Corner Post v. Federal Reserve is the latest salvo by special interest efforts to undermine the government’s ability to deliver for people and communities by way of a radical legal argument that, if accepted, could dramatically expand the scope of legal challenges to government agencies and programs that help and protect people. 

At the heart of Corner Post, Inc. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is a question with far-reaching consequences for how our courts are able to function and how our government is able to deliver for people. If the corporate interests behind this case are successful, our courts could become overwhelmed with challenges to important rules and regulations that protect lives and allow our government to serve people. 

In this specific lawsuit, a group of plaintiffs with far-right counsel challenged a policy about credit card fees that the Federal Reserve issued. All of the plaintiffs but one, however, were dismissed and have dwindled to just the Corner Post gas station, a Watford City, North Dakota truck stop and convenience store that had nothing to do with the dispute when it began in 2021. The North Dakota Retailers Association and the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association represented by the National Retail Federation added Corner Post as a party after the federal government said the trade groups’ suit was barred by a six-year statute of limitations and had to be dismissed.

Now, the court will decide if Corner Post is able to challenge a regulation that was approved long before the gas station opened, even if they cannot demonstrate that they regulation harmed them in any way (this case has nothing to do with the ability for businesses to challenge regulations that they can prove harmed their interests and only focuses on “facial challenges”). 

 

SCOTUS RULING 

On July 1, 2024, six justices on the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Corner Post, Inc. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System that will allow more extremist attacks against long-standing regulations relied upon by small businesses and for the functioning of the federal government. Find out more here.

 

WHAT’S AT STAKE

If the Supreme Court rules that people can challenge any government regulation, regardless of how long the regulation had been in place before they opened, without showing harm, potential plaintiffs could challenge regulations that are more than six years old–possibly upending decades of regulations that are relied upon at every level of government and by everyday people. 

The far-right has already targeted large swaths of recent regulations using lawsuits under the current statute of limitations, including policies that allow for abortion counseling in veterans’ health plans and rules providing student debt relief. Throwing open the doors for plaintiffs to take decades-old regulations to court would exacerbate an increasingly chaotic regulatory landscape.

Corner Post must also be understood in context with Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the case which will decide the fate of judicial Chevron deference to agencies when interpreting statutes and issuing regulations. If the Supreme Court overturns Chevron in its upcoming Loper Bright decision, it will wreak havoc on how courts determine the validity of regulations.

These two cases could deliver a devastating blow to our government’s ability to function, hobbling the stability of established regulations and the ability of government agencies to issue rules that can survive legal and legislative challenges. The far-right’s Project 2025 has vowed to take a “wrecking ball” to the federal government – and Corner Post is one of two cases could clear the way.

 

WHO IS INVOLVED

People Defending Progress:

Democracy Forward submitted an amicus brief in this case on behalf of the Small Business Majority, Main Street Alliance, American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, and Businesses for Conservation and Climate Action (BCCA) — making clear how destabilizing and harmful a ruling in this case could be for small businesses. This was one of just two briefs submitted in support of the government in the case 

 

Extremists Attacking Democracy:

Koch-funded think tank the Cato Institute submitted an amicus brief in the case, and many of the same organizations behind Corner Post, as well as Loper Bright and Relentless, have also been active in undermining the right to vote, the right to abortion, the ability of the government to protect consumers, initiatives to advance equity, and perpetuating baseless legal theories that seek to prop up the “Big Lie.” These organizations seek to use these cases to subvert the tools the government uses to do its job of serving the and meeting the needs of people and communities. 

Splash Statement

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Project 2025 is a radical playbook that presents a profound threat to the American people, our freedoms, and our democracy. Join us to expose this effort by far-right extremists and fight back.

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