Federal prosecution of white-collar crime is at its lowest point in 20 years

By David Sirota

Just a few years after the financial crisis, a new report tells an important story: Federal prosecution of white-collar crime has hit a 20-year low.

The analysis by Syracuse University shows a more than 36 percent decline in such prosecutions since the middle of the Clinton administration, when the decline began. Landing amid calls from Democratic presidential candidates for more Wall Street prosecutions, the report notes that the projected number of prosecutions this year is 12 percent less than last year and 29 percent less than five years ago.


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Ralph Nader speaks to Harvard’s law students to inform and inspire them to work for justice and improve the system and so people’s lives.
Ralph Nader: on Harvard Law School and Systems of Justice in America

Ralph Nader:
What are we inadequately attending to today?

To what extent is there a huge gap between your law school courses and the reality out there on the ground.

Like you study International Law.
What is the reality on the ground?
Systemic, massive violation of International law.
Do you study that?
Or, do you study international law as it should be, and as some cases have decided it is to be?

Alright, first we start with the Destruction of Freedom of Contract.

Fine Print Contracts are destroying your right of Freedom of Contract.
That is hardly news. When you click on, you don’t even read the contract before you buy the service or you sign on the dotted line.

What is news is that you are not in an uproar about it, that you have accepted the cultural denial of a legal ideal, which is Freedom of Contract.
So Contract Professors are presiding over a disappearing subject matter for 99% of the people.

The Contracts now are cannibalizing Tort Law. When you sign these contracts, and you agree to compulsory arbitration or you agree to the total nullification…have you heard this one–Unilateral Modification, the vendor induces your consent in this torrent of fine print, another legal fiction, to say they can change the terms and you are bound by them…retroactively.

Now this is why Professor Margaret Radin just came out a couple, three or four years ago with a book called, Boilerplate ( ) Michigan Law School, brilliant analysis. One of her conclusions was that fine print contracts are themselves a tort, themselves a tort. It’s a very erudite book, and I encourage you to read it.

How about the non-enforceability of the laws.
Who are we kidding here.
You study Fair Housing Laws; they are massively unenforced.
You study Consumer Protection Laws; massively unenforced.
You name it–Environmental Laws, Water Pollution Permits.
You read about it in the New York Times, but it does not filter in to the classes.
There should be courses called Illegality. Just Illegality. Non enforcement of the Law. So you have to face it.
It’s rampant, non-enforcement of the laws.
The outlaw nature of the modern Presidency. The Presidency now in the so called War on Terror, the President can be prosecutor, judge, jury, executioner all in secret.
There’s a lot of documentation, that the violation of the Constitution, Federal Statutes, Geneva Convention, is not episodic, it is systemic, it is daily.
Should we be concerned about the following:
Secret Laws
Secret Evidence
Secret Courts
Secret Prisons
Secret Wars
Secret Torture
Secret Unauditable Expenditures
Redacted Published Judicial Opinions, imagine that, Redacted Published Judicial Opinions
Arbitrary State Secrets Defense against Judicial Recourse
Routine violations of Due Process, Probable Cause, Habius Corpus.

That should be everybody’s business no matter what their specialty is, if they are a member of the legal profession. We should not be allowed to escape ourselves from what is going on in this country.

If the law school does not reinvent itself, if it does not split into two curriculums, one the normal servicing of the commercial economy, if you want to do that fine. The other servicing civic values, servicing justice, servicing fairness, servicing shift of power, servicing modes of organization of the citizenry, servicing electoral reform. That’s what needs to be done. We need thousands of lawyers who do this as lawyers who take their conscience to work, and who begin to reshape power.


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