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Supreme Court

Student Loan Forgiveness Program Appears Headed For Defeat

A right-wing majority of the Supreme Court is on the verge of denying student debt relief to more than 40 million borrowers. On February 28, the high court heard oral arguments in a pair of cases challenging President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. Instituted to ameliorate the effects of the COVID pandemic, the program could provide up to $20,000 of debt relief to people with federally held loans. The first case heard by the court was Biden v. Nebraska, brought by Republican state attorneys general from Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina against Biden, his Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and the Department of Education.

Biden DOJ Backing Norfolk Southern’s Bid To Block Lawsuits

A looming Supreme Court decision could end up making it easier for the railroad giant whose train derailed in Ohio this month to block lawsuits, including from victims of the disaster. In the case against Norfolk Southern, the Biden administration is siding with the railroad in its conflict with a cancer-stricken former rail worker. A high court ruling for Norfolk Southern could create a national precedent limiting where workers and consumers can bring cases against corporations. The lawsuit in question, filed initially in a Pennsylvania county court in 2017, deals with a state law that permits plaintiffs to file suit against any corporation registered to do business there, even if the actions that gave rise to the case occurred elsewhere.

What A Supreme Court Ruling Could Mean For Fast-Food Unions

The strike is the worker’s most powerful tool. The action directly demonstrates the worker’s value — how hospitals don’t run without nurses, how websites don’t run without writers, how schools don’t run without adjunct professors. And with both the Red Cup Day strike and the Double Down strike in 2022, how Starbucks can’t run without its baristas. But the Supreme Court is currently hearing a case that could drastically affect workers’ ability to strike, and thus have huge ramifications for the wave of organizing within the food service industry. Glacier Northwest v. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters concerns the decision of 1959’s San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, which protects unions from being sued for striking. In the case, which the Supreme Court began hearing on January 10, Glacier Northwest, a building material company, claims the Teamsters deliberately timed a 2017 strike so that mixing trucks would be filled with concrete, which could have resulted in damaged equipment and destroyed product. 

The Supreme Court Could Gut The Right To Strike

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments January 10 in Glacier Northwest Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 174, a court case that labor advocates say threatens the right to strike. “The ability to withhold your labor is the one powerful tool throughout the history of unionization that has ensured workers can improve their working conditions,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien offered in a statement issued the same day. “This right is now on trial at the Supreme Court,” O’Brien said, calling on the court to affirm the rulings of lower courts. Noel J. Francisco, the Jones Day attorney representing Glacier Northwest, did not respond to a request for comment. C.M. Lewis, working for In These Times, interviewed Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research and a senior lecturer at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations about the potential labor implications of the case.

Inside The Supreme Court Case That Could Chill A Strike Wave

The Supreme Court is about to consider whether employers can sue unions for perishable goods lost during a strike by claiming they’re intentional property damage. On Jan. 10, the Court will hear oral arguments in Glacier Northwest v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 174, in which a Seattle concrete company is seeking to overturn a Washington Supreme Court decision dismissing its suit against Local 174 for the costs of several truckloads it had to throw out after drivers walked out in 2017. The state court held that Glacier had to wait until the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] ruled on whether the damage was “incidental” to strike conduct protected under the federal National Labor Relations Act.

Brazil: Pharma Companies Attempt To Overturn Supreme Court’s Historic Decision On Patents

The barriers that certain intellectual property rules can generate – preventing the fair distribution of vaccines and medicines – are a recurring theme in debates on global health. Traumatic experiences such as the HIV/AIDS treatment access crisis in the 90s, the global rationing of hepatitis C treatment in 2014, and the unfair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are concrete examples of the right to health being systematically violated when monopolies over medical technologies are established and exercised arbitrarily. It is urgent to recognize, expose and confront the abuses that are committed in the patent system that result in death and suffering for millions of people. In Brazil, we are currently experiencing a situation of triple abuse, which threatens the populations’ access to dozens of essential medicines.

Next On The US Supreme Court Chopping Block: Democracy

On December 7, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case Moore v. Harper, a case which could effectively eliminate the influence of the popular vote in presidential elections. In Moore, a case which the Court, now dominated by a far-right majority, will likely decide before July 2023, it is possible that justices will rule in favor of allowing state legislatures the authority to decide the outcome of presidential elections, regardless of the popular vote. Peoples Dispatch spoke to Brian Becker, founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and part of the PSL’s central committee, about a pamphlet he authored, titled “The Supreme Court vs. Democracy.” In our conversation, Becker outlined what is at stake regarding the future of democracy in the United States.

Evangelical Lobbying Threatens Supreme Court’s Independence

Recent exposés have uncovered an emerging pattern of improper lobbying of right-wing Supreme Court justices by wealthy evangelicals. They reveal serious threats to the independence of the judiciary. But equally alarming is that the Supreme Court is unconstrained by a code of judicial ethics. From 1995 to 2018, the right-wing evangelical nonprofit Faith and Action executed “Operation Higher Court.” It was an organized and systematic campaign “to wine, dine and entertain conservative Supreme Court justices while pushing conservative positions” on social issues pending before the court, *Politico* reports. Faith and Action “would rehearse lines” in order “to influence the justices while steering clear of the specifics of cases pending before the court.”

Media Serve The Governors, Not The Governed

In his 1971 opinion in the Pentagon Papers case, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote: “In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.” That’s what WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have been doing since 2006: censuring governments with governments’ own words pried from secrecy by WikiLeaks’ sources—whistleblowers. In other words, WikiLeaks has been doing the job the U.S. constitution intended the press to do. One can hardly imagine anyone sitting on today’s U.S. Supreme Court writing such an opinion.

Lack Of Native Voices, Little Familiarity With ICWA Law In Brackeen Case

In a federal case that many advocates in Indian Country consider to be the most significant threat to sovereignty in modern times, not a single Native voice presented as part of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a 43-year-old federal law designed to keep children who are tribal members with Native families. The law came in response to hundreds of years of tribes being decimated by the forced separation of children and families, in which children were often placed in residential boarding schools and subject to horrific and sometimes deadly abuse. Congress enacted ICWA less than a decade after the Association on American Indian Affairs found that 25 percent to 35 percent of all Native children had been removed from their families and placed in foster homes, nine out of 10 times with non-Native parents.

Rally In Defense Of The Indian Child Welfare Act

Oneida, Wisconsin – On November 9, over 50 people gathered on the Oneida Indian Reservation in northeast Wisconsin to show solidarity with the Oneida people and all indigenous people as a Supreme Court decision regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) looms. The crowd included members of the Oneida Tribal Nation, concerned community members and several organizations that helped facilitate the event. The gathered community members, both tribal and not, were met with hospitality from the Oneida hosts, with homemade corn soup and community-building conversation being shared before the speakers began. The first speaker had firsthand experience seeing the effects of harsh U.S. policy concerning the children of oppressed groups.

Indigenous Organizers And Allies Fight For Indian Child Welfare Act

Washington D.C. - This morning Indigenous organizers and allies shut down the lobby of the Gibson Dunn law firm in Washington D.C, protesting their involvement in trying to strike down the Indian Child Welfare Act for their big oil client, Energy Transfer. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Haaland v Brackeen today and will decide if they will gut ICWA in 2023, which will further weaken tribal sovereignty. Organizers entered the lobby with a drum singing prayer songs before security removed them from the building. Matthew McGill, a lawyer at Gibson Dunn, is representing the Brackeens in this case pro bono, alongside Paul Clement, an attorney who has a history of regularly attacking existing Indian law and worked to disestablish the Mashpee Tribe’s reservation in 2020.

Supreme Court Takes Up The Indian Child Welfare Act

The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are inscribed above the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. The terse phrase powerfully underscores the conviction that the nation’s judiciary occupies a special plane of existence in which momentous decisions are made in a protected sphere of legal purity. For many Supreme Court watchers, however, the court’s recent rulings overturning abortion rights, expanding gun rights, limiting the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and blurring the lines separating church and state reflect the alarming impact of an ultra-conservative majority among justices. Indeed, a September 2022 Gallup poll shows that 42 percent of Americans think the Supreme Court is too conservative, a new high for that response.

Supreme Court Orders DOJ To Explain Why It Let Chevron Prosecute Me

The US Supreme Court – whose conservative justices I've criticized as of late – has ordered President Biden's Department of Justice to explain why it allowed an oil company (Chevron) to prosecute and detain me in the first and only private prosecution in US history. This is a good news for our campaign to hold Chevron accountable for its mass industrial poisoning of Ecuador’s Amazon and for the legal effort to enforce the $9.5 billion pollution judgement against the company won by Indigenous peoples whom I helped represent. Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland for almost two years have ignored repeated requests from my lawyers to take back my private prosecution from Chevron and uphold the decision by the federal prosecutor in Manhattan not to pursue Judge Kaplan's unfounded contempt charges against me.

Cherokee Nation, Others Set To Defend Indian Child Welfare Act

Tahlequah – Constitutionality of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act is the focus of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court review in which the Cherokee Nation and other tribes will play supporting roles. The federal ICWA legislation, promoted for decades as a means of preserving Native families and culture, gives Native American families priority in foster care and adoption proceedings involving Native children. Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, of Texas, initiated a lawsuit in 2017 alleging that the ICWA is unconstitutional. Since then, the case has worked its way through the lower courts. In late February, the Supreme Court agreed to review the case based upon petitions from both sides. Arguments are scheduled to take place Nov. 9.
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