On May 18, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan. This case asks two questions. The first is whether law enforcement officers are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate a mentally ill suspect who is armed and hostile while they are bringing the suspect into custody. The second question is whether it was clearly established that even where an exception to the warrant requirement applied, an entry into a residence could be unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment by reason of the anticipated resistance of an armed and violent suspect within.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, by a vote of 6-2, the Court dismissed the grant of certiorari on the first question as improvidently granted. On the second question, the Court held that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity from suit because they did not violate any clearly established Fourth Amendment rights. The Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor joined Justice Alito's majority opinion. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, joined by Justice Kagan. Justice Breyer took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit was reversed in part and the case remanded.
To discuss the case, we have Tom Gede, who is a principal in Morgan Lewis Consulting LLC and of counsel to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
On April 29, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This case involves the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Title VII duty to investigate claims of discrimination levied against an employer and to make good faith efforts to eliminate discriminatory employment practices before filing suit against that employer. The question this case asks is whether and to what extent a court may enforce the EEOC's duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit.
In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held that courts have the authority to review whether the EEOC has fulfilled its statutory duty to conciliate discrimination claims prior to filing suit against an employer. The judgment of the Seventh Circuit was vacated and remanded.
To discuss the case, we have Mr. Paul Mirengoff. Mr. Mirengoff is a retired attorney in Washington, D.C. and is a blogger at powerlineblog.com.
On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar. This case asks whether Florida’s rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment.
In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that Florida's rule does not violate the First Amendment. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida was affirmed. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the Chief Justice’s opinion in full and Justice Ginsburg joined all except Part II. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, which Justice Breyer joined as to Part II. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Thomas joined. Justices Kennedy and Alito also filed dissenting opinions.
To discuss the case, we have Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School and Erik Jaffe, who is a sole practitioner at Erik S. Jaffe, PC.
On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean.
The question in this case concerns the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act, which prevents the government from terminating an employee for revealing “any violation of any law, rule, or regulation” or “a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety”--unless that revelation is "specifically prohibited by law." The question here is whether a federal air marshal’s disclosure that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had decided to cut costs by removing air marshals from certain long-distance flights was a disclosure “specifically prohibited by law.”
In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 7-2 that the disclosure in this case was not “specifically prohibited by law.” The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was affirmed. The Chief Justice’s opinion was joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Sotomayor issued a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Kennedy.
To discuss the case, we have Kevin Govern, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Ave Maria School of Law.
On April 22, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in two related cases: United States v. Wong and United States v. June.
In both cases the central issue is whether the time limit for filing a lawsuit or claim with a federal court or agency under the Federal Tort Claims Act can be suspended, or “tolled,” for reasons of equity.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that limitations periods under the Federal Tort Claims Act are subject to equitable tolling. Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined Justice Kagan’s opinion for the Court. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Thomas joined. The decision of the Ninth Circuit was affirmed and the case remanded.
To discuss the case, we have Prof. Richard Peltz-Steele, who is a Professor of Law at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth School of Law.