SHOW NOTES FOR EP #16: SUPREME COURT LINEUP

INTRODUCTION

Hello and welcome to Learning the Law, a podcast about all things legal with a focus on current events where we try and teach you things in an hour. My name is Ashley, aka PhoenixNymphy and my co-host who is the man of the hour, my husband Ron. This podcast is purely educational and should not be taken as legal advice, this podcast does not create an attorney-client relationship, this podcast is based on his interpretation of relevant law. Any opinions expressed are the opinions of the individual making them and do not reflect the opinions of any firm, company or other individuals. Ron is a licensed practicing attorney in the state of California.

Itinerary

  1. Our Weeks
  2. Questions from the audience
  3. Topic of the week – Supreme Court Docket
    1. California v Texas

Another challenge to the Affordable Care Act.  Congress got rid of the tax penalty in 2017.  The existence of that mandate was the reasoning of the Supreme Court previously as to why the Act was constitutional.  Now that the mandate is gone, plaintiffs are alleging the Act is now unconstitutional. 

B. Bronovich v. DNC

At issue are bans in Arizona against ballot harvesting and voting in the wrong precinct.  Could raise the bar for challenges to voter suppression laws under Section 2 of the Voting rights Act of 1965.

Section 2 prohibits voting practices that “result[] in a denial or abridgment of the right * * * to vote on account of race or color [or language-minority status],” and it states that such a result “is established” if a jurisdiction’s “political processes * * * are not equally open” to members of such a group “in that [they] have less opportunity * * * to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.” 52 U.S.C. 10301. […] Subsection (b) states in relevant part: A violation of subsection (a) is established if, based on the totality of circumstances, it is shown that the political processes leading to nomination or election in the State or political subdivision are not equally open to participation by members of a class of citizens protected by subsection (a) in that its members have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.[79][80]

C.  Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia involves a Catholic social-services agency that refused to comply with Philadelphia’s laws against anti-LGBTQ discrimination in adoption placements made subsequent to a city contract.

The New York Times suggests the Fulton decision could continue the judicial march toward a separate, parallel set of rules for those claiming religious grounds for discrimination:

The justices’ questions during oral arguments seemed to point to a ruling in favor of the Catholic agency … That would restrict the impact of the 2015 ruling establishing a right to same-sex marriage, making clear that LGBTQ Americans could not expect the same protections as other groups. It would also raise questions about whether the newly conservative court might one day revisit that 2015 ruling.

If Justice Neil Gorsuch writes the opinion in Fulton, look out. He has quickly become the Court’s chief champion of “religious liberty,” defined as focusing on the right to fully exercise one’s faith as opposed to the right to be free of state-supported religious teachings. That’s despite the great notoriety he gained from writing a 2020 opinion that said LGBTQ workers are protected by federal anti-discrimination laws (a matter of statutory interpretation in which Gorsuch followed the plain-meaning “textualist” doctrines of Justice Antonin Scalia).

D,  Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.

involves Brandi Levy, a Pennsylvania high-school cheerleader penalized by her school after she posted a profane Snapchat tirade complaining about her failure to make the varsity squad. Existing precedents drawing a bright line between censorship of on-campus and off-campus utterances, and of expressions which are “disruptive” of school communities, don’t seem to apply very clearly. The case has created some conflict between points of view that are usually aligned, as Reuters points out:

Many schools and educators, supported by President Joe Biden’s administration, have argued that ending their authority over students at the schoolhouse gates could make it harder to curb bullying, racism, cheating, and invasions of privacy — all frequently occurring online.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Levy, has argued that students need protection from censorship and monitoring of their beliefs.

Levy won decisively in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but it’s unclear how the Supreme Court will rule.

CLOSING

Thank you so much for listening to Learning the Law. If you liked this podcast and want to hear more, don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow, and share in all your favorite places. You can find it hosted on twitch at twitch.tv/phoenixnymphy use the hashtag #learningthelaw on tiktok to follow more there. You can find Ron on twitter at Necrokijo and Ashley on most social media platforms at PhoenixNymphy. If you have any questions please tweet, comment, or email at twolazydogsmedia@gmail.com. This has been a Two Lazy Dogs production.

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