Tag Archives: federal law

Campaign donation issue reopened

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 12-536.   The gist of this case deals with the constitutionality of the two-year ceilings that federal law sets on what an individual can give during a campaign for the presidency or Congress, in donations to candidates, to political parties, or to other political committees.

The Supreme Court did not explicitly promise whether it would reconsider its decision in Buckley v. Valeo (1976).  Since Buckley, the government had more leeway to control contributions to candidates or political organizations than over spending by candidates or by independent political activists.

In 2010, the Supreme Court decided a hotly controversial decision in Citizens United v. FEC.  In Citizens United, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional any limit on spending during federal campaigns by corporations or labor unions, so long as they spent the money independently of a candidate or candidate organization.

In McCutcheon, McCutcheon wants to be able to give more contributions than the two-year overall limits.  McCutcheon’s contributions, if he could go over the limit, would have exceeded the two-year ceiling by $26,200.

Under federal law, the ceiling for the 2011-2012 campaign season was $2,500 per election to any candidate or a candidate’s campaign organization, no more than $30,800 per year to a national political party, no more than $10,000 per year to a state political party, and no more than $5,000 to any other political committee.

The two year ceiling for that same period, which is the issue in this case, is set at $177,000 overall.  That is broken down into $46,200 to a candidate for federal office and $70,800 to non-candidate entities.  The second amount was restricted in that no more than $46,200 could be given to a state party or a non-candidate committee.

via Campaign donation issue reopened : SCOTUSblog.

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Failure-to-warn not preempted by federal law

The Ninth Circuit (en banc) held that a state-law failure-to-warn was not preempted by the Medical Device Amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  The Ninth Circuit explained that the Amendments parallels the state-law claim, and therefore does not preempt, either expressly or impliedly.

What does this mean?  The federal court of appeals made a decision whether a federal court or a state court had jurisdiction over the failure-to-warn claims.  The failure-to-warn state-law claims arise when a medical manufacturer fails to warn the patients or its physicians of known-dangers of the medical device.

The arguments in the lawsuit were rooted on the MDA explicit preemption clause – which provided that federal courts had the power to hear the case exclusively.

So why was that preemption clause irrelevant to this situation?  The Supreme Court had previously ruled, in 3 preemption cases under the MDA, that the MDA does not preempt a state-law claim for violating a state-law duty that parallels a federal-law duty under the MDA.

 

If anything else, this is a very interesting read if you are interested in preemption rationales – express, field, and conflict.

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DFR preemption

This case comes to no suprise

Ramlogan v. 1199, ___F.Supp. 2d _____S.D.N.Y. Jan. 12, 2012, is case summarizing DFR law.  What is most interesting is footnote 3 where the court indicated that state law discrimination claims are preempted by federal DFR law.

Footnote 3 provides,

Although the complaint does not reference federal, plaintiffs state law claims allege conduct that is within defendant’s duty of fair representation and, thus, they are preempted by federal law. See, e.g. Zuckerman v. Volumes Services America. Inc., 304 F.Supp.2d 365, 373 (E.D.N.Y. 2004)(finding that the plaintiffs state law claim alleging that the union discriminated against her on account of her disability by failing to file a grievance on her behalf and to refer the matter to arbitration amounted to a claim for breach of the duty of fair representation and was, thus, preempted by federal law; Marrero v. City of New York, No. 02 Civ. 6634, 2003 WL 1621921, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 28, 2003)(finding that the plaintiffs claim alleging that the union failed to represent him fairly at grievance hearings imposed no new duty on the union that was not already required by the duty of fair representation and, thus, was preempted by federal law.

via Adjunct Law Prof Blog.

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