Court To Decide On RICO

Washington Times

Lawyers for employees of a Georgia-based manufacturer yesterday urged the Supreme Court to allow a lawsuit that accuses the flooring company of suppressing workers’ wages by recruiting illegal aliens.

Even though the case involves the politically explosive matter of illegal labor, it arrived before the justices because of a dispute over the lawsuit’s use of the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) — a law traditionally used to prosecute organized crime.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked the lawyer representing the employees, who are backed by the Bush administration, why their accusations against Mohawk Industries, which appear to fit under general criminal conspiracy law, had been brought under RICO.

‘I’m trying to give you an opportunity to tell why this case constitutes RICO, and you’re telling me ‘interstate commerce’ and that it happened with more than one person,’ the chief justice said. ‘Those are things that can be handled by criminal conspiracy law.’

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said allowing the case to go forward could effectively ‘RICO-ize vast amounts of commercial activities’ that have ‘nothing to do with organized crime.’

Winning parties in RICO cases can be awarded triple damages — notably higher awards than winners in non-racketeering criminal cases. Congress expanded RICO in 1996 to include violations of immigration law.

The group of current and former Mohawk employees say the company violated RICO by systematically contracting outside recruiting firms to hire illegals. The lawsuit says Mohawk provided identification cards to illegal aliens, which helped them avoid detection by immigration authorities.

Mohawk denies knowing that it had illegal aliens on its payroll.

2 Responses to “Court To Decide On RICO”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    I live in southeast Georgia and I cannot think of one factory in the area that does not use illegals for cheap labor while American workers have no choice but to get welfare so they can feed their families and pay their bills while the “migrant workers” plan to boycott what we call them on a communist holiday in America why is our goverment tolerating this

  2. Sherri Says:

    Jonathan, the reason our government tolerates this is simple: VOTES! Both political parties believe that they will win the Hispanic vote, as well as the support of big business. They are more concerned with protecting their jobs than upholding the oath of office that they took when they were elected, and doing the will of the American people.

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