Letter signed by over 200 academics warns that intl. investment arbitration threatens rule of law by empowering foreign businesses

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Article
7 September 2016

220+ Law and Economics Professors Urge Congress to Reject the TPP and Other Prospective Deals that Include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

...ISDS grants foreign corporations and investors a special legal privilege…ISDS lacks many of the basic protections and procedures of the justice system normally available in a court of law…In recent years, corporations have challenged a wide range of environmental, health and safety regulations, fiscal policies, bans on toxins, denials of permits including for toxic waste dumps, moratoria on extraction of natural resources, measures taken in response to financial crises, court decisions on issues ranging from the scope of intellectual property rights to the resolution of bankruptcy claims, policy decisions on privatizations of prisons and health care, and efforts to combat tax evasion, among others...

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Article
7 September 2016

Law Profs Attack TPP’s ‘Rigged Pseudo Court’-and They Have a Point [Subscription required]

Author: Jenna Greene, The Litigation Daily (USA)

...[M]ore than 200 law and economics professors sent a letter to Congress attacking the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism of the yet-to-be-ratified, 12-country agreement.There’s a distinctly alarmist undertone to their concerns, premised on the notion that rapacious corporations and their lawyers will run roughshod over government regulations intended to protect the environment, health and safety and the rights of workers...Their key concern: investor-state arbitration creates a “parallel and privileged set of legal rights and recourse for foreign economic actors,” according to the letter, which was signed by professors including Harvard Law School’s Laurence Tribe and George Washington University School of Law’s Alan Morrison, who founded Public Citizen Litigation Group. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is lending her voice as well.  “This provision empowers companies to challenge laws and regulations they don’t like, with friendly corporate lawyers instead of judges deciding their disputes,” she said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday...Investor-state arbitration agreements are not new.  They’ve been included in 3,000 investment treaties around the world over the past 50 years, including the North American Free Trade Agreement. But there’s been a sharp uptick in cases in recent years--2015 marked an all-time high, with 70 new cases launched, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development...

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Article
7 September 2016

Press release: As White House Spotlights Conflict With Democratic Presidential and Congressional Candidates by Escalating Toward TPP Lame-Duck Vote, Sen. Warren and Hundreds of Academics Urge Rejection

Author: Public Citizen

…The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regime at the heart of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would newly empower thousands of multinational corporations to challenge U.S. policies before panels of three private lawyers to demand taxpayer compensation is the target of a letter sent to Congress today by leading pro-free trade U.S. economics and law professors calling on Congress to reject the TPP…Today’s letter, signed by more than 200 prominent academics, including Obama’s Harvard Law School mentor Professor Larry Tribe, warns that the ISDS regime threatens the rule of law and undermines our nation’s democratic institutions…ISDS undermines the American judicial system and tilts the playing field further in favor of big multinational corporations...This provision empowers companies to challenge laws and regulations they don’t like, with friendly corporate lawyers instead of judges deciding their disputes…

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