Back in October, I wrote a preview of the 2014-2015 Supreme Court term, sharing my excitement (and some nervousness) about the cases to come. It’s hard to believe that term is almost over— eight months have flown by! As we welcome June, we anticipate the frenzy of decisions that the Court will hand down as it closes out its 2014-2015 calendar. Just as we did for Hobby Lobby in 2014 and Windsor v. United States, which struck down key sections of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, we eagerly await the Court’s “grand finale” decisions this June. Already over the course of the term, the Court has decided a number of cases of particular interest to the Reform Movement. In January came the opinion in Holt v. Hobbs, in which the Court held that under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), prisoner Abdul Maalik Muhammed could grow a half-inch beard while incarcerated. This decision upheld the fundamental religious freedom rights of all people, of all backgrounds, and is heartening in light of the ongoing debate over religious exemptions. In March, the Supreme Court issued a small, yet important victory for pregnant workers’ rights in Young v. United Parcel Service. Yet, as RAC Deputy Director Rachel Laser highlighted in her statement on the decision, “existing law is not enough to ensure that all pregnant workers receive temporary and reasonable accommodations so they can stay in the workforce throughout their pregnancy.” The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (whose reintroduction in the 114th Congress we hope for soon) would strengthen protections for pregnant workers so that no worker faces the agonizing choice between protecting the health of her pregnancy and continuing to work to support herself and her family. The decisions in Holt v. Hobbs and Young v. UPS were promising victories in debates central to the Reform Movement’s advocacy for justice and equality. We’re still waiting, however, on the opinions in other key cases that promise to make this June an exciting, if nerve-wracking month. Before it recesses, the Court will issue a decision in King v. Burwell, a case that stands to gut one of the key mechanisms of the Affordable Care Act, which could in turn leave millions of Americans without affordable health care. We’ll also have a decision in an important religious freedom case, EEOC v. Abercrombie, in which the Court will decide whether an employer can refuse to hire an applicant based on religious observance, if the employer did not have direct knowledge that a religious accommodation was required. Last but not least, we await the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court could potentially establish marriage equality across the United States. Two questions are central to the case:
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? and
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state?
Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories
March 30, 2023
March is Women’s History Month, a celebration that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of women throughout the nation’s history.
Clean Air Must Be a Right, Not a Privilege
March 16, 2023
I spent the first year of the pandemic in South Korea, but even before the pandemic, I wore masks because of the bad air days. South Korea's rapid transition from a war-torn nation to an industrial superpower with a GDP equivalent to the State of New York exacted a terrible cost on Korean air quality.
What You Need to Know About the Case That Can Determine the Future of Medication Abortion
March 14, 2023
Any day now, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk will issue a ruling in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration et al, a case that asks the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas to order the Food and Drug Administration to rescind its 20-year-old approval of mifepristone (one of two medications commonly used in medication abortion)--a major decision that could pull the drug off the market nationwide.