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The October 2005 term of the U.S. Supreme Court was potentially an important one from the perspective of the business community. The confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. suggested that the court might move in a more conservative-and possibly more pro-business-direction. Perhaps just as important as the outcomes of cases decided by the court, court watchers from the business community hoped that the new chief justice would push the court to accept more cases raising business issues. The court-seeming to prefer its steady diet of constitutional and criminal cases-often denies petitions for certiorari raising legal issues of great importance to business. It is of course too soon to make judgments about the impact of the new justices on the court’s decisions or its docket. But a review of the business-related cases from last term suggests that the court’s more significant decisions tended to be both routine and noncontroversial. If the court broke little new ground last term, it could have been otherwise. The court heard oral argument in several cases raising important, recurring and undecided business issues, but it found ways to dodge those questions. The most watched business case of the term may have been DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 126 S. Ct. 1854 (2006), which involved a commerce clause challenge to state and local economic-development incentives used to attract new or expanded businesses to a community. The court never reached the constitutional claim, however, instead concluding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue in federal court and shunting the case back to state court. The court also avoided addressing two important Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) issues. In Mohawk Industries v. Williams, 126 S. Ct. 2016 (2006), the court declined to resolve lower-court disagreement about the “enterprise” requirement under RICO, dismissing the petition for certiorari as “improvidently granted.” And in Anza v. Ideal Steel Supply Corp., 126 S. Ct. 1991 (2006), discussed further below, the court avoided addressing whether a RICO plaintiff alleging mail or wire fraud must prove that it relied on the fraudulent statements and that such reliance caused the injury in question. The court’s continued reticence to provide lower courts and litigants with guidance in such cases-especially given the importance of the questions presented and the conflicts among the decisions of the lower courts-remains puzzling. Antitrust cases
SUPREME COURT REVIEW
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