Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Encino Motorcars v. Navarro that auto-service advisors are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime-pay requirement. Subscript has a graphic explainer for the opinion. At CNN, Joan Biskupic reports that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned in her dissent that “[t]he conservative majority is undermining worker protections from the 1930s … ‘without even acknowledging that it unsettles more than half a century of our precedent.’” At Ogletree Deakins’ blog, Alfred Robinson and Hera Arsen note that “[i]n what may be the most striking aspect of this decision, the Court rejected one of the rationales for the Ninth Circuit’s decision that was based upon a longstanding principle that FLSA exemptions should be narrowly construed.” Additional commentary comes from Allan Bloom in The National Law Review and Paul DeCamp, also at The National Law Review.
The justices also issued orders yesterday from last Thursday’s conference, adding one case to their merits docket for next year and summarily reversing a lower-court denial of qualified immunity in a civil-rights lawsuit that stemmed from a police shooting, in Kisela v. Hughes. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog; her coverage first appeared at Howe on the Court. At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports that with its decision in Kisela, the court “has again stepped into the bitter public turmoil over police shootings of civilians, ruling … that an Arizona police officer is shielded from being sued for shooting a woman in her own front yard.” For The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented, calling the decision “part of a disturbing trend of ‘unflinching willingness’ to protect police officers accused of using excessive force.” Additional coverage comes from Bill Mears at Fox News, David Savage for the Los Angeles Times, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, and Howard Fischer at Capitol Media Services (via the Arizona Capitol Times). At The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that Sotomayor’s dissent, along with her lone dissent to the court’s denial of review in two death-penalty cases from Florida, “fit her longtime practice of speaking out in cases in which defendants, in her view, are given short shrift.” At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Jonathan Blanks argues that “qualified immunity effectively guts the best civil rights protection in federal law and, more broadly, police officers must be held accountable for their unconstitutional actions.”
For The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin reports that the court also “turned away American victims of terrorist attacks in Israel seeking to sue the Palestine Liberation Organization, its unsigned order the latest legal setback for private efforts to hold sponsors and financiers of international terrorism legally accountable.” At CNN, Ariane de Vogue reports that “[t]he Trump administration urged the court to stay out of the dispute, saying there were currently no splits among the circuits that would warrant the Supreme Court’s intervention.”
- First Mondays (podcast) recaps the second week of the March sitting, including “what the Chief’s opinion in Hall v. Hall means for the definition of ‘consolidation’” and “round two of partisan gerrymandering in Benisek v. Lamone.”
- The Yale Journal on Regulation’s Notice & Comment blog kicks off a two-week-long symposium on in Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, which involves “the constitutionality of hiring procedures for administrative law judges in the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
- At The World and Everything In It, Mary Reichard discusses the oral arguments in Upper Skagit Indian Tribe v. Lundgren, in which the justices considered tribal immunity from state-court actions to adjudicate title to land, and United States v. Sanchez-Gomez, which involves questions of appellate jurisdiction and mootness in the context of a challenge to a federal court district-wide policy of shackling defendants for most nonjury proceedings.
- At Talking Points Memo, Richard Hasen argues that when it decides Abbott v. Perez, which asks “whether the state of Texas violated the Voting Rights Act and the United States Constitution when it drew congressional and state legislative district lines in ways that hurt Latino and African-American voters,” the court “may soon fulfill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s vision of an emasculated Voting Rights Act and much weaker protections for minority voters by the federal courts.”
- At Balkinization, PhD student Calvin TerBeek sets out to “canvas three recent books that take aim at shaping Scalia’s legacy and discern how the ongoing … process of legacy-construction is starting to take shape,” concluding that “Scalia’s legacy is in flux and will continue to be over the long term.”
- At The George Washington University Law Review’s On the Docket blog, Katy Ramsey discusses the opinion in Murphy v. Smith, in which the justices held that courts must apply up to 25 percent of a judgment to pay attorney’s fees in civil-rights cases brought on behalf of prisoners, arguing that the “ruling in Murphy is a setback for access to justice for a population of litigants that is already significantly disadvantaged.”
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