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The First Monday of October Brings a New Supreme Court Term

This Monday was the first day of the new Supreme Court term and I was lucky enough to attend the first day’s oral arguments. Sitting in the leather benches waiting for the clock to strike 10 a.m. and the term to officially begin, I was struck by the history that has taken place in the very chamber I sat. Cases ending legal school segregation, granting women the right to access contraception and the right to an abortion, protecting freedom of speech, and most recently, giving all people—regardless of their sexual orientation—the right to marry the person they love, were all argued before the bench I sat in front of. Read more »

Meditations on the First Monday in October

This week, in anticipation of the Supreme Court Term beginning next Monday, NWLC has described some of the cases that the Court has decided to review that present issues important to women —including Green v. Brennan, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Union, Fisher v. University of Texas, and Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo — as well as cases implicating reproductive rights that the Court may still decide to take.  NWLC will be making sure throughout the Term that women’s voices and the impact of the Court’s decisions in these cases on women’s lives are heard. Read more »

Will the Supreme Court Take Yet Another Shot at Class Actions?

The Supreme Court is slated to hear Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo on November 10th. To understand this case, let’s begin by talking about wage theft.

What Is Wage Theft, and What Does It Have to Do with This Case?

Wage theft happens when an employer, in violation of minimum wage or overtime laws, refuses to pay a worker her full earnings for the time that she worked. Maybe the employer falsely states that the employee is an independent contractor who is not subject to overtime laws. Maybe the employer simply does not pay an employee for all the hours she’s worked. Or, as was the case in Tyson Foods, the employer pays the employee for only a part of the time involved in performing a particular task. Read more »

The Supreme Court's Many Opportunities to Stand Up for Reproductive Health This Year

During the 2015 Fall Term, which begins Monday, the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to hear several cases that would directly affect reproductive health.

Pending before the Court are cases about whether your boss can impose his religious beliefs about birth control on you, and cases about whether your right to abortion will depend on your zip code. Most experts, including us, are predicting that the Court will consider one of the birth control cases, and one of the abortion cases. But we do not yet know which of these cases will be heard. So here’s a preview of the issues at stake in the cases, and what it could mean for the Court to take one or more of them. Read more »

Race-Conscious University Admissions Back at the Court, With a Familiar Name

Although there is no date for oral argument set yet, the Court will once again hear Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin this year and consider the constitutionality of the consideration of race in public university admissions.

Round 1: Diversity in Admissions on the Table Read more »

The Attack on Public Unions Should End in Friedrichs

The Supreme Court will hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association this Term, deciding whether to erect new barriers to make it more difficult for working people to band together to make their voices heard on the job. Friedrichs presents the issue of whether the Constitution permits public employee unions to collect fair share fees from non-union workers who share in the benefits won through union representation. This issue is critical to the health of public sector unions. Read more »

Supreme Court Preview

Next Monday is the first day of the new Supreme Court term.  Every Term, the Court decides cases that impact the lives of millions of Americans, including women. Read more »

Preserving an Individual's Right to Sue After Enduring Intolerable Treatment at Work

This term, which begins next Monday, the Supreme Court is slated to hear a case that could raise new obstacles for individuals who faced intolerable discrimination in the workplace that forced them to quit their jobs. 

Green v. Donahoe (now listed as Green v. Brennan) asks the Court to decide whether, under Title VII, the clock for bringing a constructive discharge claim begins to run when an employee resigns or at the time of an employer's last discriminatory act prior to the resignation.

A constructive discharge occurs when an individual’s work environment has become so intolerable that the worker has no real choice other than quitting. She hasn’t been officially terminated, but leaving her job is a reasonable response to extreme and unchanging hostility or harassment at the workplace. Read more »

Marriage is Just the Beginning for Equality

Standing in front of the Supreme Court on the morning of June 26th, 2015 is a moment I will never forget. Rainbow flag in one hand, the news open on my cell phone in the other, I stood ready for a decision on marriage equality. The moment the Court announced that every state in the country must allow same-sex couples to marry, a cheer went up from the crowd. Couples kissed, flags were waved, and newscasters announced that it was the “culmination” of decades of activism.

Although that day was truly a day of celebration, do not take our joy as a signal that LGBTQ people are now equal. Equal marriage does not mark the end of the fight for equality for LGBTQ people. President Obama was right when he said the decision that day “made our union a little more perfect.” However, it is only a little more perfect. We still have a very long way to go before LGBTQ people are equals under the law. Read more »

Women Win: Wrapping Up the Supreme Court 2014-2015 Term

The 2014-2015 Supreme Court Term witnessed a number of blockbuster cases affecting women’s rights, from health care, to marriage equality, to housing discrimination, to pregnancy discrimination and other workplace protections. Several of these cases led to historic victories, while others resulted in positive, but more limited, decisions. Read more »