May 25, 2013
A Supreme Court Choice We Can Believe In
Posted on Apr 15, 2010
Cordray has sued Merrill Lynch for misleading investors and AIG for accounting fraud, winning settlements of $475 million and $115 million, respectively. At the moment, he is the lead plaintiff in a suit against Bank of America, alleging it withheld bad news just prior to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2009. He also has challenged the bond-rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors, and Fitch Ratings), charging that they deliberately gave AAA ratings to junk debt to gain additional fees.
In 1993, Cordray was appointed as the state’s first solicitor, and he was responsible for state cases before the Ohio Supreme Court and federal appellate courts. He argued a number of times before the U.S. Supreme Court, most notably in Hanlon v. Berger (1999), involving the constitutionality of media “ride-alongs” with police.
For the friends of popular culture, no résumé of Cordray would be complete without recognizing that he was an five-time champion on television’s “Jeopardy,” winning more than $45,000. He apparently used his winnings to repay his law school debts, buy a used car and pay his taxes.
One thing Cordray is not is an appellate judge; moreover, he holds other credentials that should make him—or someone similar—attractive to the president and give the Court and the country a refreshingly different kind of judge. Cordray is a smart and capable lawyer with Supreme Court experience, perhaps the ear of its swing justice, and an eagerness to take on Wall Street. He has proven himself knowledgeable about the history of our constitutional law, not the ideological pretense and folly that is peddled through the media. On health care reform and financial regulation—the two issues that top Obama’s list of priorities and that could be threatened by the high court—Cordray is a proven ally of the president.
Stanley Kutler is the author of “Judicial Power and Reconstruction” and other writings.
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