Obamacare, LGBTQ rights, voting laws at stake in Supreme Court’s final weeks
the short Supreme sets its deadline of late June, but with just a few weeks to go, judges have yet to release some of the term’s most important opinions, including a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the Voting Rights Act and a religious freedom case involving a Philadelphia hospitality agency.
In recent weeks, judges have emptied their desks of these less divisive opinions as tension increases over costly cases.
At the same time, the eyes are fixed any Judge Stephen Breyer’s pension plan, 82. His departure would allow President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats to replace him with a much younger Liberal. Judges often announced their retirement at the end of a term.
Here’s what the court has on its role:
Republican-led states – aided by the former Trump administration – are trying to get the court to strike down all of Affordable Care Act, the most significant legislative achievement of former President Barack Obama.
The case marks the third time the court has heard a major challenge to the 2010 law, although the stakes are raised given the implications of Covid-19, catastrophic deaths and the current burdens that the healthcare industry is facing. confronted with.
As it stands, Texas and other Republican-led states are challenging the law, and California and other Democratic-led states, the House of Representatives, and the Biden administration are supporting the law.
In one of his first acts as president, Biden informed the court that his administration was reversing the position taken by the Trump administration. The Justice Department now argues that even though the individual mandate is constitutional and even if the court decides otherwise, it should terminate the mandate and allow all other provisions to remain in effect.
Religious Freedom, LGBTQ Rights and Philadelphia Host Agency
This is a major dispute between claims of religious freedom against the LGBTQ community. It comes as the new Conservative majority has acted aggressively to protect rights under the Constitution’s free exercise clause.
In the case heard in early November, Philadelphia froze a contract with a Catholic foster agency because the agency refused to work with same-sex couples as potential foster parents. The agency, Catholic Social Services, sued under the First Amendment.
Philadelphia defended its action, saying the agency violated anti-discrimination laws which are neutral and applicable to everyone.
LGBTQ rights supporters are backing the city, arguing it was within its rights to freeze the contract with an organization receiving taxpayer funds and to refuse same-sex couples. They fear that a decision in favor of CSS will pave the way for religious organizations to seek exemptions from non-discrimination laws in other contexts.
Supporters of expanding religious freedom rights hope that the court’s conservative majority, building on a trend from the last term, will continue to force the government to meet stricter standards of regulations impacting human rights. believers.
Arizona Voting Rights Act
The Supreme Court is considering two provisions of Arizona law that the Democratic National Committee says it violates the landmark voting rights law that prohibits laws that discriminate against racialism.
Part of state law requires voters in person on polling day to vote in their assigned precinct. Another provision states that only certain people – family, caregivers, letter carriers and election officials – can deliver another person’s completed ballot to the polling place.
Eight years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts drafted the 5-4 majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, effective evisceration of Article 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a provision that required states with a history of discrimination to obtain authorization from the federal government or the courts before enacting new voting laws.
Since this decision, protesters of voting restrictions have increasingly turned to Article 2 of the law, which states that no voting regulations may be imposed which “lead to a denial or reduction of the right. any US citizen to vote because of race or color Democrats fear the court’s new Conservative majority will now weaken Section 2.
The case comes as lawmakers in Republican states across the country are also moving quickly to pass laws to restrict access to the vote.
Fourth amendment: arrest warrants in the event of “prosecution”
Judges are considering a case regarding when a police officer needs a warrant to enter the sanctity of an individual’s home. In general, in such circumstances a warrant is required, although the Supreme Court has ruled that in certain emergency circumstances a warrant is not required.
If, for example, an officer is “chasing” a driver or emergency assistance is needed, a warrant is not always necessary.
This case examines whether a categorical exception to a warrant is valid if the officer believes that the person he is following in a “chase” has committed a less serious offense: a misdemeanor. This is the first time that judges have considered the scope of the doctrine of “immediate prosecution” when it comes to a minor violation.
NCAA Fan Rules
The case gives the Supreme Court an opportunity – for the first time in decades – to examine the relationship between NCAA spending limits and student-athletes who demand compensation for their talents.
The dispute revolves around a lower court ruling that overturned spending limits for “education benefits” because, according to the court, they violated antitrust laws. NCAA asks Supreme Court to overturn ruling arguing that it will allow money to pump money into the system under the guise of “education,” which will destroy the distinction between sports amateurs and professionals. A lawyer for a class of students said the lower court was right and worried about the exploitation of students.
Trade union organization
The Supreme Court re-examines the power of union organizers in a case that pits farm businesses and privacy advocates against large unions and raises the question of when the government can allow access to private property without compensation. A ruling against the union position in the case would come after the Supreme Court in 2018 struck a blow at the funding of public sector unions.
The case is brought by agricultural producers challenging a law in the state of California that allows union organizers on their property to speak to workers without notice. They say this is tantamount to a government “taking” the land without fair compensation.
The Biden administration supports the union’s position, a change from the Trump administration, which had backed the employers.
Conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity (a Koch affiliate group) and the Thomas More Law Center are challenge a California law which requires charities that solicit donations to disclose a list of their contributors to the state attorney general.
The groups say they want to keep their donors a secret and the state has shown no compelling reason for the law. They argue that the law will prevent contributors from coming forward for fear of harassment – in violation of the First Amendment. Although the information is supposed to be confidential, groups say the state may inadvertently make disclosures.
In response, California argues that groups must already file the same data with the IRS and that the state needs this information to fight charity fraud. Three other states – New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii – have similar laws.
The case is being watched closely by those who fear it will lead to more anonymous ‘black money’ in the system.
“Nonprofits are asking the Supreme Court to make it harder for the government to require disclosure of donor information,” said Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, campaign finance expert at Notre Dame Law School. “Although the case involves a state attorney general requesting this information, if the Supreme Court raised the bar here, that would likely apply to election donor disclosure laws in the future as well.”
Cheerleader and off-campus speeches
Judges consider a First Amendment case concerning the power of public school officials to discipline students for what they say outside of school.
Then-varsity cheerleader Brandi Levy, who was not on the varsity team, lashed out on social media while not on campus, writing: “fk school fk softball fk cheer fk everything.” The words were accompanied by a photo of her giving a double-digit salute.
After the explosion, the girl was suspended from the team for breaking team and school rules. The girl’s lawyers sued, alleging that the school had violated her freedom of speech. The young girl won in lower courts which ruled the school could not remove her for an off-campus speech. According to Court of Appeal, she did not “give up her First Amendment rights as a condition of joining the team.”
In 1969, the Supreme Court ruled that public school officials could regulate speech that “materially and substantially interferes with the requirements of proper discipline in the operation of the school.” But this decision concerned speech at school.
“Allowing public school officials to censor what students say when they are outside of school would be an epic restriction on young people’s free speech,” said Witold Walczak of the ACLU, defending the Student.
The Biden administration has weighed in favor of the school by arguing that there is rhetoric, which “intentionally targets specific school functions” that justify discipline even if it occurs off campus.