Tag Archives: amendment

Targeting Union Employees For Layoffs Violates The First Amendment

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals brings an interesting labor decision.  In State Employee Bargaining Coalitation v. Roland, ___F.3d___( 2d Cir. May 31, 2013), the court found that targeting Union employees for layoffs violates the First Amendment (freedom of association).

In this case, the employer employed around 50,000 people.  75% of these employees were members of the Union, and 25% were not.  In December 2002, the employer fired only Union employees.  No non-Union employees were fired.

It is important to note that an employer can manage the size of their work force.  However, the employer cannot target a protected group (here, employees who associated themselves with the Union).  The reason for this is because by targeting a protected group, the effect is to inhibit employees from their freedom to associate.

Under the Constitution, in order for the employer to not violate the Constitution it must show that they used the less restrictive means to accomplish their interest and must be narrowly tailored to achieve their goals.

The following are the pivotal facts of this case.  The employer’s interest was to manage their economical situation.  However, the laying off those Union employees had a minimal effect on their budget.  In fact, these Union-only lay offs were not included in the Balanced Budget Plan.  Further, the facts showed that because both Union and non-Union employees had the same health care and pension benefits there was no reason why only the Union employees were targeted.

via Adjunct Law Prof Blog: Targeting Union Employees For Layoffs Violates The First Amendment.

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Filed under Appellate, civil rights, courts, discrimination, District Court, employment, federal, labor, legal decision, union

DOMA is unconstitutional

The Supreme Court opinion on United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307 (2013) held that DOMA was unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment when it failed to recognize same-sex marriage federally.

It is important to note that the reasoning behind this ruling was based on the fact that there are States which granted same-sex marriage but were not recognized federally.  By failing to recognize those same-sex marriages, the government was discriminating against same-sex married couples.  In doing so, same-sex married couples were deprived of the benefits and responsibilities of over 1,000 federal laws.  Including protections under criminal law and provide financial harm to children of same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court noted that the State’s authority to regulate marriages was being squashed by the federal government.  Based on precedent, “[e]ach state as a sovereign has a rightful and legitimate concern in the marital status of persons domiciled within its borders.”  “The definition of marriage is the foundation of the State’s broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations with respect to the ‘[p]rotection of offspring, property interests, and the enforcement of marital responsibilities.'” (italics added).

Instead of respecting the State’s authority to regulate marriages, DOMA’s purpose was to “impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a sigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.”

Given that DOMA’s purpose was to impose restrictions and disabilities, the Supreme Court stated that “[b]y doing so [DOMA] violates basic due process and equal protection principles.”

The Supreme Court found that

DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.  The principal purpose is to impose inequality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency….

DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities.  By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect.

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Supreme Court refuses to hear 2nd Amendment case

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case that contended the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a gun in public.  The denial of this petition had no comments.  Because there were no comments to the denied petition, there is no way to know why the Supreme Court chose not to get involved in this controversy.

The case is Kachalsky v. Cacace.  The issues presented to the Supreme Court were:

  1. Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns for self-defense outside the home; and
  2. Whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by denying handgun carry licenses to responsible, law-abiding adults for lack of “proper cause” to bear arms for self-defense.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Kachalsky v. County of Westchester, 701 F.3d 81 (2d. Cir. 2012)) affirmed the district court’s decision to grant summary judgment to the State.  The district court found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.  The district court concluded that carrying concealed weapons in public is “outside of the core of the Second Amendment concern.”  Alternatively, the district court also concluded that the “proper cause” requirement would survive the scrutiny under the Second Amendment.

The SCOTUS blog,

 

 

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Voter ID and MN Sup Ct

Minnesota Supreme Court justices must now decide whether the voter ID constitutional amendment gets on the statewide ballot in its current form.

Six of the seven justices heard oral arguments today in the lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters Minnesota and several other groups. Those amendment opponents claim the ballot question is too vague and misleading. Their attorney, Bill Pentelovitch, told justices that the biggest omission is no mention of a new provisional balloting system.

“The ballot question should at least give as much information as you would expect somebody, a consumer, a voter to get if they were going to buy a car or buy a house,” Pentelovitch said. “You would expect somebody not to lie to them and to at least tell them about the major things going on here, and this ballot question doesn’t do that.”

A lawyer for the Minnesota Legislature defended the ballot question. Thomas Boyd said the courts have previously given legislators wide latitude in the presentation of constitutional amendments.

“Concise statements, imperfect summaries, so on and so forth, they will not always contain every aspect of its subject,” Boyd said. “But the constitution says it’s the legislature and the Legislature alone that gets to formulate that brief summary.”

A ruling in the case could come next month.

via Supreme Court hears voter ID case | Capitol View | Minnesota Public Radio.

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