On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that police officers need a warrant before they can search an arrested suspect’s cell phone. In a separate ruling, the high court declared that Aereo, a start-up streaming service, had violated copyright laws by capturing broadcast signals on miniature antennas and delivering them to subscribers for a fee.
But in the last days of the court’s 2013 term, set to end June 30, televisions and cell phones aren’t the only cases being handed down.
Here are the other pending cases set to receive verdicts in the coming days.
From Think Progress: McCullen v. Coakley challenges a Massachusetts law requiring protesters and other people without legitimate business at an abortion clinic to remain at least 35 feet away from its entrance. The law’s opponents claim that it violates the First Amendment rights of people who oppose abortion. Its supporters note a long history of harassment and even violence directed against clinic staff and patients, including blockades of clinic entrances, “arsons and bombings, acid attacks, stalking and kidnapping doctors and their families, and even murdering reproductive health care staff.”
The current court tends to favor free speech and may strike down Massachusetts law. During oral arguments in January, most justices wondered whether the Massachusetts law went too far in keeping protesters far away from patients.
From USA Today: This case pits President Obama against Republicans in Congress while the third branch of government serves as arbiter. It’s a challenge to appointments made by Obama to a federal labor board without Senate confirmation, because he claimed lawmakers were in recess. The Senate was meeting every three days in pro-forma sessions.
In other executive power news, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he plans to file a lawsuit against the White House for use of executive actions.
From Think Progress: Harris v. Quinn is a case brought by a leading anti-union advocacy group seeking to undermine public sector unions’ financial viability. Currently, the law requires unions to bargain on behalf of all workers in a unionized shop, regardless of whether that particular worker is a member of the union. Yet it also permits unions to charge non-members what are known as “agency fees” to recoup the costs of bargaining on their behalf. Thus, unions will generally bargain for higher wages on behalf of all workers in a shop — according to one study, unionization raises worker wages by about 12 percent — but individual workers cannot free-ride off the union’s efforts by refusing to pay for the union’s services.
The case is of utmost importance for the nation’s public employee labor unions, which could lose the right to represent workers who don’t want to pay union dues.
From Think Progress: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius present the question of whether a business owner who objects to birth control on religious grounds can refuse to comply with federal rules requiring most employer-provided health plans to cover contraceptive care.
Obama’s health care law mandates that most employers provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives. For-profit companies with religious objections are challenging that.