WASHINGTON, DC — In the latest consequence for everyday Americans of a worsening corporate judge shopping crisis, today Trump-appointed Northern District of Texas Federal Judge Ada Brown ruled in favor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Ryan LLC by staying the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) new rule banning non-competes nationwide. The rule is slated to take effect on September 4th to begin lowering costs while boosting worker earnings by $488 billion over the next decade, but the U.S. Chamber has left its future uncertain. 

Today’s decision follows a ruling in May from the Northern District of Texas in favor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s final rule capping most credit card late fees at $8, down from an average of $32. The rule was set to take effect May 14th and was expected to save consumers up to $10 billion a year, but the U.S. Chamber’s legal obstruction is costing consumers roughly $27 million each day the rule is stayed.

The industry-funded U.S. Chamber continues to cost everyday Americans a ton of money with its suing spree against the Biden administration crackdowns on corporate greed, junk fees and anti-worker barriers. The U.S. Chamber lawsuit’s holding up the administration’s credit card late fee rule is already costing Americans $27 million a day – and now this latest lawsuit could slam the door shut for millions of American workers to begin pursuing better opportunities. No thanks to the U.S. Chamber, non-compete clauses could force employees to endure low wages and poor working conditions as the rule drags through the courts. The big bank and Wall Street CEOs on the U.S. Chamber’s board has gotten a huge return on their investment while American workers pay the price. The need for judicial reform in Congress has never been more clear as far right Fifth Circuit territory judges have effectively put up a giant neon sign, “Corporations, Please Sue Here.”

Accountable.US Executive Director Tony Carrk

BACKGROUND: JUDGE SHOPPING CRISIS KEEPS GETTING WORSE: On April 24, the U.S. Chamber filed its suit against the FTC in the Eastern District of Texas – continuing their pattern of judge shopping in courtrooms that fall under the jurisdiction of the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Chamber’s lawyers were no doubt pleased the case went to Judge Barker, who recently sided with them in another challenge against rulemaking from the National Labor Relations Board. Accountable.US has previously documented Judge Barker’s ties to the Leonard Leo network and his history of industry sympathizing and defending.  In addition, Accountable.US’ review of a co-plaintiff against the FTC noncompete rule, Ryan LLC, identified conflicts of interest with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and swampy ties with the U.S. Chamber. 

Government watchdog Accountable.US had called for the Eastern District of Texas Judge John Campbell Barker’s recusal after discovering Barker owns hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock in three of the largest tech companies in the world: Apple, Amazon, and International Business Machines (IBM), the latter two being U.S. Chamber-members, and all of which are notorious for their use of noncompete agreements to prohibit employees from pursuing new opportunities – a lucrative enough practice that the US Chamber opted to sue on behalf of its corporate funders. Judge Barker has since dismissed the challenge to the FTC Noncompete rule without prejudice after the U.S. Chamber and coalition plaintiffs joined the first challenge to the rule from Ryan LLC in the Northern District of Texas.

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