Congress Shouldn’t Fast-Track Covert Trade Deals

The treaties would elevate individual corporations to equal status with nation states, empowering them to drag the U.S. government before closed-door extrajudicial tribunals. These panels, made up of three private lawyers, unaccountable to any electorate, would be authorized to order taxpayer payments for domestic policies or government actions the corporations oppose. Many of those serving on the tribunals would be allowed to rotate between serving as judges and bringing cases for corporations against governments. The small club of international investment tribunalists contains 15 lawyers who have been involved in 55 percent of the investment-state cases to date. There is no independent judicial mechanism to appeal their decisions, which could be riddled with conflicts of interest.

By Ralph Nader and Lori Wallach, Bloomberg.com

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