Other Matters Being Handled by the Court

Friday, June 26, 2009


Atlantic Sounding Co. v. Townsend. Ruled that seamen injured on the job may sue for punitive damages when employers refuse to pay for medical care and time off. The 5 to 4 decision was in favor of Edgar L. Townsend, a tugboat crew member injured when he fell on the boat's deck. The boat's owner, Atlantic Sounding Co., said it would not pay Townsend for medical care and time off.

Horne v. Flores. Ruled for Arizona officials who are challenging federal court supervision of a program to educate students who are not proficient in English. By a 5 to 4 vote, the court reversed an appeals court ruling in a 17-year-old lawsuit intended to close the gap between students in Nogales, Ariz., who are learning to speak English and native English speakers. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in the majority opinion, said a federal judge in Arizona must take another look at the program to see whether Nogales now is "providing equal opportunities" to English-language learners.


The court will finish its work on Monday, issuing decisions in three remaining cases:

Ricci v. DeStefano. Did the city of New Haven, Conn., discriminate against white firefighters when it threw out a promotions test that qualified those firefighters for advancement, but resulted in a qualification rate for African Americans so low that it could be seen as suspect under federal law?

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. Did a conservative group's production of a 90-minute movie on Hillary Rodham Clinton run afoul of restrictions in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act?

Cuomo v. the Clearing House Association. Do states have the power to investigate allegedly discriminatory lending practices by national banks, or does the responsibility belong only to federal regulators?

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