Sarbanes-Oxley survived Fat Tony and Bobby the Mole Alito. Isn't that a Good Thing? Isn't that a reason to applaud them? Why would I pick on them for making one of the very few decisions of this corporate-owned Supreme Court that isn't, you know, criminally stoopid and/or outright corporate toadying?
The first group established by Congress to regulate the accounting industry survived a constitutional challenge on Monday, emerging only with its members having a little less job security.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which established the board and sought to reform corporate America after the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals.
A small accounting firm and a group called the Free Enterprise Fund had asked the court to rule the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board was illegal because it was appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, rather than the president.
Because the Sarbanes-Oxley Act contained no severability clause, some legal commentators forecast that such a ruling would lead to the entire act being thrown out, forcing Congress to act again or return to the law as it was before the act was passed.
Instead, the justices unanimously ruled that the board has been legally established and appointed. There was a 5-to-4 split, but it concerned only the way members of the board can be removed from office.
Norris and Liptak write as if they've never heard of this strange, upstart Free Enterprise Fund which is a) absurd for a couple of experienced NYT business reporters and b) a disingenuous way of ignoring the reason the SCOTies went against all their previous history to support a law their banker-bosses pretty much loathe and despise. See, it isn't the decision that's the problem but the reason the decision was made: internal wingnut-welfare politics.
Yes, b's & g's, I'm afraid we've reached the dungeon bottom of the SCOTUS' long slide down the chute of politicization of the law, a point where a legal decision potentially affecting the ability of our govt to regulate Wall Street banksters ended up hanging not on any point of law but on the conservative Justices' personal and political dislike of the plaintiff.
The Free Enterprise Fund, you see, is run by a Free Market ideologue named Stephen Moore. You've probably never heard of Moore but before FEF he was responsible for the creation of a group you probably have heard of - The Club for Growth. The CFG has had its corporate-stooge nose buried in pro-business propaganda for over a decade. It is perhaps most famous for describing Howard Dean's presidential campaign as a "tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show." One of its more subdued rants.
But then, along about the '04 SOTU, Moore - the Founder of CFG and up to then a hero of Wingnuttia - noticed that Bush was spending way more money than anyone since Reagan (a Big No-No for devoted Norquist followers) and, in an unexplainable fit of integrity, criticized His Holy Highness as "a big government Republican".
Needless to say, his heresy did not go unnoticed. Or unavenged. He was promptly and unceremoniously chucked out of the CFG and told to peddle his papers elsewhere. He then doubled his sins - and the petty loathing of his conservative confreres - by founding FEF as a competitor to CFG. Horror of horrors. He has been persona non grata in Wingnuttia ever since.
Naturally, even if it meant putting the kibosh on the notion of a footloose and fancy-free Wall Street, unfettered by the interference of non-M'sOTU, Moore couldn't be allowed to win. That would be like asking Boston to forgive Babe Ruth for being a Yankee.
So unless you can figure out how to put an apostate conservative in front of every suit that comes before the SCOTUS from now on, I don't think the decision means very much. Certainly we can't expect it to presage lucid, intelligent decisions from the likes of Fat Tony and Bob the Mole.
After all, petty is as petty does.
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