Here in Washington, power is not balanced,” Warren said on the opening day of the 2013 ACS Convention. “Instead, power is becoming more concentrated on one side. There are powerful, deep-pocketed corporate interests lined up to fight to protect their privilege and to resist any change that would limit corporate excesses.” [...](Read the full transcript of her speech here.)
“These big corporate interests are savvy,” Warren continued. “They fight every day on Capitol Hill and in the agencies, devoting enormous resources to the task of bending legislation to benefit themselves. But they also devote enormous resources toward influencing the courts.
“Why? Because they know that influencing those who interpret the law is another extremely effective way to achieve their goals. In our democracy, when we write our laws, reasoned debate, public opinion, and political accountability are all factors that can thwart the efforts of powerful interests.” [...]
“Follow this pro-business trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you'll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce,” Warren said.
We're nearly there, with a Supreme Court that's given the Chamber of Commerce a huge number of wins in recent years. The Chamber and other corporate interestes have become more aggressive about bringing suits, and the courts are responding in their favor.
This has come about in a few ways. One is that nominees have been increasingly from a corporate background. That includes many of President Obama's nominees, probably largely in response to an obstructionist Senate—he's looking for nominees that will get through more easily—but also because it's becoming the norm. But the obstruction, and keeping many federal seats vacant, is part of the problem as well. For example, with the second highest court in the land, the D.C. Circuit. President Obama just announced three nominees to fill all the vacant seats on that court, bringing it from eight to 11. Republicans are screeching about his "court-packing" plan, blithely lying about what court-packing actually is. The part of it that they're not going to talk very much about, though, is that this federal court which has huge power over the regulatory ability of federal agencies is currently dominated by conservatives, hostile to the Obama administration and very corporate-friendly.
Something's gotta give. The best place to start is with the filibuster.