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Bush Court: We're not bound by precedent when there's "widespread agreement" among Chicago School economists


More evidence of why Scalia et al threw election 2000 to the Republicans in Bush v. Gore. They wanted the votes for decisions like this:

Justice Kennedy said Thursday that the court was not bound by the 1911 precedent because of the “widespread agreement” among economists that resale price maintenance agreements can promote competition.

And I bet you can guess the kind of economists they're listening to:

That's right: The guys who brought you Augusto Pinochet:

The Bush administration, along with economists of the Chicago school, had argued that the blanket prohibition against resale price maintenance agreements was archaic and counterproductive because, they said, some resale price agreements actually promote competition.

Of course they would say that, they'll say anything, but come on. What the decision does is allow corporations to take away your option to buy products at a discount:

The decision will give producers significantly more, though not unlimited, power to dictate retail prices and to restrict the flexibility of discounters.

Tell me again why we regard the Bush Court as any more legitimate than Cheney's fourth branch of government?

UPDATE Another way of looking at this is that the Bush Court just took $1000 out of my pocket and gave it to the corps:

During a 38-year period from 1937 to 1975 that Congress permitted the states to adopt laws allowing retail price fixing [which the Bush Court--well, I won't say "legalized," I'll just say "encouraged"--again with this decision], economists estimated that such agreements covered about 10 percent of consumer good purchases. In today’s dollars, Justice Breyer estimated that the agreements translated to a higher annual average bill for a family of four of about $750 to $1,000.

Tell me again about those tax cuts, Dear Leader! Your stories make me feel so warm and comfy!

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Submitted by lambert on

Not only is it true, since Bush shaped the court after Bush v Gore, it's a better meme for us, since everybody but the KoolAid drinkers and the courtiers in Versailles on the Potomac hate Bush and all his works. It's a branding issue...

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

They did an extensive piece on the rollback of Brown vs. Board of Education, and might have mentioned the other decision today (which I am so brainrattled I can't even remember)--but they said NOTHING about this one. Which as far as I can tell kinda kicks the whole Anti-Trust set of laws smack in the balls, dunnit?

"Competition" is a wonderful word which evidently means "anything which looks on paper at least slightly different that it does in real life." If there are three car companies and they all by sheer coincidence set the "retail price maintenance agreement" at $50,000 per vehicle, that's still "competition" isn't it?

Or to use a more realistic example let's say a manufacturer of clothes dryers sets a "retail price maintenance agreement" that no retailer is allowed to charge consumers less than $300 per machine.

Sears, Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowes all carry this company's goods. Best Buy used to put this particular model on sale for $200 as a loss leader, knowing that it will draw flocks of people to the store. Between vent piping, wiring upgrades, bulk detergent bottles, maintenance agreements, delivery charges, and shit people buy because "they're in a spending mood" and walking through the store, Best Buy knows they will sell way more in other merchandise than the hunnert bucks/per that they lost on the washers (which they got for $79 wholesale anyway but that's another part of the story.)

Now they can't have loss leaders any more, at least not in dryers. Or pick an item of your choice. I write these words on a computer which was a Christmas loss leader deal between Hewlett Packard and Wal-Mart. WM in particular has to be having conniption fits over this decision, they live on this sort of shit.

The whole thing--aside from tearing the heart out of the concept of stare decisis and stomping that sucker flat--just baffles me. What possible "conservative" (aka corporofascist) principle is being advanced here?