ERISA News & Views  -  February 2010

 
Supreme Court Justices' Views on ERISA
 
 
"Souter has complained about life in Washington and even about aspects of the court's work, such as the numbingly technical cases involving applications of pension or benefits law."
 
 
Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Conner
"At the end of the October 1993 sitting, I [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] eagerly awaited my first opinion assignment,expecting-in keeping with tradition-that the brand-new Justice would be slated for an uncontroversial, unanimous opinion. When the list came round to me, I was dismayed. The Chief gave me an intricate, not at all easy, ERISA case, on which the Court had divided six to three, and Sandra [Day O'Conner] was among the three. I sought her advice. It was simple: "Just do it," she said, "and, if you can, circulate your draft opinion before he makes the next set of assignments. Otherwise, you will risk receiving another tedious case."
Law Professor Dana Muir at the University of Michigan has examined Sotomayor's decisions in five areas of law: antitrust law, securities law, employment law, patent law, and ERISA law.  She concluded that "Sotomayor proceeds in a methodical way, carefully utilizing established and structured approaches to statutory analysis.  The one exception...is that Sotomayor's decisions and opinions...show significant deference to government actors.  ERISA cases where she relied on a variety of Department of Labor authority illustrate this..."
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