Chivian 1 Kate Chivian Professor Murib Judicial Politics 12 December, 2019 Occupy SCOTUS: The Supreme Court’sRelations to Financial Crises and Neoliberal Ideology Introduction The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 brought economic inequality to the forefront of American culture. Suddenly, the ‘One Percent’, wealth inequality and income inequality were essential vocabulary and dominated political conversations. The Occupy movement started in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 housing and financial crises, and many blamed governmental policies that favored businesses and the wealthy for these crises (Gilman 2015). This focus on governmental policies has also expanded to the Supreme Court, dubbed by Michele Gilman (2015) to be “a Court for the one percent.” Neoliberalism has emerged as a popular critique of the economy and governmental policies after the 2007-2009 financial crisis and Supreme Court rulings that favor businesses. According to most sources, neoliberalism gained prominence in the early 1970’s and has been permeating economics and policy since then. In this essay, I seek to understand how and if neoliberalism was able to extend its ideologies into judicial precedent. I research and argue that this rise in neoliberalism may be due to the rise in economic crises since the 1970s. I hypothesize that after modern financial crises, such as the early 70’s, the early 1990s recession, and the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the Supreme Court will be more likely to rule in favor of neoliberal language and ideologies.
Chivian 2 In the literature review, I outline the current writing and research on the impact and influence of economics, economic crises, and neoliberalism on the Supreme Court. In the data and methods section, I outline how I will use both quantitative and qualitative methods of analyzing this research and my expectations of the possible relationship between the Court and neoliberalism. In my analysis and findings, I demonstrate that my hypothesis is not supported, and financial crises have little impact on the prominence of neoliberalism in the court. I also discuss how neoliberal ideology has become prominent in the Court and is cited as reasoning for many of the cases discussed. In my conclusion, I detail the difficulties I faced while researching this essay and how I would improve the study in future work. Finally, I discuss the implications of this essay and my hope that it will demonstrate the importance of analyzing neoliberalism in relation to the court. Literature Review Impact and influence of economics and economic crises on the Supreme CourtIn this section, I discuss legal and economic literature dealing with the relationship between economic crises and the Supreme Court. Until recently, there has been little research done to examine how the economy affects the Supreme Court and decision making of the Justices. Shughart (2004) noted that there is a gap in court impact studies when dealing with the question of economics. In an attempt to fill this gap, Shughart examined antitrust policies from