A. C. Pritchard


The confirmation of Lewis F. Powell, Jr., to the Supreme Court coincided with a dramatic shift in the Court's approach to securities law. This Article documents Powell's influence in changing the Court's direction in securities law. Powell's influence was the product of his extensive experience with the securities laws as a corporate lawyer, which gave him much greater familiarity with that body of law than his fellow Justices had. That experience also made him skeptical of civil liability, particularly class and derivative actions. Powell's skepticism led him to interpret the securities law in a consistently narrow fashion to reduce liability exposure and increase predictability. Powell also rebuffed the Securities and Exchange Commission's efforts to expand its reach, most notably in insider trading and takeover regulation. Powell's experience and interest brought a halt to the continuing expansion of the federal securities law.

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