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U.S. Supreme Court Turns Away Two Closely-Watched Cases

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court declined to decide if delivery drivers for Amazon.com, Domino’s Pizza, and a Flowers Foods subsidiary can get out of having to go through mandatory arbitration for employment claims, which the court recently said applies to a wide range of industries.

The court turned down both companies’ separate requests to review lower court decisions that said the drivers were working in interstate commerce even when they were making local deliveries and were exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which meant they could go to court with a class action wage claim instead of an individual arbitration claim.

Many workers sign arbitration agreements that are otherwise valid, but the FAA doesn’t apply to transportation workers who work in interstate commerce. In each case, the companies and lawyers for the plaintiffs did not answer when asked for comment, Reuters noted.

In the case of Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries, which came up earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the FAA exemption can apply to any transport workers, not just those who work in the transportation industry. This ended a disagreement between federal appeals courts.

The three cases that the court turned down on Monday all asked if workers, like Amazon “last mile” drivers and Domino’s drivers who deliver supplies and ingredients to franchisees, were involved in enough interstate commerce to be free from the law.

Amazon has asked the justices to review similar decisions in at least two other cases, but they have turned them down both times.

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In the 2022 case Saxon v. Southwest Airlines, the Supreme Court also talked about the scope of the exemption. They said that airline baggage handler supervisors were involved in interstate commerce because they were in charge of moving bags between states.

In 2022, the Supreme Court told the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to think again about its decision against Domino’s because of the Southwest decision. Last year, the 9th Circuit in San Francisco said that the high court’s decision supported its earlier decision that Domino’s drivers do not have to go through arbitration.

The Supreme Court made headlines this week in a separate case.

The nation’s highest court handed former President Donald Trump’s campaign a victory on Monday as the effort to remove him from the ballot in several states ahead of the 2024 election continues.

“The Court denied a writ of certiorari petition from John Castro, a registered Republican candidate for president in 2024, who sought to have Trump removed from the ballot in Arizona,” Newsweek reported.

Castro, John A. V. Fontes, AZ Sec. Of State, et al. The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment is denied,” the high court said in its ruling, which rejected a review of an earlier decision to allow Trump on the ballot in the state.

Castro had filed lawsuits in several states to remove Trump from ballots over alleged connection to the January 6 riots and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

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In December, U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes rejected Castro’s filing, which prompted him to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The judge noted in his ruling that Castro’s argument “lacks standing to bring his claim,” NBC News reported. Castro argued that Trump should be disqualified from the ballot in Arizona for allegedly offering support to “insurrectionists” on January 6, 2021.

The judge also said that his arguments “do not show that Castro is truly competing with Trump.”

In March, the high court delivered its long-awaited ruling on the case involving the Colorado Supreme Court banning him from that state’s 2024 ballot, overturning that ruling to allow Trump to appear.

Earlier, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig outlined how he thought the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in the 14th Amendment cases filed throughout the country to keep Trump off the ballot.

After assessing all of the potential questions and scenarios, the former federal prosecutor wrote that he believes the nation’s highest court will rule in favor of Trump.

“Nobody knows for sure how this is going to go. No practitioner, no law professor, no retired judge, no Twitter icon, no TV analyst or former prosecutor (ahem) can rightly make bold declarations about how the ongoing legal Armageddon over the 14th Amendment will ultimately come out,” Honig began in his column for the New York Intelligencer. “…[W]e can draw on adjacent examples, but we’ve never seen anything quite like the ongoing effort to disqualify Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot.”

Across the country, the vast majority of 14th Amendment challenges have not succeeded.

Many have been dismissed by secretaries of State, state courts, or federal judges for a variety of reasons.

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