Friday, June 29, 2007

Conservative Supreme Court keeping busy

In Fall 2005, when John Roberts was nominated to be the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, people were afraid that it might be a move toward overturning Roe vs. Wade. But Roberts calmed the alarmed Democrats saying things like, "settled as a precedent of the court" and "applying the precedent of the court".

Flip to now. The court has been releasing rulings recently and a decision on price fixing bothers me. According to the New York Times, "The decision was the latest in a string of opinions this term to overturn Supreme Court precedents." The Daily Show even did a recent sketch pointing out that many recent opinions have been conservative victories. (Doesn't show precedent-quashing.)

Back to the price-fixing issue. I can almost see the position of the retailers. They promote and advertise a product, set up demos so people can get a hands-on opinion, then watch customers go across the street to buy the product cheaper. As a consumer, I'm willing to take advantage of that. If only the currently-promoted products couldn't be sold cheaper across the street. But as a consumer, it seems I should have the right to shop around. If nobody else is allowed to sell Guitar Hero cheaper, are the retailers really competing against each other? Or are they all acting as slave agents for the publisher, each getting their commission. IMHO, the publisher or distributor can control how much they charge the retailers for the products at the wholesale level, but if they force the retailers to hold a certain profit margin, that's unfair.

Unfortunately, the damage is done. The Wikipedia article on price fixing will have to change to reflect the new decision.

No comments: