US Trade Rep should remove ISDS from proposed trade deals

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2015: Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron released the following statement concerning Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and today’s vote approving fast-track trade authority:

 With approval by both the House and the Senate, President Obama is now poised to sign legislation giving him fast-track trade authority.  That means Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) remains a looming threat to the rule of law and fair and independent courts.  The United States Trade Representative can and should remove these harmful provisions from the Trans-Pacific and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships.

Our legal system is built upon the conviction that every individual, regardless of wealth or power, has an equal right to seek justice in a court of law.  But under ISDS, powerful foreign investors are granted a special privilege: they can challenge government actions they allege threaten their investments not in that nation’s courts, but before a panel of private arbitrators. These proceedings lack the procedural safeguards of our domestic courts, and are inherently biased in favor of corporations. On this tilted ISDS playing field, corporations have successfully attacked important domestic policies—like health, labor, and environmental protections—that allegedly cut into their profits.

More than 130 legal scholars signed a letter outlining the harm of ISDS. Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton, Professor Judith Resnik of Yale Law School, former federal judge H. Lee Sarokin, and former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court Cruz Reynoso, legal and economic luminaries, also explained in a second letter why ISDS is so harmful.

We urge the US Trade Representative to stand up for equal access to our courts and remove ISDS from the TPP and TTIP.

To learn more about ISDS, visit www.afj.org/isds.

 Alliance for Justice, www.afj.org believes that all Americans have the right to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives. We are a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. Through our justice programs, we lead the progressive community in the fight for a fair judiciary, and through our advocacy programs, we help nonprofits and foundations to realize their advocacy potential.