The trouble for Supreme Court justice-nominee Kavanaugh continues to pile up. Not only has one woman come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, but now another has done so. Kavanaugh is set to give testimony, along with his accuser, on Thursday, but just as this was decided, a new accuser (this from his college years) has come forward. In a rare television interview, Kavanaugh confirmed yesterday that he had not sexually assaulted anyone, ever, and that he would not be withdrawing from the nomination hearings.
FINSUM: This is a very high stakes nomination considering the midterm elections are looming. There are certainly more fireworks to come.
Trump has named his next choice for the Supreme Court—Brett Kavanaugh. Mr Kavanaugh has a long judicial history to review, and by all accounts, he looks like a very friendly pick both for Wall Street and wealth management. He has consistently sided with the interests of financial businesses in his rulings, including rulings against regulators like the SEC.
FINSUM: Obviously all the focus of the media is on Kavanaugh’s impact in a wider sense, but from a purely financial standpoint, he appears to be very anti-regulation.
Nobody in the industry wants to hear it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Think Advisor has just published an article arguing that the DOL rule may still pose a comeback and that RIAs need to keep the DOL-guided compliance procedures they developed in place. The argument is that though the DOL let the May 1st appeal deadline to its Fifth Circuit Court loss pass, it still has until June 13th to escalate the case to the US Supreme Court. If it does so, a stay in the Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling is likely, meaning the rule would technically still be in place until the Supreme Court delivers its verdict.
FINSUM: Obviously no one knows what the DOL will do, especially because the motivation to escalate this seems to be lacking. That said, it still has the choice and so advisors must keep their compliance policies in place.
If the fiduciary rule was on its last legs before, it is really in trouble now. The DOL’s rule suffered its first significant court defeat this week. A US circuit court struck down the rule, saying it was too broad and “unreasonable”. The court found fault with the government’s broadened definition of what constitutes financial advice and who gives it. The loss means circuit courts have split on the fiduciary rule and it now appears likely the Supreme Court will take up the case.
FINSUM: This is a major blow to the fiduciary rule, and may help usher an even quicker departure for it. It will certainly give the DOL more ground to shift to a new rule co-drafted with the SEC.
Labor unions have long been a hallmark of developed economies. While their power has been on the decline for decades in the US, they are still a principle part of the labor market. Now, with their grip already in decline, they might be dealt a death blow by the Supreme Court. The court is about to hear a case on whether it is constitutional for labor unions to require government workers to fund the unions which represent them. Because of the decline in private sector unions, about half of all US union membership is now held by government employees, so a ruling against mandatory union dues could likely spark the end of American unions as we know them.
FINSUM: The decline of unions has been a complex and long-term affair. Aside from this case, we wonder if the power of unions might increase or decrease as automation takes further hold of the workplace.