The Michigan Business and Professional Association along with its sister association, the Michigan Food and Beverage Association wanted to share a summary of the recent major U.S. Supreme Court rulings of 2015. Some will or have had a direct impact on your company, while others may not. Nonetheless, the Supremes have been a busy bunch and we wanted to get you a handy summary.
Partisanship and Redistricting – On June 29th, 2105 (5-4) in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the court ruled that voters had the power to strip elected lawmakers of their authority to draw district lines.
Lethal Injection – The court decided on June 29th, 2015 (5-4) in Glossip v. Gross that states may use a drug linked to apparently botched executions to carry out death sentences.
Pollution Limits – On June 29th, 2015 (5-4) in three environmental regulation cases, the court found the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act by failing to undertake a cost-benefit analysis in deciding whether to set limits on emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants.
Same-Sex Marriage – The court decided on June 26th, 2015 (5-4) in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
Health Care Subsidies – The court decided on June 25th, 2015 (6-3) in King v. Burwell that tax subsidies were being provided lawfully in three dozen states that had decided not to run marketplaces for insurance coverage.
Housing Discrimination – On June 25th, 2015 (5-4) in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, the court decided that plaintiffs suing under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 could prove discrimination using statistics to show that the challenged practice had produced a “disparate impact.”
The Confederate Flag and Free Speech – The court decided on June 18th, 2015 (5-4) in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans that Texas was free to reject specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag.
Religious Signs and Free Speech – The court decided on June 18th, 2015 (9-0) in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Ariz., that a town ordinance that places different limits on political, ideological and directional signs violates the First Amendment.
Separation of Powers in Foreign Affairs – The court decided on June 8th, 2015 (6-3) in Zivotofsky v. Kerry that Congress was not entitled to order the State Department to “record the place of birth as Israel” in the passports of American children born in Jerusalem if their parents requested.
Social Media and Free Speech – The court decided on June 1st, 2015 (8-1) in Elonis v. United States that prosecutors did not do enough to prove Anthony Elonis’s intent when he published threatening rap lyrics on Facebook directed at his wife.
Employment Discrimination – The court decided on June 1st, 2015 (8-1) in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores that Samantha Elauf was not required to make a specific request for a religious accommodation to wear a hijab when applying for a position at a children’s clothing store owned by the company.
Judicial Elections and Free Speech – In Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, on April 29th, 2015 (5-4) the court ruled that states may prohibit judicial candidates from personally asking their supporters for money.
Race and Redistricting – On March 25th, 2015 (5-4) in two Alabama cases, the court found that the State Legislature had relied too heavily on race in its 2012 state redistricting by maintaining high concentrations of black voters in some districts.
Pregnancy Discrimination – On March 25th, 2015 (6-3) in Young v. United Parcel Service, the court found that the lower courts had used the wrong standard to determine whether UPS had discriminated against one of its drivers, Peggy Young, who was pregnant.
Religious Freedom in Prison – In Holt v. Hobbs, on January 20th, 2015 (9-0) the court found that Arkansas corrections officials had violated the religious liberty rights of Muslim inmates by forbidding them to grow beards over security concerns.
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