We all know how important the Supreme Court rulings are and how it affects the life of the people. After all, it is the highest judiciary in the country, its judgment/decision is final, and it cannot be appealed or challenged.
That said; let take a look at some of the Supreme Court of America biggest decisions in 2018 that you should know about.
- Travel Ban– This year’s most anticipated decision was the ruling made by the court on the ban of refugees and immigrants. President Donald Trump imposed a ban on immigrants from some countries entering the United States. The administration argued that the ban was a must as the immigrants did not get scrutinized for prospective national threats. The federal court struck down two versions of this ban which highlighted that this ban was on Muslims. That is because a good number of immigrants and refugees who were banned came from Muslim-majority countries. Earlier there were comments about Muslim-ban by Donald Trump. The Supreme Court upheld the travel ban’s third version that restricted the entry of people from Yemen, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Chad.
- Masterpiece Cake– In the Masterpiece Cake LLC, the Supreme Court of USA ruled in favour of the Colorado baker who denied to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The baker said that it was not in favour of his religious beliefs. In this case, the court stated that the baker indeed was within his rights for refusing to make the cake as it is a representation of marriage. And the government cannot force a person in expressing something which goes against his/her right to speech or freedom of religion. The court, however, pointed out that in this case; the decision was specific and it overturned the decision of the Colorado Civil Rights Commissions in favour of the same-sex couple. The commissioners have made previous statements in the proceedings which could be regarded as biased against religion. Though the Supreme Court kept away from setting any precedent here, the ruling is likely to be taken into consideration in such cases in the future where the LGBTQ couples rights may conflict with the businesses’ rights which state that being a part of a same-sex wedding ceremony goes against the religious beliefs.
- Cell Phone Privacy– The Supreme Court in the important Fourth Amendment case ruled that every police officer requires a warrant for accessing location data stored via wireless companies that advocates referred as a significant step in favour of privacy with regards to information gathered by mobile phones. Police, in this case, told a wireless provider to share location data of a man under investigation for gun offences, and robbery and no warrant was needed as the information source was from a third party. The Supreme Court, in this case, stated that a higher law enforcement bar is necessary for accessing location data and most importantly a police officer needs a warrant. Kate Shaw the Supreme Court contributor of ABC News stated that this decision is of a larger trend wherein the Supreme Court will work for reconciling changing ideas and technology regarding which information is private concerning the laws of which the government can access information. The law enforcement as per the court’s decision will not require a warrant at all times for real-time investigation or national security. But the ruling indicates that the police officer will need to show a probable cause that mobile phone data is crucial to the inquiry before a mobile phone provider turns it over.
- Online Sales Tax– The court has ruled that states could need retailers to collect online state sales tax allowing the state to receive higher tax revenue yet probably leading to an online shopping experience for consumers that is more expensive. The court in this decision overturned the rule that a state can tax online transactions only from brick and mortar stores present in the state. Top retailers such as Overstock.com and Wayfair argued that to permit every state to collect sales tax online can be highly complicated. The court stated that this caused enough confusion for making rules resting on brick and mortar stores in this growing online retail economy. This decision could indicate that shopping online for consumers may get more expensive should they purchase from retailers who do not collect the state sales tax; yet could bring in tax revenue of $13 billion for any state that earlier could include tax stores in that state which possesses a physical presence only. Some business groups stated that the ruling is likely to level the playing amid small local businesses and online retailers, yet others argue that this may hurt the small stores online that are not yet collecting state sales taxes.
- Pregnancy Clinics and Abortion– The court through a 5-4 vote stated that California could not need crisis pregnancy centres that are faith-based for informing patients that their state offers low cost or free prenatal care as well as abortion for any eligible female. The state lawmakers stated that such posted disclosures were required as they use deceptive advertising for misinforming or confusing women. The justices noted that the state-mandated disclosures indeed were compelled speech which goes against the 1st Amendment.
- Public Sector Unions– The court in another case related to the 1st Amendment ruled that requires public employees to pay union fees although they are disagreeing with the union going against the free speech of the employee. Mark Janus, a state employee at Illinois challenged the non-member fee which he got charged via his union for paying for the collective bargaining as well as other costs. He was against all the political positions of the union. The court was in his favour and also stated that the public union should allow employees in supporting the union rather than giving the opt-out option of having fees deducted from their paycheque. As per the union group, this was indeed a political attack which was against the union. This ruling may be a big blow to fund for the unions which advocate for the public workers such as teachers.
These were some of the most significant decisions taken by the Supreme Court in 2018 that everyone should know. We hope you enjoyed reading about some of the Supreme Court of America biggest decisions in 2018 that you should know about.