One of the critical voter issues of the Fall presidential election was filling the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. President Donald Trump issued a list of conservative judges and a campaign promise to select someone from that list – a move that solidified his election win.
By appointing Colorado’s Neil Gorsuch, the court’s conservative majority has been restored, and that may usher in important ideological victories on hot-button issues. Here are five cases to keep an eye on.
Lee v. Tam
Although this case deals with the Patent and Trademark Office, rock ‘n’ roll and pro football enthusiasts alike may want to keep an eye on the high court’s decision. The case involves a band that wanted to protect their moniker, the SLANTS, with a trademark. The allegedly offensive name refers to the Asian heritage of the band’s members.
The musicians have already won in a lower court based on their right to free speech. But the government agency wants to resurrect a disparagement clause, which would effectively give them the power to apply political correctness as a trademark standard. The Washington Redskins have attempted, unsuccessfully, to join in this litigation.
Arguments were heard in January. Should the patent office prevail, the country may lose its SLANTS, Redskins and anything else the Left finds distasteful.
Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.
The U.S. Supreme Court remanded this transgender bathroom case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in March. The ACLU had challenged Virginia’s Gloucester High School to allow trans students to use the bathroom of their choosing. The case was initially based on a Title IX sex discrimination.
The previous administration appeared to stretch the intent of Title IX considerably. Pres. Trump’s Administration and new Department of Justice and Education heads issued clarifications rejecting the reasoning. Although this case has been bounced back to the appeals court, it’s unlikely we’ve heard the last of it.
Los Angeles County v. Mendez
Given the Obama and Trump administrations demonstrated radically different philosophies about law enforcement, this case could have a watershed ruling.
The litigation revolves around legal immunity for police officers. In this instance, two officers entered a shed without a warrant. A homeless man raised a BB gun at the officers after the disturbance. The man was shot.
Generally, law enforcement officials enjoy legal immunity for actions taken in the line of duty. One federal appeals court has created a rule that vacates their immunity in some cases. Other courts have refused to apply the rule.
Given the splashy headlines that police shootings received in 2016, how the justices decide this case will have a direct effect on how police approach the use of deadly force. Arguments were presented in late March.
Hernández v. Mesa
There’s little doubt this U.S. Border Patrol ruling will be a hot-button topic going forward.
A 15-year-old boy on Mexican soil was shot and killed by American agents standing in Texas. The question is whether a citizen of another country enjoys Due Process under the U.S. Constitution. The SCOTUS agreed to hear a civil lawsuit appeal after the Fifth Circuit appeals court rejected their claim, saying they had no standing under U.S. law. Arguments were made before the court in February.
One might expect mass protests from the left if the Mexican family loses, given how politically controversial illegal immigration and the Southern border has become.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley
Potential changes to how the federal government funds and philosophically approaches education has grown heated since Betsy DeVos was tapped as Education Secretary. This case may be like throwing gas on the fire to the left.
The question the high court will answer is whether or not religiously affiliated schools can be cut off from the same government benefits as their public-school counterparts. The Parochial school was denied funding for a rubberized playground based on an 1875 law that bars public money to churches.
Should the Lutheran Church prevail in this case, it would bookend the rights of religious schools. About 15 years ago, the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris ruling supported school voucher funding for religious schools. A Trinity Church win would establish that religious institutions can both receive and not be denied funds for their educational wings.
For the pro-school choice DeVos and the Trump Administration, they’d effectively have completing the funding gauntlet. The case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court April 19.
Many on the right believe the 5-member conservative majority rounded out by the newly appointed Neil Gorsusch will win the day.
~ Conservative Zone