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US Supreme Court reaches unanimous decision in Washington workers’ compensation case – JURIST

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The US Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a decision in USA v. Washington. The case addresses important issues related to workers’ rights, the supremacy clause, and contentiousness. The case revolves around a 2018 Washington state workers’ compensation law that applied to certain federal workers performing cleanup at the Hanford nuclear site. Hanford was once used by the federal government as a nuclear weapons development site, but began leaking radiation into the atmosphere and surrounding area after it was decommissioned and became one of the most contaminated nuclear sites in US history. The US federal government began a monumental cleanup effort in the early 2000s. Many workers involved in the cleanup experience increased risk of developing certain rare diseases. The 2018 Washington law was intended to ensure easier access to workers’ compensation for workers hired by the federal government. State law declared that all federally contracted workers involved in the cleanup were entitled to workers’ compensation in the event they developed a rare disease as a result of working on the site. The law was upheld by a district court, which ruled that a congressional exemption allowed state law to affect the conduct of the federal government. The Supreme Court disagreed, resulting in a unanimous court decision declaring the state law unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause. One of the court’s main concerns was the increased cost to the federal government that created the law. By applying to workers hired by the federal government, the state law essentially created an entirely new category of workers entitled to receive payments from the federal government. The court considered that this law was unequal and imposed “costs on the Federal Government that are not borne by state or private entities. Consequently, the law violates the Supremacy Clause.” The case also referred to the issue of discussion. After litigation began in this case, Washington state changed its law to apply to all workers on the site in what may have been an attempt to avoid judicial review. However, the court declared the issue non-arguable and stated that “…a case is not moot unless it is impossible for the court to award an effective remedy”. The court declared that it had the power to prevent the federal government from having to pay millions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims, triggering the case. Washington may set a new precedent for definitions of disagreement and supremacy for future litigation.

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Indian court keeps journalist in police custody over tweet – JURIST

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The Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday ordered journalist and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to be held in police custody for four days. Zubair was arrested on Monday for the offenses of hurting religious sentiments and inciting enmity under Sections 153 and 295 of the Indian Penal Code. In 2018, Zubair posted a tweet showing a hotel whose name he changed from “Honeymoon Hotel” to “Hanuman Hotel”. Hanuman is a Hindu god. Delhi police arrested him based on a complaint about that tweet, which alleged that Zubair tweeted a “questionable image for the purpose of deliberately insulting the god of a particular religion.” accused for posting the tweet in question will be retrieved at the behest of the accused Mohammed Zubair from his residence in Bangalore, that the accused has not cooperated and (with) the disclosure statement recorded, four days PC (police custody) preventive detention of the accused will be concedes as the accused will be taken to Bangalore. Zubair’s arrest has been condemned by international organizations and national news organizations, including United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, Amnesty International, the Press Club of India and other media outlets.

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US Supreme Court Grants Review of Federal Bankruptcy Case – JURIST

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On Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear MOAC Mall Holdings v. Transform Holdco, a case examining appellate court jurisdiction over sales orders in federal bankruptcy proceedings. The case revolves around the sale and transfer of a lease for a store in a shopping center. In 1991, Sears obtained a lease for a store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The lease only cost Sears $10 a year and was supposed to last 100 years. Sears, however, went bankrupt in 2018. As part of federal bankruptcy proceedings, Sears sold its assets and the Mall of America lease was transferred to Transform Holdco LLC, a corporation formed by Sears’ new owners. Mall of America sought to prevent the transfer because they claim that Transform Holdco LLC does not intend to occupy the leased facilities but to sublet them to other companies. Transform Holdco LLC argues that the long-term lease constitutes a substantial portion of the value Sears was sold for in the bankruptcy proceeding. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit transferred the lease as it was deemed “integral” to a court-approved bankruptcy sale. Mall of America filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, arguing that a remedy is available that would not affect the validity of the sale. Therefore, according to Mall of America, the appellate court should be allowed to intervene. Transform Holdco LLC responds that no such remedy exists, and that the Second Circuit’s ruling should stand. The US Supreme Court must now determine whether federal bankruptcy law limits appeals on sales orders deemed “comprehensive,” even when a remedy is available that will not affect the validity of the sale. The court is set to hear oral arguments in the case next term.

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US appeals court to rehear challenge to Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine executive order – JURIST

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The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order on Monday stating that the court will rehear Feds for Medical Freedom v. Biden, a challenge to President Joe Biden’s 2019 executive order that required federal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. In late May and early June, America First Legal Foundation, America’s Frontline Doctors, Airline Employees For Freedom Health, and an additional group of vaccine plaintiffs filed four amicus briefs in favor of a new full hearing. The plaintiffs in Rodden v. Fauci also filed a class action lawsuit made up of federal employees who contracted COVID-19, developed COVID-19 antibodies, “but remain subject to the federal employee vaccination mandate.” The Rodden plaintiffs argue that Biden and the “agencies he directs have no power to direct the personal medical decisions of federal employees,” and therefore this executive order is like an illegal government mandate. In addition, the group asserts that the panel’s refusal to review executive employment decisions is unlawful and thus protects “the exercise of unlawful governmental power.” In January 2022, a Texas judge blocked Biden’s executive order. Other state judges have also blocked enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In December 2021, a Georgia judge blocked the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for government contractors after the Texas Governor ordered a statewide ban on all COVID-19 vaccination mandates in October 2021 .

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