- Unequal Justice (2012)
- A Question of Integrity (2011)
- Crude Justice (2010)
- Tortured Law (2009)
- Access Denied?: (2008)
- Supreme Injustices (2007)
- Quiet Revolution: (2006)
- AFJ Film Archive
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Learn More About the Cases
Unequal Justice features three key cases that epitomize the growing corporate bias in the Supreme Court. Follow the links below to find out more, and for more information about the One Percent Court in general and other important cases, click here.
In Citizens United v. FEC, the five conservative justices reversed a century of law and opened the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited money in our elections. In a stunning display of judicial overreach, the conservative justices abruptly broke with long-settled precedent to fundamentally change the rules of the game in favor of big business. The consequences of the Citizens United decision have already been felt acutely, particularly during the 2012 election cycle.
In PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, the Court’s 5-4 conservative majority immunized generic drug manufacturers, whose drugs comprise 75 percent of the market, from state tort liability when their labels inadequately warn consumers of health risks.
Brand name drug manufacturers have the ability and the duty to change warning labels based on newly-discovered risks without consulting the Food and Drug Administration, but generic drug manufacturers need only copy brand name warnings. The Court concluded that it was impossible for generic-drug makers to meet both the federal requirement that they copy brand name labels, and state law duties to provide adequate warnings, and therefore gave no effect to FDA’s position that the generic drug makers should have taken steps to warn the agency of problems with the generic version of the drug Reglan. The majority acknowledged that, from the perspective of plaintiffs, its ruling “makes little sense” because brand name drug manufacturers can be held liable while generic drug manufacturers cannot.
In Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the Supreme Court prevented more than a million women from banding together to pursue their case against the discriminatory pay and promotion practices of Wal-Mart management. The 5-4 majority rewrote the federal rule governing class actions by setting a higher threshold for plaintiffs to show the “commonality” of their claims. The majority also created new hurdles for disparate impact cases, where subjective personnel decisions have led to widespread gender or racial disparities in the workforce, by holding that “proving a … disparity is not enough,” and rejecting plaintiffs’ overwhelming statistical evidence of widespread discrimination. The consequences for employment discrimination class actions, as well as class actions more generally, are potentially far-reaching.