Blog Archives

Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions on Legality of Subsidies under the Affordable Care Act

On July 22, 2014, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia handed down conflicting decisions in the matters of King v. Burwell and Halbig v. Burwell. In both of these cases, the plaintiffs were challenging an IRS rule that allows any individual enrolled in a qualified […]

Fifth Circuit Upholds the Use of Race in Admissions at the University of Texas

For a second time, the Fifth Circuit dismissed Abigail Fisher’s claim against the University of Texas at Austin (the “University”), holding that the University’s admissions policy, including the use of race as a factor, passes the strict scrutiny standard and is permissible under the Equal Protection Clause. The case has been in various courts since […]

Christian College Expels Student After Learning of Her Same-sex Marriage

“The honeymoon phase is over” has a whole new meaning for former Southwestern Christian University student, Christian Minard. Ms. Minard married her same-sex partner in Albuquerque, New Mexico in March 2014. Although she was not expecting a congratulatory card from her Christian College, she was surprised to return from her honeymoon to a letter of […]

New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Fracking Bans

The New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 decision, held that the New York State Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”) does not preempt municipal zoning authority.  The Court explained that land use regulation is among the most fundamental powers granted to municipalities and thus can be preempted only where there is a […]

The Supreme Court’s Decision in Harris v. Quinn May Change the Landscape of Labor Unions in America

On June 30, 2014, in the matter of Harris v. Quinn, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision holding that the First Amendment prohibits the collection of an agency fee from home health care providers who do not wish to join or a support a union. The plaintiffs in this case were personal assistant health […]

Noteworthy Changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Regarding E-Discovery

The proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rules”) we have all been waiting for have finally been approved by the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (“Standing Committee”). Before these amendments, the most recent revisions of the Rules occurred in 2006 to include e-discovery, and because of the continuing increase in […]

Onionhead: Do Firings Over a Non-Religious Practice Violate Title VII?

A Syosset, New York company is being charged with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act after employees claimed they were fired for not participating in the belief system of the employer. It appears to be a clear religious discrimination violation; however, there is a twist. The belief system that the company forced upon […]

Supreme Court holds that the “Contraception Mandate” of the Affordable Care Act violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its highly-anticipated decision in the matters of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burell.  In each of these cases, for-profit corporations owned and operated by Christian families argued that the “Contraception Mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) […]

Federal Judge Upholds New York City Policy Barring Unvaccinated Students from Attending School During Periods of Disease Outbreak

On June 04, 2014, Judge William F. Kuntz II of the Eastern District of New York upheld a controversial New York City policy that prohibits unvaccinated children from attending school when a classmate becomes infected with a vaccine-preventable disease, such as the chicken pox or measles. New York State requires all children be vaccinated prior […]

Supreme Court to Protect Information on Cell Phones

The digital age has created a world in which over-sharing is the norm and electronic devices are capable of storing significant amounts of one’s personal information. However, in an important step to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens, the Supreme Court has declared information on cell phones and smart phones off-limits for warrantless searches. In […]