A Review of the Supreme Court’s 2011 – 2012 Term


As the United States Supreme Court’s 2011-2012 term drew to a close at the end of June, the Court’s decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA or the Act) dominated media coverage. Unquestionably, this decision delivered a historic victory to President Barack Obama’s administration and requires that employers now turn their full attention to complying with the law.

Partly as a result of the health care decision, commentators had differing views of the term. While the Roberts Court continues to be viewed as generally pro-business, some observers argued that this term marked a “radical” shift to the right by the Court, while others opined that the term was relatively favorable for progressives. In the employment arena, however, the results were more readily apparent. Indeed, with the notable exception of health care, every major Court ruling directly addressing employment issues was favorable to employers. The seven major employment related decisions issued by the Court this term include:

- One health care case (Sebelius)

- One case on FLSA exemptions (Christopher)

- One case on religious institutions (Hosanna-Tabor)

- Three public employee cases (Coleman, Knox, and Elgin)

- One immigration case (Arizona)

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