Supreme Court Justices Suggest They'll Split on Workers' Class-Action Rights

Wednesday, 04 Oct, 2017

The Supreme Court begins a new term today that will be packed with high-stakes cases on issues from partisan gerrymandering to whether private outfits such as a bakery can refuse service to same-sex weddings. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said that the unusual lineup "will be a first for me in the almost 25 years I've served on the court".

It's one of a handful of labor-related cases on the Supreme Court's docket.

But that's all over now. But the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, gave no indications of his views, saying nothing during the hour-long session. Rumors floating around suggest that Kennedy may be retiring soon, taking away the chance for liberals to win on issues like immigration and LGBT rights. They found common ground and resisted a definitive ruling on Trump's travel ban, which critics have derided as an effort to exclude Muslims.

- Political gerrymandering that challengers argue favors Republics in violation of the Constitution.

"But the administration says the White House has the authority to act to restrict immigration".

Principal Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, arguing for the administration, echoed Clement's argument, telling the justices that the FAA unambiguously requires enforcement of mandatory arbitration provisions, while the NLRA is rather imprecise on the matter. The Supreme Court already allowed some of the travel ban to go into effect several months ago.

None of the four liberal-leaning justices seems keen to join them.

The case was first considered last term, when the court was short-handed following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

In addition, the Supreme Court will hear two voting-related cases, Husted v. Randolph Insitute and Gill v. Whitford. If Kennedy were to retire, Trump is sure to continue his form and nominate a solidly constitutional conservative justice. The prospect of winning a large damages award in a class action can be the only way for workers to find lawyers to take their cases, they argue.

"The confidentiality agreement's not going to stop the same lawyer from thinking about the three cases in conjunction", he said.

Now, the justices are slated to hear full arguments. Democrats in Wisconsin are challenging the maps drawn up to benefit Republicans. The court's ruling on this decision has the potential to reshape the US political landscape.

On the other side, the couple says that Phillips' arguments are a pretext for discrimination.

Monday's cases were watched closely by labor rights groups and employment lawyers.

Until now, however, the cases before the court have involved consumer class actions, and there was little uproar over the court's upholding binding arbitration for consumer disputes, or even its rejection of class actions in arbitration for consumers. The Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest USA administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, refused to cancel his expulsion because the law involved defines burglary as a "crime of violence".

This term, those topics include redistricting, religious liberty, gay rights and whistleblowing.

At the center of the case is Jack Phillips, who owns a bakery called Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. The arbitration law makes it "clear that these agreements ought to be enforced", he said.

It also has reversed the Obama administration's stance in support of protections for gay workers under federal law, an issue that could reach the court within weeks.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court, while calling off the October 10 hearing, raised the question of whether that review will be foregone, in the wake of the new policy approach. The government may not enact content-based laws commanding a speaker to engage in protected expression: "An artist cannot be forced to paint, a musician cannot be forced to play, and a poet cannot be forced to write".

They're wrong. The workers are right.

"A ruling for the bakery would have implications far beyond LGBT people and would put in jeopardy our longstanding laws against discrimination", she said. In Carpenter v. United States, the court will answer whether or not prosecutors need a warrant to track a persons location through wireless data.

By seeking to use the existing case as the basis for a new challenge, the two groups hope to take advantage of the fact that they would get the same judge, a judge who had ruled their way on the March 6 order and who was familiar with the whole controversy, and they would avoid some of the preliminary procedural requirements of starting a completely new lawsuit.