CPIL Executive Director Robert C. Fellmeth’s OpEd on Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Published by San Diego Union Tribune

Robert C. Fellmeth

San Diego (July 15, 2018) – University of San Diego School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Law Executive Director, Robert C. Fellmeth’s opinion editorial, which discusses why Justice Kennedy was the key factor in at least two of the worst decisions of the modern era was published in San Diego Union Tribune.

According to the commentary, Justice Kennedy played a key role in two of the worst decisions today.  While Kennedy has voted or written to protect public interests over time, there are also terrible precedents involving voting rights and political gerrymandering where Kennedy was the deciding vote. Concepcion and Citizens United, according to Fellmeth, are “two of the worst decisions of the modern era.”

In Concepcion, the court held that a “terms and condition,” often unread by consumers, used by a merchant can preclude a class action remedy. That holding “effectively creates complete lawless commerce wherever the harm is individually under $10,000, even if cumulatively over $100 million,” according to Fellmeth. 

Even worse is Citizens United.  Here the case ruling gives corporations the rights of individuals.  According to Fellmeth,

[C]orporations consist of individuals, but as an artificial and state-created separate “person” that is not the equivalent of “individual persons” in a democracy. The latter are supposed to control our democracy — the people. They care about the earth, our children and the future. Corporations are entities controlled by officers who have a “fiduciary duty” to do one thing — to maximize profit for the stockholders they serve.

Fellemeth believes "[w]e need to reach higher than preserving Kennedy.  We need to do better.”

To read the full OpEd click here.

About Professor Fellmeth

Robert Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of children's rights, regulation, antitrust, and consumer law. Professor Fellmeth is also the executive director of both USD’s Center for Public Interest Law and Children's Advocacy Institute.

About Center for Public Interest Law

Founded in 1980, the University of San Diego School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) serves as an academic center of research and advocacy in regulatory and public interest law. CPIL focuses its efforts on the study of an extremely powerful, yet often overlooked, level of government: state regulatory agencies. Under the supervision of experienced public interest attorneys and advocates, CPIL law student interns study California agencies that regulate business, professions, and trades.

CPIL publishes the California Regulatory Law Reporter, a unique legal journal that covers the activities and decisions of over 12 major California regulatory agencies.

In addition to its academic program, CPIL has an advocacy component. Center faculty, professional staff, and interns represent the interests of the unorganized and underrepresented in California’s legislature, courts, and regulatory agencies. CPIL attempts to make the regulatory functions of California government more efficient and visible by serving as a public monitor of state regulatory activity. The Center has been particularly active in reforming the state’s professional discipline systems for attorneys and physicians, and in advocating public interest reforms to the state’s open meetings and public records statutes.

 

About the University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 35th nationally and 6th on the West Coast among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 24th nationally and 6th on the West Coast in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.

 

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