Quote of the Day - The Supreme Court is an institution far more dominated by centrifugal forces, pushing toward individuality and independence, than it is by centripetal forces pulling for hierarchical ordering and institutional unity.
- William H. Rehnquist
The session starts off today with a bang over campaign finance reform. It pits the First Amendment free speech rights against the ban on soft money and "issue ads."
The second case involves a dispute between State and Federal rights over regulation of the Clean Air Act. The third case pits an employee discharged for drug abuse against his employer.
The environmental case will be heard on Wednesday: Alaska v. USEPA.
This case presents the question whether the Clean Air Act authorizes the USEPA to prevent construction of a major emitting facility where Alaska is prepared to grant the facility operator an air quality permit. The dispute arose after the USEPA attempted to block the construction of an electric generator for a zinc mine in Alaska.
You can view the Opening brief, the Opposition and the Reply briefs for this case by clicking on the highlighted words.
The third case, Rayethon v. Hernandez, will prove interesting to employers, and will also be heard on Wednesday. The question the Supreme Court will decide is whether employees lawfully terminated for alcohol or illegal drug use must be rehired under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which recognizes drug or alcohol addiction as a disability. Hernandez, a recovering alcoholic, was rejected as a job applicant under Rayethon's unwritten rule of not rehiring fired employees or those that quit in lieu of being fired.
Again, you can view the Opening brief, the Opposition and the Reply.
Last year we had gay rights and affirmative action. This year we can expect major rulings on redistricting and school vouchers. Sounds ho-hum, but you never can tell. We seem to get surprises every year.