Watch This A Post Roe America: a conversation with Professor Melissa Murray
Professor Murray, host of the hit podcast Strict Scrutiny, joined us for a fireside chat as part of our Next Gen Awards celebration. Conversation begins at 26:48.
More of This The progressive lawyers fighting an anti-labor SCOTUS
Latrice Saxon wanted her day in court, and Southwest Airlines wanted to make sure she never got it. Saxon is a “ramp supervisor” for the company, which requires her to load and unload cargo from its planes. Southwest allegedly required her to work much longer than the 40 hours a week for which she was compensated—but it never provided the overtime pay mandated by federal law. When she sued on behalf of herself and other alleged victims, the airline asked the court to toss out her case. It turns out Southwest imposes mandatory arbitration on non-union employees like Saxon, compelling them to make their case individually before a private (and often biased) arbitrator instead of a judge and jury. And so, the company argued, she forfeited her right to sue by agreeing to work there.
On Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected Southwest’s argument, siding with the tens of thousands of people who handle baggage, airmail, and other cargo for U.S airlines. The decision marks the second time in two weeks that the court has shot down a corporation’s efforts to escape the courthouse by forcing an employee into arbitration. It does not augur a shift in SCOTUS’ pro-business bent, or even a reconsideration of its atrocious arbitration precedents. Rather, these two victories primarily demonstrate that public interest lawyers have become incredibly skilled at litigating arbitration cases, developing shrewd, savvy strategies to overcome the conservative majority’s arbitration mania.
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Less of This Conservative justices keep winning, so why are they so angry?
The Supreme Court stands ready to hand down decisions in almost 30 cases this month, including blockbusters around abortion rights, gun rights, environmental protections, and religious liberty. On this week’s Amicus podcast, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern discussed the big themes animating an end of term weighted down by an unprecedented leak, judicial infighting, public protests, and an investigation of Supreme Court clerks. Their conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.
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Say It Louder Justice Sotomayor warns that SCOTUS keeps obliterating our rights
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court abolished individuals’ ability to sue Customs and Border Protection agents who violate their constitutional rights. In the process, the conservative supermajority came close to smothering lawsuits against all federal officers who defy the Constitution, granting them near-impenetrable immunity. The liberal justices, in dissent, took the extraordinary step of identifying the cause of this disturbing development: the addition of new justices appointed by Donald Trump.
Wednesday’s case, Egbert v. Boule, is the latest and most thorough attack on accountability for federal agents who break the law. The decision arises from a loophole in the federal statute that lets individuals sue law enforcement for damages. This statute authorizes suits against state law enforcement officers who infringe on civil rights. Sheriffs, local cops, highway patrol—all can be sued in federal court for constitutional violations. But the statute does not authorize such suits against law enforcement officers who work for the federal government. If the courts do not provide some measure of accountability, these officers can flout the law with near impunity.
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