Supreme Court Less Impactful Than Many Commentators Claim

Houston Medical Times

Stuart M. Gerson, a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Health Care & Life Sciences Practices in the firm's Washington, DC and New York offices, wrote an article titled "Supreme Court Less Impactful Than Many Commentators Claim."

Following is an excerpt:

The last day of the Supreme Court's term saw recent unanimity broken by two 5-4 decisions in highly-controversial cases. However, much of the reporting about them seems overstated.

In Harris v. Quinn, the Court's conservatives held that an Illinois regulatory program that required quasi-public health care workers who declined union membership pay fees to a labor union to cover the costs of wage bargaining violated the First Amendment. The court below had held that agency fees were justified under earlier precedents. However, the Supreme Court's majority, although noting weakness in its earlier case law reasoning, focused decisively on the fact that the employees in question were not really public employees because the patients, not the State, had complete control over the selection of the workers and their conditions of service.