Barack Obama’s pick for his first appointment to the Supreme Court has a pretty middle of the road, balanced track record when it comes to deciding securities litigation cases.
A survey of 26 of Sonia Sotomayor’s decisions on securities regulation cases going back to 1994 by University of Illinois law professor Christine Hurt suggests that conservative concern that Obama’s nominee might emphasise “empathy” over the rule of law is overstated.
“Although pundits are scouring her other opinions to find judicial activism, there’s none here in the 10b-5 arena,” Hurt writes on the Conglomerate blog. “If we’re worried about the nominee showing empathy instead of following the law, there’s no evidence of runaway shareholder empathy!”
Many of the legal battles between shareholders and corporations aren’t exactly what they appear to be. Instead of pitting ordinary or even large shareholders against self-dealing corporate managers, often they are little more than mechanisms to generate fees for lawyers that don’t address genuine grievances. “Shareholder empathy” in these cases isn’t so much about genuine concern for shareholders but abotua willingness to take the side of the shareholder plaintiff’s bar.