Third Branch

It’s been another busy week thus far in the federal court system:

Supreme Court limits scope of federal overtime laws

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that home healthcare workers are not entitled to overtime pay under federal law. The Court deferred to a 1975 Labor Department regulation.

Labor groups are reaching for the Hemlock as we speak, but that unanimous decision obviously was the correct one.

Supreme Court limits scope of federal pension laws, unanimously reverses 9th Circuit

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the imposition of new requirements on employers under ERISA, the federal law covering pensions and retirement plans. The case involved a claim by a labor union that a bankrupt employer should have been required to merge its pension plans with the union’s pension plans, instead of terminating those plans and using money saved to pay off its creditors.

A bankruptcy judge and a federal district judge ruled against the union. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of the union.

I find the 9th Circuit getting reversed unanimously on a labor union/ERISA case to be nearly as *shocking* as high unemployment, massive layoffs, slow growth, and excessive bankruptcies, in industries in which labor unions hold sway.

Supreme Court rules federal contractors can recover costs of voluntary cleanups of pollution sites

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that companies operating under federal contracts that voluntarily clean up attendant pollution sites under the federal Superfund law can sue the government to recover their costs.

Well, duh. The fact the Bush Administration wasted its time arguing the opposing viewpoint speaks volumes. They really need to pick their battles a little more carefully.

Appeals court panel rules Military Commission Act does not allow for indefinite detentions of enemy combatants

A panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled the federal Military Commissions Act, passed in 2006 in response to a Supreme Court decision, does not allow for indefinite detentions of those classified by the executive branch as enemy combatants. The ruling would require the release from military custody and criminal charges in civilian courts to be filed against Ali al-Mari, held in Navy confinement since 2003 on the grounds he is an al-Qaeda sleeper-cell agent.

That should make for a very interesting SCOTUS decision next term.

Source: Associated Press accounts.
Note: I would have linked to the AP articles, but they were so laden with mind-numbing liberal bias it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do. C’est la vie.

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  • Cousin Dave

    On that last one, the court decision only applies to citizens and legal residents of the United States. It does not hold for prisoners of war generally. The report seems to have omitted that detail. My understanding is that al-Mari, the plaintiff in the case, is currently the only person in the combination of circumstances covered by the ruling.