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Category Archives: Courts

Free Exercise of Religion by Closely Held Corporations – CRS

Free Exercise of Religion by Closely Held Corporations: Implications of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Cynthia Brougher, Legislative Attorney. July 23, 2014

“One of the ongoing controversies related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the scope of exemption from certain health care coverage requirements, including the contraceptive coverage requirement. Though closely divided, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has settled the question of whether certain for-profit corporations must be exempt from the requirement, unless Congress chooses to amend the statute providing those corporations legal protection. Imputing the beliefs of owners of closely held corporations to the corporations themselves, the Court found that the ACA could not require such companies to provide contraceptive coverage in group health plans offered to their employees. It based its decision on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which provides heightened protection for burdens on religious exercise. Although the case has been analogized to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a 2010 case holding that corporations have free speech rights under the First Amendment, the Hobby Lobby decision was not decided on constitutional grounds. Instead, it provides protection on a statutory basis, meaning that Congress has the ability to respond to the decision if it disagrees with the Court’s ruling. This report analyzes the Court’s opinions in Hobby Lobby, examining the rights of closely held corporations under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It also addresses the implications for the contraceptive coverage mandate under ACA and discusses potential legislative responses to the Court’s decision. Finally, it analyzes the impact that Hobby Lobby may have in other contexts in which employers may claim religious objections.”

26 Questions EU Regulators Want Google to Answer – WSJ

WSJ.com: “European Union privacy watchdogs grilled Google Inc. and other search engines for two hours on Thursday on how they are implementing the bloc’s new “right to be forgotten” online–and then gave them homework to do by next week, too. The main body that joins together the EU’s national data-protection regulators called the Brussels meeting withContinue Reading

New on LLRX – What Does the Hathitrust Decision Mean For Libraries?

Via LLRX.com - What Does the Hathitrust Decision Mean For Libraries? The library community welcomed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust. The decision has implications for libraries that go far beyond the specific facts of the case. This paper by Jonathan Band offers some preliminary thoughts onContinue Reading

EFF Publishes New Whitepaper on the Broken Penalty System

EFF – “Today, the House Judiciary Committee [held] a hearing on “remedies” in copyright law—that is, the penalties, injunctions, and other means of challenging and penalizing alleged infringement. This is hugely important: fixing copyright’s remedy provisions (like excessive, unpredictable monetary penalties and government seizures of domain names) is key to ensuring that copyright does its job—helpingContinue Reading

The Evolution of Consensus in the U.S. Supreme Court

Rice, Douglas and Zorn, Christopher J., The Evolution of Consensus in the U.S. Supreme Court (July 22, 2014). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2470029 “For small, collegial bodies such as the U.S. Supreme Court, interpersonal dynamics play a key role in the decision making process. Previous work on the Court has focused on the existence ofContinue Reading

The Impact of Judicial Vacancies on Federal Trial Courts

Alicia Bannon – Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law: “In an earlier report, the Brennan Center analyzed national court data on vacancies and caseload in order to document the burden that judicial vacancies create. In this study we dig deeper, analyzing the experiences of 10 districts that currently have judicial vacanciesContinue Reading

Trends in State Courts 2014

“Trends in State Courts 2014 focuses on what courts can do, and are doing, to serve the needs of society’s most vulnerable groups: juveniles and the elderly. Articles in two special sections focus on many aspects of juvenile justice and elder issues, such as the Models for Change Juvenile Justice Initiative funded by the John D.Continue Reading

The Good Society newest issues now open access : Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration

Joshua A. Miller - “The new issue (vol. 23, no. 1) is devoted to a single symposium on the intersection of mass incarceration and democracy. It’s available on Project MUSE for institutional subscribers, and on JSTOR, where all the articles will be open access for the next two months Albert Dzur introduces the issue in “Penal Democracy.” Many of theContinue Reading

New Data on Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Court

“Records just obtained under the Freedom of Information Act offer new insights about government policies governing the handling of the recent surge of unaccompanied children seeking entry into the U.S. As of the end of June 2014, the more than 100,000 case records obtained and analyzed by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) show thatContinue Reading

Juvenile Cases Help Push Immigration Court Backlog to New High

“As of the end of June 2014, the number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts has climbed to an all time high of 375,503 — an increase of more than 50,000 since the start of FY 2013 — according to very timely government enforcement data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)Continue Reading

Improvements Coming to PACER and CM/ECF

News release: “Beginning August 11, you may notice some changes on the PACER website. These changes will include the opportunity  to upgrade your PACER account. NOTE: This upgrade is not mandatory. Your current PACER account will still function  normally. However, you will need to upgrade your account in order to perform any maintenance functions outsideContinue Reading

Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later

Fencing Out Knowledge - Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later, American Library Association, Policy Brief No. 5, June 2014. “What do Hotmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Facebook, and National Geographic have in common? They offer content and services that millions of Americans use every day to communicate, share content, and seek information. They alsoContinue Reading