Passenger Sues Airline After Being Forced to Share Sit With Obese Individuals

EY-Etihad-Airways-new-logo-EnBoeing_777-FFX,_Etihad_Airways_Cargo_AN2275000James Andres Bassos has an interesting lawsuit against Etihad Airways for a flight from Sydney to Dubai. Bassos charges that he was forced to sit next to a “grossly overweight” person and, as a result, injured his back in having to contort his body during the flight. The court in Brisbane, Australia decided that Bassos has a legitimate claim and declined to dismiss he lawsuit.

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Holiday party prep: 5 reasons you hated/loved the Obamacare decision

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By Cara L. Gallagher, weekend contributor

5 reasons you hated/loved the Obamacare decision (King v. Burwell):

What a week last week turned out to be at the Supreme Court! It certainly was exciting and unlike last year there wasn’t just one big case, like Hobby Lobby, that got so much attention. There were several big opinions that got the public’s attention over the last week, but one in particular has come up a lot this week.

Odds are you heard bits and pieces of the decisions, but it wasn’t exactly a light week for current events so you may have some gaps in the details. There’s also a very good chance you’re going to a holiday party this weekend where family or friends will gather and try ever so hard to avoid the cardinal sin of holiday gatherings – political discussions. They’re unavoidable and they always seem to happen whether you want them to or not. Rather than squirm or awkwardly walk away from the table when the inevitable happens, be ready and poised for that moment when someone says, “Did you hear about that healthcare decision?

Such a question is not totally inappropriate. Given how recently the Court finished the term with not only controversial and timely cases, but also a spectacular array of passionate majority opinions, thundering dissents, and even one cantankerous concurrence read from the bench, it’s no surprise the subject could come up. Lots of folks fall back on current events as discussion starters at holiday parties when no one knows what else to talk about. Listen, we’re here to encourage you to resist the urge to flee either because you don’t feel confident enough to hold the conversation or you’re worried your politics may differ from the person engaging the discussion. It’s gonna be ok. Continue reading

Burning Man Burning Over Federal Demands For Ice Cream and 24-hour Accommodations Employees

375px-Strawberry_ice_cream_cone_(5076899310)150px-Blm.svgI Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream. The organizers of the famous Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert have been faced with a bizarre demand from U.S. land managers that the counterculture event supply special lodging, ice cream and other amenities to their staff working at the event. This includes 24-hour access to Chobani Greek Yogurt and a standalone freezer with Drumstick and Choco Taco ice cream for members of the United States Bureau of Land Management. The federal agencies have been steadily tacking on costs on the events and increasing the fees from $1 million in 2011 to an anticipated $5 million this year. The special compound for federal employees have been estimated to cost as much as $1 million.

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Not Obamacare or gay marriage; The race and discrimination case (TX Housing v. ICP)

By Cara L. Gallagher, weekend contributor

While you were celebrating your free healthcare at gay wedding receptions, you likely missed a decision in a critical case about discrimination, housing, and a legal matter called disparate impact. The decision in this case (Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project) came down Thursday and was off the radar because the Obamacare decision came down the same day. Roberts delivered the Obamacare decision, which upheld the national insurance program and was joined by five other justices. Yes, this much-hyped case – the biggest of the term, in the eyes of some – did not turn out to be a 5-4 decision. The Texas case, however, was the 5-4 case of the day in which Kennedy cast a decisive vote and authored the opinion for the four other liberal justices. Continue reading

The same-sex marriage decisions; a view from inside the SCOTUS

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Cara L. Gallagher, weekend contributor

History happened yesterday. Will you remember where you were when the same-sex marriage decisions came down? I will. I was inside the Court when we all sat up somewhat shocked to hear the first case of the day was Obergefell v. Hodges. Again, I am lousy at predicting what cases we’ll get decisions on each day. This fact is already entered into the record. But because it was a decision of such importance, for the first time, I stopped writing, listened, and looked around to see how the audience, the public, were not only hearing but experiencing what I was hearing.

It wasn’t obvious from the start of Kennedy’s reading of the majority (made up of the four liberal justices) decision that it would come out on the side of the same-sex couples, many of which were in the Court to hear their case. He started off referencing the “millennia” of the institution of marriage. Those who listened to the oral arguments back in March will recall Kennedy used this word a lot to question Mary Bonauto, the attorney for the same-sex couples, on why the definition of marriage should be expanded to include same-sex couples when, for so long, it has been reserved to one man-one woman. Continue reading

The saddest case, but best decision, out of the SCOTUS last week

By Cara L. Gallagher
Weekend Contributor

Last week, six cases rained down on us in one day at the Supreme Court. While the church signs and “bath salts” opinions got our attention, as did the bizarre and tragic timing of the Confederate flag drivers license decision, none of those stayed with me the entirety of the weekend like Ohio v. Clark. This is a case that all teachers, administrators, and parents should know about. Last Thursday, the Supreme Court announced a critical decision about conversations between students and teachers in schools around the country. Continue reading

Who should draw districts – politicians or independent commissions?

By Cara L. Gallagher
Weekend Contributor

GerrymanderArizona’s political civil war calls our attention back to the Supreme Court for another case about political elections. The dispute in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission rests on the definition of who holds the power of a critical component of political agency in a state – the power to redraw districts. In 37 states, the legislatures have the power to redraw districts. Arizona used to be one of those states until, in 2000, voters changed the state Constitution redistributing that power from legislators to an independent, bipartisan commission. Continue reading