A Barrett Court could carry on Trump’s deregulatory agenda long after he’s left the White House, experts say

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court has brought the public’s attention to divisive social issues like abortion rights, but replacing the late Justice Ginsburg with a more conservative figure could have an equally important effect on business regulation and the U.S. economy.



a person wearing a suit and tie: Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court


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Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court

“Barrett is likely to be a pro business justice, to restrict the ability of government to adopt some economic regulations, and would likely vote to expand the constitutional rights of business,” said Adam Winkler, constitutional law professor at UCLA and author of the book “We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights.”

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That could be good news for stock-market investors, as analysts have long pointed to the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back Obama-era regulations and slow the implementation of new rules as a major driver of recent stock-market gains. Since President Trump’s election in November of 2016, the S&P 500 index (SPX) has returned 60.4%, according to FactSet. But it is a potentially troubling proposition for workers-rights advocates and environmentalists who have increasingly relied on agency regulation to achieve their policy goals.

One contentious issue being litigated in federal courts is Environmental Protection Agency regulations that limit electric power plants’ ability to emit greenhouse gases. President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency argued that the 1972 Clean Air Act requires it to issue such regulations, resulting in the 2016 Clean Power Plan. The Trump Administration subsequently rolled back those regulations, instituting a more business friendly Affordable Clean Energy rule.

But some conservative lawmakers, legal thinkers and activists argue that the Supreme Court should go further and strike down the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases whatsoever. Jonathan Wood, attorney at the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, told MarketWatch that many federal judges have questioned, on constitutional grounds, the ability of federal regulators to use old laws to make new regulations on issues that weren’t on the minds of Congress when those laws were passed, and a more conservative court could potentially make this view the law of the land.

“The idea that the Clean Air act in 1972 answered the question of how to address greenhouse gas emissions is sort of laughable,” he said. “But because courts have been so willing to defer to agency interpretations of statutes, they’ve gotten away with stretching statutes and trying to create policy without having to go back to Congress and say, ‘Oh, we’ve run into a new challenge, we need you to write new legislation to deal with it.’”

Video: Protesters Demand Extension Moratorium On Utility Shutoffs Mandated By Officials Due To Pandemic (CBS Philadelphia)

Protesters Demand Extension Moratorium On Utility Shutoffs Mandated By Officials Due To Pandemic

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Of central importance to this debate is the doctrine of Chevron deference, which the Supreme Court established in 1984, and which requires judges to defer to agency interpretation of statutes as long as that interpretation is reasonable. Conservatives

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RH CEO expects elevated demand for home decor to carry through 2021

  • “There’s clearly, you know, a consumer shift that’s happening and you know people are holed up at home,” RH CEO Gary Friedman told CNBC.
  • “We’re benefiting from some of that shift, and at the same time … our teams did a great job of kind of improvising adapting and overcoming,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview.
  • “I think there’s going to be some systemic shifts in spending that will last, I think, for the next year or two — could be longer,” he said.

RH CEO on capitalizing on shifts in consumer spending habits

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Demand for home goods is still on the up and up, based on the quarterly results published by home furnishings retailer RH.

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RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, posted a top- and bottom-line beat in its fiscal 2020 second-quarter report as the company capitalized on the stay-at-home environment, CEO Gary Friedman told CNBC’s Jim Cramer after the Corte Madera, Calif.-based company reported earnings.

“There’s clearly, you know, a consumer shift that’s happening and you know people are holed up at home,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview.

“We’re benefiting from some of that shift, and at the same time I’d say our teams did a great job of kind of improvising. adapting and overcoming.”

RH reported revenue of $709 million in the quarter ended Aug. 1, a 0.4% tick up from a year ago, but a turnaround from the 20% revenue decline the company saw in its first fiscal quarter. The company recorded profits of $4.90 per share, smashing the $3.41 estimate in Factset.

Core demand has improved exponentially month over month since the U.S. economy began its recovery from the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year that brought world commerce to a near halt. RH said that that demand was up 7% in May, more than 30% in both June and July, and up 47% in the month of August. Core business grew 44% through the first 10 days of September, the company said.

That trend, however, can be ephemeral, Friedman said. Long term, RH is looking to grow net revenue by 8% to 12% and adjusted net income by 15% to 20%. The company expects the increased spending on home decor will continue through 2021.

“I think there’s going to be some systemic shifts in spending that will last, I think, for the next year or two — could be longer,” he said.

“We’ll benefit from the shifts right now, but, you know, that’s not anything what I call strategic. We’ll make the most of what’s happening, but it really doesn’t affect our long-term vision or long-term strategy.”

Shares of RH surged more than 20% to $385.46 at Thursday’s close.

RH CEO talks record Q2 results, reconceptualizing the brand

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