On this day, June 16th, in legal history, landmark New Deal legislation was passed in an effort to usher the country out of the Great Depression.
The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was passed by Congress on June 16, 1933 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's efforts to revive the U.S. economy during the Great Depression. It established the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which oversaw fair trade codes and ensured workers' right to collective bargaining. The NIRA marked a unique experiment in American economic history by allowing industries to form alliances and suspend antitrust laws. Companies were required to create industry-wide codes of fair competition that set prices, wages, production quotas, and restricted entry by other companies.
The act aimed to promote industrial self-regulation and mandated the drafting of codes of fair competition for various industries, subject to public hearings. It granted employees the right to organize and bargain collectively, while also prohibiting employers from compelling them to join or refrain from joining labor organizations as a condition of employment. The NRA, established through executive order, was responsible for making voluntary agreements on work hours, pay rates, and price-fixing.
However, the NRA faced criticism and conflicting goals from different stakeholders. Business leaders sought guaranteed profits and security for their investments, while congressional critics wanted fair and transparent pricing. Some intellectuals called for more extensive government intervention through central economic planning. Labor union representatives, meanwhile, struggled to achieve the promised collective bargaining rights. The codes of fair practice implemented by the NRA did little to aid economic recovery and, in fact, exacerbated the situation by raising prices.
The NRA's existence was short-lived due to widespread criticism. In May 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States that the compulsory-code system violated the Constitution. The Court held that the NIRA improperly delegated legislative powers to the executive and that the provisions of the poultry code did not regulate interstate commerce. This ruling displayed the Court's reluctance to support Roosevelt's argument for radical innovation in response to the economic crisis. President Roosevelt would later use this decision as evidence to advocate for reforming the Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld federal standards that prioritize Native Americans and tribal members in the adoption or foster care placements of Native American children. The court rejected a challenge claiming that parts of the law were racially biased against non-Native Americans. The ruling, with a 7-2 vote, overturned a lower court decision that struck down a requirement giving preference to "other Indian families" in adoption and foster care.
The plaintiffs, the state of Texas and three non-Native American families, lacked legal standing to bring the case, according to the justices. The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 was enacted by Congress to end the practice of removing Native American children from their families and placing them with non-Native Americans. The law aimed to protect tribal sovereignty and Native American children.
Native American groups celebrated the decision, emphasizing the importance of the law for the safety and well-being of Native children and families. The Supreme Court's ruling did not address the merits of the race claims in the case, leaving room for future lawsuits. The decision will impact the adoption efforts of one of the families involved in the case.
Bayer AG has agreed to a $6.9 million settlement with New York Attorney General Letitia James over claims that it misled consumers by advertising Roundup weedkiller as environmentally safe. The settlement resolves allegations that Bayer and its subsidiary Monsanto made unsubstantiated claims about Roundup's safety and its active ingredient, glyphosate. The claims included statements that Roundup does not harm anything other than weeds and poses no threat to animal wildlife.
The settlement requires Bayer to cease advertising glyphosate-based Roundup as a safe and non-toxic product. The $6.9 million will be allocated to initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of pesticides on pollinators and aquatic species. Bayer did not admit or deny wrongdoing but expressed satisfaction with the settlement. The company has faced significant legal challenges regarding Roundup and cancer allegations, settling much of the litigation for $10.9 billion in 2020.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a law that requires all state-funded colleges and universities in Texas to shut down their diversity, equity, and inclusion offices. The law, considered the most significant ban on diversity offices in higher education in the country, coincides with an anticipated Supreme Court ruling that may prohibit colleges and universities from considering race in admissions decisions.
Institutions that fail to certify compliance with the law will be unable to utilize state funds allocated to them. The law also mandates biennial studies by state officials until 2029 to assess the law's impact on students based on race, examining application rates, acceptance rates, retention, graduation, and grade point averages. While proponents of the law argue for a merit-based approach, critics contend that it prioritizes a political agenda over student success. The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education expressed disappointment, emphasizing the benefits of diversity for all students and their commitment to advocating for accessibility and inclusivity in Texas universities.
A federal judge has scheduled the second defamation trial of writer E. Jean Carroll against former U.S. President Donald Trump for January 2024. The trial will proceed on January 15, 2024, unless the case is previously resolved. This raises the possibility of Trump facing three trials early next year as he pursues the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Trump is facing criminal charges in Florida for mishandling classified documents and in Manhattan for covering up hush money payments to a porn star. Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in damages from Trump for defamation. Her lawyer expressed the desire to move quickly with the claims. Trump had denied raping Carroll in the mid-1990s and claimed she was not his type. In a separate lawsuit, a Manhattan jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million for defamation and sexual assault. The judge has allowed Carroll to amend her lawsuit to include recent comments made by Trump on CNN.