Justice Scalia — Man of the (Non-Stupid) People


Here’s an excellent roundup of the oral arguments (and related coverage) before the Supremes on the arbitration issues raised in the Rent-a-Center case by one of the co-counsel for the respondents.Obviously there’s a point of view being expressed here, but get a load of this comment by Justice Scalia:

Justice Scalia’s questions yesterday showed that he has little empathy for those who find themselves in the position of signing extremely one-sided arbitration agreements because of unequal bargaining power, often as a precondition of employment or the receipt of essential goods and services. Here’s what he said:

JUSTICE SCALIA: you can be a stupid person who voluntarily signs an unconscionable contract. Now, the courts may protect you because you are stupid, but you haven’t been coerced.

That’s an actual quotation from the argument, not a caricature. I suppose this means that, in Justice Scalia’s world, a person who takes a low-wage job as a dishwasher, say, or as a line worker at a chicken processing plant, because it’s the only job he or she can get, is simply “stupid” if they sign an employment contract containing various unconscionably one-sided terms.

Now I know why they don’t want cameras recording Supreme Court arguments.

Speaking of the Supremes, none other than our recent visitor and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor joined in a decision of the 11th Circuit yesterday that reversed the SD FL on a case involving the implosion of Colonial Bank.

Any way we can get her back?