As we’ve noted a number of times, his interest in this issue originally stemmed from the Jamie Leigh Jones gang-rape case (here, here) but it’s certainly gone much further than that. Last week, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, he savaged the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent pro-business, anti-consumer decisions, discussing, among other things, both the Jamie Leigh Jones case and the horrendous decision last week where the Court ruled that “an arbitrator – not a court – gets to decide if an arbitration clause is valid.” (He repeated it three times. Check out the video below.)
And yesterday, he raised the whole thing again at the Elena Kagen Supreme Court nomination hearings. (As a side note, while there have been plenty of news reports about Kagen’s great sense of humor, don’t think for a minute that the Minnesota Senator who improvised so hilariously on SNL instigated any of that.)
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:
Taking his turn, Franken pursued an issue he championed in the Senate: Barring federal contracts to defense companies that force workers to resolve disputes through mandatory arbitration rather than the open court, a measure inspired by the Jamie Leigh Jones rape case.
"Chances are, if you have a cell phone, a credit card, or you work, you're likely to have signed a contract with a mandatory arbitration clause," Franken said. "These clauses basically say 'if we violate your rights, you can't take us to court.'"
Senator Al Franken has not only become the Senate's staunchest civil justice advocate, he commands attention and gets things done. Who knew?
Watch Franken on the Senate floor here: