Bagenstos: Supreme Court’s “Deeply Disappointing” Epic Systems Decision “Denies Workers Their Day in Court”

Samuel Bagenstos, a candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in Epic Systems, Inc. v. Lewis:

            “Today’s decision in the Epic Systems case is deeply disappointing.  The decision denies workers their day in court to challenge violations of their employment rights.

            “I was proud to file a brief in this case on behalf of responsible small businesses.  Our brief argued that, when employers require workers, as a condition of employment, to give up their rights to pursue class actions, the result is to undermine the protection of the entire sweep of workplace rights.  And responsible small businesses, who want to comply with the law, are forced to compete on a tilted playing field.

            “As a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, I would of course be bound to follow the Epic Systems decision and any other decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.  But today’s ruling underscores the need for change at all levels of the judicial system—and the need for judges with experience standing up for workers.

            “I have spent my career fighting for workers’ rights and civil rights.  In my work, I have seen just how important the courts are as the last line of defense for our rights—as an independent body that stands ready to hold anyone, no matter how rich, powerful, or well-connected, accountable when they violate the law.

            “Change on the courts begins this November 6, when Michigan voters have the opportunity to make a fundamental change on the Michigan Supreme Court.”

Samuel Bagenstos