Court Battles

Obama court pick favors labor, says business group

Cameron Lancaster

Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, has ruled in favor of federal agencies 77 percent of the time, according to a scorecard produced by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The group’s report released on Tuesday found that businesses lost 90 percent of the time when they came before Garland while he has served as chief judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

{mosads}The NFIB said the findings show Garland is not a down-the-middle moderate, as his supporters have claimed. 

“He is quantifiably biased in favor of regulatory agencies and against private sector businesses,” said NFIB president and CEO Juanita Duggan. “His record speaks for itself, and elevating him to the Supreme Court would put small business and the economy at great risk.”

In labor cases, the NFIB found that Garland agreed with federal agencies 79 percent of the time, while businesses in labor cases lost 95 percent of the time.

This is the first time in its 73-year history the NFIB has decided to thoroughly analyze the record of a Supreme Court pick.

“There is nothing ‘moderate’ about Judge Garland’s record,” said Duggan. “In most of the cases in which Garland sided with a private party, he was ruling in favor of a labor union, an environmental group, or an employee seeking some sort of punitive action against another private party. The bottom line is that private businesses are almost always a loser in Merrick Garland’s court.”

The scorecard claims that Garland has also shown a bias for environmental regulators — agreeing with the agencies 9 out of 10 times.

Given Garland’s record, Duggan argues small businesses cannot reasonably expect him to be a check against runaway executive power.

The liberal watchdog Media Matters pushed back at NFIB Tuesday, calling it a “front group” for big business.

“NFIB claims that it is speaking for the small business community in its opposition to Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination,” the group said in a statement. “In reality, NFIB is a front group that has received millions of dollars from the Koch brothers network and other large corporate interests, and its opposition to Garland is part of a campaign against environmental, labor and healthcare policies that most small businesses support.”

Media Matters released a scorecard of its own that it said shows how NFIB takes positions that differ from those of small business owners.

While NFIB opposes any effort to raise the minimum wage, Media Matters claimed most small business owners support a federal increase. The scorecard asserts a similar divide on support for clean water protections, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Affordable Care Act and raising taxes on the wealthy.

– This story was updated at 11:50 a.m.

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