B|Ecourts: The Future of Overtime in SCOTUS. Mail Ballot Problems in PA. Eliminating Late Fees in San Francisco
Unpacking what's happening in federal, state & local court cases of interest - because those decisions could affect you, too
Supreme Court (from SCOTUSblog …)
Helix Energy Solutions Group v. Hewitt - Whether a supervisor making over $200,000 each year is entitled to overtime pay because the standalone regulatory exemption set forth in 29 C.F.R. § 541.601 remains subject to the detailed requirements of 29 C.F.R. § 541.604 when determining whether highly compensated supervisors are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime-pay requirements.
Axon Enterprise v. Federal Trade Commission - Whether Congress impliedly stripped federal district courts of jurisdiction over constitutional challenges to the Federal Trade Commission’s structure, procedures, and existence by granting the courts of appeals jurisdiction to “affirm, enforce, modify, or set aside” the commission’s cease-and-desist orders.
Haaland v. Brackeen - Whether various provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 — namely, the minimum standards of Section 1912(a), (d), (e), and (f); the placement-preference provisions of Section 1915(a) and (b); and the recordkeeping provisions of Sections 1915(e) and 1951(a) — violate the anticommandeering doctrine of the 10th Amendment; (2) whether the individual plaintiffs have Article III standing to challenge ICWA’s placement preferences for “other Indian families” and for “Indian foster home[s]”; and (3) whether Section 1915(a)(3) and (b)(iii) are rationally related to legitimate governmental interests and therefore consistent with equal protection.
9th Circuit (16 Democratic Appointed Judges. 13 Republican Appointed Judges. Of these, 10 are Trump appointees))
Federal appeals court agrees Grants Pass ordinances violated constitutional rights of homeless - A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld a ruling that found the city of Grants Pass in southern Oregon violated the constitutional rights of people experiencing homelessness through a series of ordinances designed to prevent sleeping outside on public property.
5th Circuit (12 Republican Appointed Judges. Of these, 6 were Trump Appointees. 4 Democratic Appointed Judges)
Chaplain's prayer before court isn't coercive, doesn't violate establishment clause, 5th Circuit rules - A federal appeals court has rejected an establishment clause challenge to chaplain-led prayer before court sessions at a justice of the peace court in Texas. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans ruled Sept. 29 that the prayers instituted by Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack were constitutional because they weren’t coercive.
Federal appeals court in NOLA mulls Biden vaccine mandate for US contractors - A federal appeals court in New Orleans is the latest to hear arguments on whether President Joe Biden overstepped his authority in ordering federal contractors to require their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Pennsylvania counties can help voters fix problems with their mail ballots, state court rules - A state judge cleared the way Thursday for Pennsylvania counties to continue helping voters correct small mistakes on their submitted mail ballots, saying nothing in the law prohibits the practice.
Gov. DeSantis administration’s proposed new autism rules challenged in state court - A proposed rule pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration that would require poor children with autism to undergo comprehensive diagnostic evaluations twice a year to receive applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services has been challenged in state administrative court. Florida Association of Behavior Analysis (FABA) challenged the proposed rule in state administrative court, arguing that it violates federal Medicaid law because it will slow down access to care and it will increase providers’ operating costs. The group is also arguing that the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) overstepped its authority and that the proposed rules are vague, arbitrary and capricious.
Missouri Supreme Court upholds law stripping state workers of merit system protections - Most Missouri state employees are “at-will” workers not entitled to seniority protections or grievance rights when they are fired, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. In an opinion that overturned a Cole County Circuit Court decision, the high court declared that a 2018 law repealing the merit system for most state workers is constitutional. Three unions representing state employees alleged the law illegally altered their collective bargaining agreements by denying them job protections guaranteed in the contracts.
Alabama Supreme Court blocks no bail order for Montgomery Circuit Court - Alabama Supreme Court justices on Friday suspended and stayed an administrative order entered by Judge Johnny Hardwick, the presiding judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, that would have taken effect on Saturday. The court’s order stopped Judge Hardwick’s order, which would eliminate bail for persons charged with non-violent traffic or misdemeanor offenses, and many Class D, C, or B felonies.
Travis County, Texas
Toll road agency, tech firm square off in court - At the end of a lengthy hearing Tuesday, Judge Eric Shepperd of Travis County Court at Law No. 2 told lawyers for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and the technology company suing the agency he would be back with a decision as soon as possible on whether the toll road authority must repair drainage problems related to construction of the U.S. Highway 183 toll road. Tech 3443, which is turning the former Motorola campus in East Austin into a mixed-use innovation district, is seeking to force CTRMA to fix a severe water pollution problem it claims the agency caused by poor planning and using negligent construction techniques.
Duval County, Florida
Lawsuit filed against Duval County Circuit Court, clerk after deaf couple say they were unlawfully denied marriage license - On Oct. 15, 2021, the 10th anniversary of the day they met, Joel Alfaro and Yusela Machado Silvente, who are deaf, went to the Duval County Clerk of Circuit Court’s office to get their marriage license. According to the lawsuit, Alfaro and Machado Silvente were told that they needed to bring a sign language interpreter with them in order to get a marriage license. The suit states this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco Court Eliminates $50 Million in Late Fees for Traffic Fines - The San Francisco Superior Court eliminated $50 million in outstanding fees last week, according to a statement from the city treasurer's office. The move cancelled 180,000 civil assessments. The change, in line with Assembly Bill 199, will also reduce the fee going forward from $300 to $100 for late payments. In addition, the money will now go to the state's general fund, rather than to fund local courts. The move is meant to curb the incentive courts have for raising revenue through issuing citations.