This month, the U.S. Supreme Court made two decisions upholding the rights of both LGBTQ+ people in the workplace and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, also known as DREAMers.
Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia
On June 15, the court upheld a law that protects gay and transgender workers from discrimination by a vote of 6-3.
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the majority that said firing a worker based on sexual orientation and identity violated Title VII, which states that it is “unlawful … for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual … because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
“There is no escaping the role intent plays,” Gorsuch wrote. “Just as sex is necessarily a but-for cause when an employer discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees, an employer who discriminates on these grounds inescapably intends to rely on sex in its decisionmaking.”
According to The New York Times, until the court’s decision, it was legal in more than half of the states in the country to fire workers for being gay, bisexual or transgender. As of this month, that is no longer the case.
Department of Homeland Security, et al. v. Regents of The University of California, et al.
On June 18, the court protected the program known as DACA from being removed by the Trump administration by a vote of 5-4. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion, citing that the administration did not provide “a reasoned explanation for its action.”
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Roberts said. “The wisdom of those decisions is none of our concern. Here we address only whether the administration complied with the procedural requirements in the law.”
DACA was implemented in 2012 to protect certain individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children and currently protects an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 people from deportation, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Roberts’ opinion stated that although the removal of DACA is a possibility in the future, the court found that saying DACA was an “illegal and unconstitutional” program created by the Obama administration is not a good enough reason to remove the program now.
June Medical Services LLC v. Russo
With these highly politicized issues find rather liberal results in the court this month, there is some sentiment from reporters and other experts on whether a law in Louisiana that limits women’s access to abortions will be upheld or deemed unconstitutional in an upcoming decision.
The law, Act 620, requires that every physician who performs or induces an abortion shall “have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.”
This requirement is put in place as an assurance that if a patient were to need additional medical care during the procedure, they would be able to receive it at another facility. However, hospitals have ultimate discretion on whether or not they grant admitting privileges to doctors, and the complication rate of women who receive abortions is 2%, according to a 2015 study published by the National Library of Medicine.
In the past, the court has delivered conflicting decisions over the issue of admitting privileges, stating that they are either “a constitutional way for states’ to protect women’s health or an unconstitutional overreach that unduly burdens women,” according to Vox.
It will be interesting to see what the court decides to do in this upcoming case following its previous decisions about progressive and controversial topics like LGBTQ+ rights and immigration, and what the majority cites as its reason for doing so.
(Correction: an earlier version of this story had the incorrect title for Neil Gorsuch – he is an Associate Justice, not the Chief Justice. Our apologies to John Roberts.)