Supreme Court rules in deportation, employment cases

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Tuesday, the 2nd of June, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down five decisions yesterday.

First, a 7-2 decision in favor of a Lebanese native caught up in deportation proceedings. 

Nidal Nasrallah came to the United States in 2006. He’d been a teenager when Hezbollah terrorists nearly killed him. 

Later, he became a lawful permanent resident. But authorities began deportation proceedings against Nasrallah after a criminal conviction landed him in prison for a year. 

Fearing he’d face torture back in Lebanon, he argued that the Convention Against Torture treaty protects him from deportation.

But he met a roadblock in federal appeals court. That court held that it lacked authority to review the facts of his case. 

The Supreme Court reversed that and said federal courts do have jurisdiction to review the facts. That gives Nasrallah the chance now to pursue his case.

EICHER: Next, a decision involving Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy. 

President Obama appointed members to the Financial Oversight and Management Board. That panel has power to direct the territory out of its fiscal problems.

The Constitution empowers presidents to nominate and appoint public officials with the advice and consent of the Senate. But that’s not what happened here. So creditors who didn’t like the board’s actions sued.

Unanimously, though, the Supreme Court held that because the board’s authority is both limited and local, presidents don’t need Senate approval for their appointees.

REICHARD: A 7-2 ruling hands victory to a prisoner in Texas. It allows a review of the prisoner’s 30-year sentence for aggravated assault. This highly technical legal question dealt with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the timeliness of filing an appeal.

EICHER: Opinion four is unanimous and it strengthens the power of arbitration as a substitute for litigation. The court ruled that a subsidiary business that wasn’t originally a party to an arbitration agreement can still force arbitration, even when the principal parties that made the agreement try to break the agreement.

All 9 justices said fairness requires those principals abide by their own agreement.

REICHARD: Lastly, a split ruling 5-to-4 involving the federal law ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The Supreme Court says employees who’ve suffered no actual financial harm lack standing to sue under the provisions of ERISA. This effectively ends a now seven-year dispute that accused US Bank of squandering millions in risky investments.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) In this May 3, 2020 photo, the setting sun shines on the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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