In an order issued today, the US Supreme Court has granted the Trump administration's request to stay orders in two cases filed in federal district courts within the 9th Circuit to block the administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military from going into effect. The Court's decision permits the ban to be temporarily implemented while the cases progress through the appeals process and any Supreme Court review. The Court denied the Trump administration's request to bypass the appellate process completely, but provides a preview of how the Court will likely rule if it hears these cases on the merits.
On Monday, December 3, 2018, the United States Supreme Court vacated the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals's decision in Fleck v. Wetch, No. 16-1564 (8th Cir. 2017) and remanded the case to the 8th Circuit to decide whether mandatory state bar association fees translate to compelled association and compelled speech.
The US Supreme court will not hear two cases stemming from state efforts to prevent Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving funding under Medicaid. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito voted to hear the cases, but Chief Justice Roberts and the newly-confirmed Justice Kavanaugh voted with the Court's liberal justices to turn the cases away; four votes are needed to hear a case. This split among the conservative wing of the Court may reflect Chief Justice Roberts' intention to keep the Court out of hotly contested issues, and of Justice Kavanaugh's willingness to follow along, at least for the time being.
The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled against the Trump administration's attempt to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA permits approximately 600,000 unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the US as children to remain in the country legally by seeking permission from the Department of Homeland Security every two years. Though the Trump administration had asked the US Supreme Court to weigh in on the case pending in the 9th Circuit before the appellate ruling, now that the appellate court has issued its decision, it is even more likely that the Supreme Court will take up the matter in 2019.
In its first decision from this term, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled earlier today that state and local governments must follow labor laws that ban age discrimination regardless of the number of their employees. Plaintiffs in Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido were two former Arizona firefighters who argued that the Mount Lemmon Fire District laid them off in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Because the fire department had fewer than 20 employees, the defendant argued that they were too small to qualify as an employer who had to comply with the law.
The US Supreme Court heard arguments this week in its second session of the 2018–2019 term. The cases argued span a wide range of topics, including arbitration, criminal procedure, federal Indian law, sovereign immunity, and class action settlements.
The US Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case in which two individuals sued a New York cable-TV public access channel for violating their First Amendment rights by banning them from the channel's services and facilities. In Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, the two petitioners, Halleck and Melendez, argue that the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) unconstitutionally banned them from the public access channel, which they argue is a public forum subject to the First Amendment.
Recently, an eight-justice U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case involving Mississippi gopher frogs, which are believed to be in danger of extinction and are limited to a small handful of habitats. To address this issue, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated 1,500 acres in Louisiana as a…