2018 Review of Important Supreme Court Decisions

A lot has happened in the Supreme Court of the United States in 2018. The most notable event was the circus-like confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy. SCOTUS continued to make historical decisions during this time that will have an effect all of us. George Khoury looked at five important SCOTUS decisions of 2018 on Findlaw.com.

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
Jack Phillips, a devout Christian owner of a bakery in Colorado, refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding for religious reasons that are backed by the First Amendment. He offered to sell the couple other products in his bakery, but the lower courts found Jack Phillips to be in violation of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. SCOTUS ruled 7-2 in favor of Jack Phillips, citing the CCRC’s hostility towards religion. SCOTUS did not decide on the constitutionality of the CADA, so a case like this will likely appear in front of SCOTUS in the future.

Murphy, Governor of New Jersey v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
This 6-3 decision ruled in favor of states to allow sports betting. States were prohibited from allowing sports betting entities from being created according to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. States were charged with enforcing the PASPA, but New Jersey sued to relieve the state from enforcing the PASPA. SCOTUS ruled that Congress overstepped its powers by making states enforce federal law.

Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis
The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employees to litigate labor disputes as a class or collective action in federal courts. This 5-4 decision ruled in favor of employers putting in place and enforce arbitration agreements in employee contracts that ban collective action.

Carpenter v. the United States
Wireless carriers can track, collect, and store the location of its users when users cell phones connect to a cell tower site. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies would contact wireless carriers to obtain cell phone information to help find criminal suspects. In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS ruled that law enforcement agencies will have to get a warrant to gain access to this information.

South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.
In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS ruled in favor of South Dakota who wanted to collect taxes for out-of-state online sales. Legal experts expect other states to look at this ruling and develop out-of-state online sales tax laws that are in line with this ruling.

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