Thursday, April 9, 2015

Fifth Circuit's Ruling on Standing in Mississippi DACA Case -- Implications for Texas DAPA Case

On Tuesday a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a decision of a District Court finding that the State of Mississippi lacks standing to challenge President' Obama's "DACA" immigration policy -- the policy that defers deportation of persons brought to this country as children. What does this mean for the decision of a Texas federal district court that found that the State of Texas and other states have standing to challenge the President's DAPA immigration policy -- the policy that defers deportation for four million more undocumented aliens?

Monday, April 6, 2015

How Will the "Religious Liberty" Laws Affect the Supreme Court's Decision on Same-Sex Marriage?

The four conservatives on the Supreme Court have repeatedly argued that opposition to same-sex marriage is not based on hatred but rather on traditional morality and religious belief, and that these are sufficient grounds upon which to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Will the furor over "religious liberty" laws that would have legalized discrimination against same-sex couples change their minds?

Friday, April 3, 2015

150 Years Ago: Abraham Lincoln's Visit to Richmond

On April 4, 1865 -- twelve days before his death -- the 16th President landed on the banks of the James River near the shattered Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia, and walked up the hill to the Confederate White House, accompanied by his disabled son Tad, a small platoon of soldiers, and thousands of cheering newly-freed slaves.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Rejection of "Plain Meaning" in Young v. United Parcel Service

By a vote of 6 to 3, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Peggy Young in her lawsuit against United Parcel Service under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. However, all nine justices of the Supreme Court rejected the "plain meaning" interpretation of the law that she proposed.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Indiana S.B. 101 - The Anti-Gay "Religious Freedom Restoration Act"

Indiana Governor Michael Pence described Indiana Senate Bill 101, the state's new "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," as nothing different than the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts adopted by the federal government and many other states. He stated: 
This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would have vetoed it.
Governor Pence is misinformed. This law is clearly designed to foster and encourage acts of private discrimination by businesses and employers on the basis of sexual orientation.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Supreme Court's Decision in Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads

On March 9 the Supreme Court ruled that Amtrak is a governmental entity for purposes of the Separation of Powers; therefore it did not violate the Constitution for Congress to give Amtrak a voice in the development of metrics and standards for evaluating the performance of passenger rail service. This was a non-controversial decision -- but it does have implications for King v. Burwell, the Affordable Care Act case.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Preview of Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans: Confederate Flag License Plates

How do you feel when you see a Confederate Flag? Proud? Angry? Terrified? Whatever your reaction, you would probably concede that under the First Amendment individuals have the right to display this symbol, for example on a bumper sticker on their cars. But would it make a difference if the flag were on a license plate?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Some Subtle Textual Arguments in King v. Burwell Addressed to Justice Scalia

In  a previous post I set forth the three statutory provisions that are under consideration in King v. Burwell and described the powerful constitutional arguments that were asserted by the federal government in support of the proposition that federal subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act are available to citizens in every state. These constitutional arguments were addressed to Justice Kennedy (who is committed to Federalism) and Chief Justice Roberts (who follows a pragmatic approach to legal interpretation). In this post I cover the more subtle textual arguments that were addressed to Justice Scalia.