NFIB California Podcast: Small Business at the Center of Legal Cases, Agency Battles

Date: March 16, 2022

Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, said it’s considered a big influencer at the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Chamber, manufacturers, high tech all have their legal teams, so why does small business need one too? All business issues are the same. Aren’t they?

“They might be supporting policies that might be helpful to small businesses, but when we look at an issue at the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, we are honing in and focusing on those issues that are particularly impactful to the business with five to 10 employees,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center.

Harned has been the Legal Center’s executive director for 20 years. After earning her B.A. from the University of Oklahoma in 1989 and her J.D. from The George Washington University National Law Center in 1995. She was admitted to practice in the District of Columbia.

Harned comments regularly on small business cases before federal and state courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. She has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, NBC Nightly News, CNN, CNBC and MSNBC, as well as National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and radio outlets across the country. Her opinion editorials on legal issues important to small business have been published in newspapers and other publications nationwide.

In this NFIB California podcast, Harned says the Legal Center punches above its weight and is considered a big influence at the U.S. Supreme Court. The challenge to Obamacare was one, which NFIB was the named plaintiff and which Harned said “really put us on the map.” The case was the first one in the court’s history that heard three days of arguments. There are many other federal cases, but the Legal Center also challenges bad laws in the state courts as well, such as California’s cap-and-trade.

But it is the rulemaking of federal agencies that occupies most of her time. “A lot of activity coming out of the agencies are creative regulations unrelated to the subject at hand.” And why is this? “The bottom line is these people haven’t worked in a business. I feel that after 20 years at NFIB, I’m still spending a lot of my time – more than I should be – trying to tell policymakers what it means to be a small-business owner, what their day looks like, what the struggles they face are.”

Click the arrow below to listen to the podcast with Karen Harned and click here to listen to all prior podcasts.


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