US Civil Rights Act Requires Employers to Reasonably Accommodate Religious Practice

London, 15 June 2015
On 1 June 2015, the US Supreme Court issued an opinion on the case Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Petitioner v  Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. stating that employers have an affirmative duty to accommodate an applicant’s religious practice, even if the applicant has not informed the employer of such need. 

US Supreme Court Allows Majority Rule to Deny a Fundamental Right

London, 9 May 2014

On 22 April 2014, the US Supreme Court in Schuette, Attorney General of Michigan v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (Bamn) et al, held that an amendment to the Michigan State Constitution which prohibited affirmative action policies that favour people from a minority background was constitutional. The Court, by a six to two majority, held that state voters could choose to prohibit the consideration of race in university admissions policies, amongst other things, without contravening the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

US Supreme Court Creates Hole in Voting Rights Act, Risking Regression to Racially Discriminatory Electoral Processes

London, 8 July 2013

On 25 June 2013, the US Supreme Court (the Court) in Shelby County v Holder, struck down, by a five to four majority, section 4 of the Voting Rights Act 1965. Section 4 is a tool which, taken with section 5 of the Act, has reportedly prevented thousands of racially discriminatory changes to voter registration procedures from being introduced in the past 25 years. 

US Supreme Court Issues Important Judgment for Marriage Equality

London, 5 July 2013

On 26 June 2013, the US Supreme Court (the Court) in United States v Windsor, Executor of the estate of Spyer, et al., by a five to four majority, struck down as unconstitutional section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law which defines marriage as excluding same-sex couples. The Court held that this amounted to a breach of the rights of same-sex married couples to equal liberty under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The decision ensures that spouses who have lawfully entered into same-sex marriages are entitled to the same tax and other fiscal benefits as different-sex married couples.

US Supreme Court Confirms that University's Use of Race As Factor in Admissions Decision Must be Subject to Strict Scrutiny

London, 4 July 2013

On 24 June 2013, the US Supreme Court (the Court) in Fisher v University of Texas confirmed that considering an applicant’s race as part of a holistic evaluation process in a University admissions procedure does not necessarily violate the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. However, the Court reiterated that any process which uses race as a factor must be subjected to strict scrutiny. This requires that the University shows clearly that its purpose or intention in using this factor is constitutionally permissible and substantial and that the use of the classification of race is necessary to the accomplishment of its purpose.