...still no word if the government can usurp the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Chamber of Commerce v. Brown
Opinion by Stevens, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas Alito
Dissent by Breyer, joined by Ginsburg.
Background: California passed a bill prohibiting companies that receive state funds from using those funds "to assist, promote, or deter union organizing." The majority said that Federal Law preempted the California statute, because Congress intended to leave the covered area free of regulation. Fairly straightfoward preemption reasoning.
Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
Opinion by Souter, joined by Roberts, Stevens, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Alito, Thomas (in part)
Consurrance by Scalia
Concurrance in part, dissent in part by Thomas
Breyer took no part in the decision
The issue here was regarding the burden of proof in age discrimination cases. If it looks like age discrimination, and the employer shows some basis besides age, does the employer have to prove non-discrimination, or does the employee have to prove that the employer's alternative basis is false? Fairly straightforward and non-spectacular decision, the defendant bears the burden of proof in affirmative defenses.
Indiana v. Edwards
Majority by Breyer, joined by Roberts, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Alito
Dissent by Scalia joined by Thomas.
The controlling issue was whether a defendant, after being found mentally capable to stand trial in a criminal case, must show that he is further mentally capable of representing himself if he refuses counsel. Prior rulings said that self-representation required a higher degree of mental competency than that required to stand trial. The court affirmed precident, just because you're competent to stand trial doesn't mean you're competant to represent yourself, and an attorney could be appointed by the court.
Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC
Majority by Breyer, joined by Roberts, Stevens, Souter, and Thomas
Dissent by Kennedy, joined by Scalia, Ginsburg, and Alito
Straightforward age discrimination case, whether forced retirement because of disability could depend on the age of the person at the time of disability. Younger workers in 'hazardous' lines of work (police, firemen) would have years imputed if they became disabled prior to reaching age 55. Older workers did not get years imputed onto their service. Since retirement pay depends on years of service, the older disabled retirees said this was discriminatory. The majority disagreed.
Kennedy, in dissent, seems upset that this case arose from the 6th circuit overturning their previous precident to line up with the rest of the circuits, and rather than follow the established law (although not binding on the Supreme Court), decided to reverse all of the circuit courts. He also substantively disagrees with the decision, but I think that point is more interesting.
MetLife v. Glenn
Majority by Breyer, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Alito
Concurrance in part, and in judgement by Roberts
Concurrance in part, dissent in part by Kennedy
Dissent by Scalia, joined by Thomas
Federal law gives disabled insured parties the right to challenge a denial in court. The issue before the court was to what extent a court could consider the insurer's role in both determining eligibility and paying benefits. The majority said that it should matter, but was vague as to the extent the court could weigh that evidence. Expect a lot more challenges to such cases where disability is concerned.