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Important Supreme Court Cases to Watch

Date: January 03, 2014

Two cases could affect small business legal rights

NFIB is working to defend small business legal rights in two upcoming Supreme Court cases. One case concerns burdensome environmental regulations; the other has to do with union bullying. Here’s why they matter to you.

NFIB is defending small business legal rights in two Supreme Court cases.

NFIB Sues EPA Over Greenhouse Gas Regulations

NFIB successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to hear American Chemistry Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, an environmental case concerning the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

In 2009, the EPA deemed greenhouse gases a threat to public health and welfare. The agency assumed greenhouse gas regulatory authority under the CAA and created new permitting requirements, fuel choice restrictions and requirements for installing energy efficient equipment. These regulations burden small businesses such as restaurants and manufacturing facilities that produce emissions.

“The EPA has manipulated the Clean Air Act, a law never intended to address global warming, to impose cumbersome greenhouse gas restrictions on businesses,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center, in a statement. “For the small business community, complex environmental regulations like the CAA are especially burdensome.”

Arguments for the case will take place Feb. 24.

NFIB Files Amicus in Union Bullying Case

NFIB also filed an amicus brief in the labor case Harris v. Quinn, a case concerning union bullying.

The state of Illinois operates Medicaid-waiver programs that pay for in-home care for disabled individuals. More than 4,500 individual healthcare workers provide in-home care through the programs. In 2003, Illinois began requiring these workers to pay compulsory fees to the Service Employees International Union, which acts as the workers’ exclusive bargainer with the state over Medicaid reimbursement.

The home-healthcare workers filed a class-action lawsuit against Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, claiming that, by forcing them to pay dues to the union, the state is violating their First Amendment rights to free expressive association.

The Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments on Jan. 21.

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