Another interesting Supreme Court lineup

March 4, 2014

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lawson v. FMR LLC concerning the rights of whistleblowers who work for private contractors doing work for public companies under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. In Lawson, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the court concluding that the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections extend to employees of contractors.

Ginsburg’s opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan in full, and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in part. Justice Sonia Sotmayor dissented, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito.

As in the case Eugene Volokh noted last week, both the court’s conservatives and liberals were split. Whereas last week’s decision concerned a question of criminal procedure, Lawson concerned employee rights. Both are areas in which casual observers often assume the court is split along traditional ideological lines.

Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law, where he is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation.
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