The Presidential election may be front of mind for most small business owners and entrepreneurs. But what’s flying under the radar – and may affect them just as much – is the nomination of Merrick Garland, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to a piece published today, March 28 in the Montana Standard, if the Senate confirms Judge Garland, the consequences for small businesses could be harsh.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) has been reviewing Judge Garland’s record, and his decisions have sided heavily with regulators, labor unions, trial lawyers and environmental activists. The big losers in Judge Garland’s decisions are almost always small businesses.

Some of the cited examples of decisions that have harmed small businesses include:

  • NAHB v. EPA (2011). Despite the fact that the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) is unambiguous, Judge Garland rejected a claim by the National Association of Home Builders against the Environmental Protection Agency. What this means for other small businesses is that Judge Garland will continue to side with regulatory agencies. The costs to small businesses to comply with regulationslike the RFA is $12,000 per employee.
  • Rancho Viejo v. Norton (2003). A unique species of toad was behind this ruling by Judge Garland, who argued that the federal government can regulate private property under the Commerce Clause. Once again, this decision shows that he will be siding with regulators – and twisting federal law to do so.

Judge Garland has also ruled on many National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) cases in his time on the Circuit Court. The NLRB, which is supposed to be neutral, ends up acting as an agent for labor unions. In 16 decisions, Garland ruled in favor of the NLRB 15 times. His rulings imply that he values labor unions over small businesses, as is the case with one decision that went after the personal assets of employers. There’s no reason to believe that he would do otherwise sitting on the Supreme Court.