LGBTQ Discrimination Decision May Help The Climate | Who’s The Culprit Of Ongoing Election Chaos? Look No Further Than SCOTUS
June 24, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY|
On this day in 1992, the Supreme Court strengthened its 30-year ban on officially sponsored worship in public schools, prohibiting prayer as a part of graduation ceremonies.
THERE IS NO PLANET B|
John Schwartz with The New York Times considers how the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on LGBTQ workplace rights could give a boost to climate lawsuits. ANN E. CARLSON, an expert on climate change law at UCLA, said in a blog post that the court’s decision written by JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH “provides potent ammunition” for using the Clean Air Act to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Schwartz writes, “Some Supreme Court justices have argued that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the power to broadly regulate greenhouse gases because the authors of the Clean Air Act did not specifically address climate change. Now, though, Justice Gorsuch’s decision ‘will surely be used,’ Professor Carlson wrote, to persuade the court that broad regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act lies squarely within the text of the statute.”
WHO'S REALLY TO BLAME|
Bill Barrow with The Associated Press reports that Republicans have been blaming the recent examples of election chaos during primaries on Democrats. In reality, he notes, the blame should probably be pointed at the Supreme Court. Barrow writes that the election issues playing out in states like Georgia and Kentucky are a manifestation of Shelby County v. Holder — the 2013 landmark decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act. “Seven years later, the fallout from that decision is colliding with unprecedented changes to the way elections are being conducted. In response to the coronavirus, many states are encouraging mail-in voting. That — combined with a reduction in poll workers — has prompted the consolidation of polling places.”
“Earlier this month, Libertarian REP. JUSTIN AMASH introduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act. The bill, now co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, would eliminate qualified immunity, a judicially created legal doctrine that protects many police officers from lawsuits brought by victims of excessive force. Ending qualified immunity is an important measure for increasing law enforcement accountability, and because the U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it will not reconsider its qualified immunity decisions, the onus is now on Congress to act. But this task is an odd one because the Ending Qualified Immunity Act amends a law that never expressly included qualified immunity in the first place.” In The National Law Journal, Orion de Nevers describes the history of qualified immunity and the decisions from the Supreme Court that made it possible. Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 was supposed to hold law enforcement liable for acts that deprive others of their constitutional or statutory rights, and nearly 150 years later, it’s time to make good on that promise, says de Nevers.
A CARDINAL RULE?|
Just three days before the Supreme Court ruled employers can’t fire workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, a Michigan woman was informed by Catholic officials that she is to be fired from her part-time job as a church music director because she is married to a woman. Kathleen Gray with The New York Times reports, “In his opinion, JUSTICE NEIL M. GORSUCH recognized the existence of protections for religious institutions in employment, including the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a ‘ministerial exception’ in employment discrimination laws. But there are also cases before the Supreme Court regarding religious exemptions to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that could address protections for religious organizations more directly.”