On this day in legal history, August 11, 1792, the Supreme Court delivered its first reported decision in Georgia v. Brailsford.
It arose from a debt dispute between the state of Georgia and a British creditor, and it is renowned for being one of the first cases in which the Supreme Court exercised its original jurisdiction as well as being the first reported decision. In this case, the court allowed a jury trial to be conducted to determine the facts, a rarity in original jurisdiction cases and the only jury trial in the history of the Supreme Court. The jury ruled in favor of Brailsford, the British creditor, and against the state of Georgia, marking a crucial assertion of judicial independence.
The decision of the Supreme Court in this case set a precedent that state law could not infringe upon the rights of citizens from another state or foreign creditors. At a time when the nation was in its infancy and still developing its legal system, Georgia v. Brailsford demonstrated the importance of federal law and the willingness of the judicial branch to check state power. It was also a case that highlighted the evolving relationship between the United States and foreign nations following the Revolutionary War.
The EPA's largest union, the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, is resisting the White House's directive for federal employees to return to office work. Last week, the Biden administration, along with several mayors, expressed a desire for federal workers to return to offices in the fall to help rejuvenate downtown areas. The EPA union is in a unique situation because it already has an agreement with management for expanded telecommuting, and the agency has publicly committed to honoring that contract. Marie Owens Powell, president of AFGE Council 238, emphasized that telework has been essential for productivity and recruitment, especially in attracting young talent in the science and technology sectors. Furthermore, Powell argued that forcing employees back to the office could undermine the EPA's environmental mission, including its goal to cut carbon emissions. The union has previously dismissed the notion that federal employees' presence is essential for local business recovery. Amid rising COVID-19 rates, Powell expressed that it would be wise for all to continue being careful, indicating that the situation should be approached collaboratively and in accordance with established protocols.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled its first-ever lawsuit regarding AI discrimination in hiring, reaching an agreement with iTutorGroup Inc., which allegedly used recruitment software to automatically reject applicants aged 40 and over. iTutorGroup will pay $365,000 to a group of rejected applicants, according to the consent decree filed. The settlement is part of the EEOC's wider focus on discrimination that may occur when employers use AI and machine learning tools in hiring decisions. This incident comes as AI use has surged across various business sectors, leading to calls for more federal and state regulation in an area that has seen limited oversight. Under the decree, iTutor is not only required to pay damages but must also adopt anti-discrimination policies, conduct training, and invite those rejected because of their age to reapply. EEOC's actions align with its strategic enforcement plan and statements by the agency's chair, emphasizing AI as a "new civil rights frontier." With a Democratic majority in the commission, the agency is expected to intensify its policy efforts, possibly including automated tools within the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.
The US Supreme Court has agreed to consider potentially overturning Purdue Pharma LP's $6 billion opioid settlement, following an appeal by the Biden administration that argues the settlement improperly protects the Sackler family, who own the company. The high court's review threatens Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy reorganization plan, which aims to resolve numerous lawsuits against the OxyContin maker and contribute billions of dollars to counter the opioid crisis. The court has also halted the implementation of the settlement while considering the case and will hear arguments in December, with a decision likely early next year. The Justice Department's contention is that federal bankruptcy courts lack the authority to shield the Sacklers from lawsuits since they have not filed for protection themselves. Purdue Pharma and advocates for opioid victims have urged the Supreme Court to allow the settlement to proceed, emphasizing the legality of the reorganization plan. The company also argued that federal bankruptcy law permits third parties to be protected from lawsuits under certain conditions. The committee representing victims and other Purdue Pharma creditors has warned that any delay could have "dire, real-world consequences" for those awaiting assistance.
Donald Trump's lawyers will ask a judge on Friday to allow the former U.S. president more flexibility to publicly share parts of the evidence that will be used in his trial for allegedly plotting to overturn the 2020 election. Prosecutors oppose this request, fearing that Trump could use the confidential information to intimidate witnesses. U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith's office previously asked the judge to impose a "protective order" to safeguard the evidence before sharing it with Trump's defense team. Trump's attorneys argue that the scope of the protective order is overly broad and conflicts with his First Amendment free speech rights. In one example, prosecutors cited a threatening message Trump posted on social media, which they believe could have a "chilling effect" on witnesses. In addition to this case, Trump is also facing charges in Florida for retaining classified records after leaving the White House and New York state charges over hush-money payments. He has pleaded not guilty in all three cases.