This week’s legal news was dominated by four highly anticipated opinions that came down from the United States Supreme Court on affirmative action, voting rights and marriage equality. That said, our writers also found a few other opinions of note to include in their weekly picks.
United States Supreme Court
- Hollingsworth v. Perry, United States Supreme Court (6/26/13)
- United States v. Windsor, United States Supreme Court 6/26/13)
- Shelby County v. Eric H. Holder, Jr., United States Supreme Court (6/25/13)
- Fisher v. University of Texas, United States Supreme Court (6/24/13)
Int’l Internship Program v. Napolitano, US DC Cir. (06/25/13)
Constitutional Law, Government & Administrative Law, Immigration Law
Plaintiff challenged the district court’s holding affirming the USCIS’s denial of several of plaintiff’s petitions for Q-1 visas for foreign applicants to its cultural exchange program. USCIS denied the petitions because it interpreted its regulation to require sponsors of a cultural exchange program to pay wages to the participating aliens and plaintiff admittedly did not pay its participants any wages. Given 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(Q)’s specific references to “employed,” “wages,” and “workers,” the court agreed with USCIS that the statute was best read to require that the foreign citizens receive wages and that those wages be equivalent to the wages of domestic workers. Given 8 C.F.R. 214.2(q)(4)(i)(D)’s references to “employer,” “wages,” “workers,” and “remunerate,” the court agreed with USCIS that the regulation was best read to require that foreign citizens receive wages and that those wages be comparable to those of local workers. Finally, when USCIS denied plaintiff’s petitions in 2010, the agency did not trigger the notice-and-comment procedures in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604, 605(b), or the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 533(b)-(c), because the denials were not rules under either act; rather, they were informal adjudications. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.
Ceja v. Rudolph & Sletten, Inc., California Supreme Court (6/20/13)
Family Law, Injury Law
Decedent was already married when he and Plaintiff obtained a marriage license and held their wedding ceremony. Three years later, Decedent was killed in an accident at a construction site. Plaintiff filed this wrongful death action against Defendant, claiming she was the putative spouse of Decedent. Defendant moved for summary judgment, contending that Plaintiff lacked standing to sue in this case because she did not have the requisite “good faith belief” under Cal. Civ. P. Code 377.60 that her marriage to Decedent was valid. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant after applying an objective test for putative spouse status. The court of appeal reversed, holding that Plaintiff’s subjective state of mind, if found credible by the trial court, could support a finding of good faith belief and establish putative spouse status. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 377.60 contemplates a subjective standard that focuses on the alleged putative spouse’s state of mind to determine whether she had a genuine belief in the validity of the marriage; and (2) the trial court erred in applying a reasonable person test that required Plaintiff’s belief in the validity of the marriage to be objectively reasonable.