Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Supreme Court Decision Will Enable Political Attacks

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an opinion that will likely pave the way for further political grandstanding and investigations conducted for the benefit of prosecutor's career stepping-stones. To summarize the ruling (full text below for those freshly dosed with "performance enhancers"), the Court distinguished what role State Attorneys General may play with regards to the supervision and/or (depending upon your perspective) regulation of federally chartered/regulated financial institutions. Basically, Andrew Cuomo demanded documents from a bank, threatened to acquire subpoenas if his demands were not met, and proceeded to investigate the bank for violations of a NY state predatory lending law. The bank sued because they are already subjected to OCC oversight, and besides, producing documents is a pain in the ass. The Court disagreed, as it reached back to 1864 and attempted to glean the original intent of the writers of a now antiquated bank regulation law. This exact modus operandi, pioneered by the Spritzers of the world and emulated by the Cuomos of the world, was given the thumbs up yesterday by the SCOTUS.

We are disturbed at the potential effect this ruling could have on the office of State Attorney General across the country. Condoning this sort of behavior will only encourage the most litigious and aggressive individuals to seek out the AG post, as the Supreme Court has now turned the AG's office into the ultimate political stepping-stone, and empowered it to conduct publicized yet baseless investigations into any corporation that it pleases.

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