Three Landmark Decisions Made by the Supreme Court: Part 1

The US Supreme Court recently ruled on three landmark cases concerning LGBTQ+ rights in the workplace, abortion legislation, and President Trump's efforts to end DACA.

Today, we're covering two of those rulings—on LGBTQ+ workers' rights and abortion—and how those cases compare with previous Supreme Court Rulings. In a follow-up blog later this month, we'll also be covering the DACA case and how these rulings might affect legal president in the US going forward, so keep your eyes peeled.

The Supreme Court Rules Title VII Civil Rights Act Protections Extend to LGBTQ+ Workers

On June 15th, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Title VII protections for workers mandated by the Civil Rights Act extend to LGBTQ+ employees. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the Court's four liberal justices for the majority ruling.

In an opinion on the case, Gorsuch wrote:

"An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."

Currently, over eight million people in the US workforce identify as LGBTQ+. The ruling affords these employees the same protections given to employees who may be discriminated against for other identifying reasons, like race.

The Supreme Court Rules Against Legislation Restricting Abortion in Louisiana

On June 29th, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against legislation that would have made it almost impossible to get an abortion in Louisiana. Chief Justice John Roberts once again joined the Court's liberal justices for the ruling.

The ruling blocked legislation that would have required abortion providers in Louisiana to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles. The requirement would have effectively shuttered all but one abortion provider in the state, leaving Louisiana's population of 4.5 million with just one abortion resource.

Chief Justice John Roberts cited a similar case from 2016, in which the Supreme Court ruled against abortion restricting legislation in Texas, as precedent for his ruling on the Louisiana case.

Many critics and professionals in the legal community expected different outcomes in these cases, particularly considering that justices who identify as conservative now outnumber liberal-identifying justices 5-4.

These cases may play a part in setting important legal precedents for the future. To learn more about how these outcomes affect the legal direction of the US, you can read part two of this blog series here.

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