Law Offices of David Clough P.C.
 
"The legal system is often a mystery, and we, its priests, preside over rituals baffling to everyday citizens."
 
                                                        -Henry Miller 
Available for matters in Cook, Dupage, and Will Counties
Established in 2001
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July 2014
What the Recent Supreme Court Decisions Really Mean

Subtlety and nuance are the hallmarks of any Supreme Court decision. Often it takes many readings of their opinion to finally "get" what they are trying to tell us. For example, the Roberts Court gave an opinion a number of months ago regarding the validity of the Affordable Care Act - aka Obama Care - that basically said "Obama Care is legal, and it is a tax no matter what it might be called." In delving a little bit deeper into that opinion, it became clear what the court was really saying: "You guys made this mess, and it's not our job to fix it. You knuckleheads need to fix it. But, here's a hint: this

law we consider a tax."

 

So it is with the most recent decisions. People that should know better are trying to encapsulate 95-page decisions into a 10-second sound bite. The ensuing sound bites have polarized the American people because they don't actually state what the court really said, they just try to shore up their political bases and gain more campaign funds for their disparate causes.

 

Sound Bite: Inherited IRAs are not protected in Bankruptcies

In Clark v. Rameker, the Supremes told us that Funds held in inherited Individual Retirement Accounts are not "retirement funds" and thus, that money can be turned over to creditors to satisfy debts. The nuance was that in order to make the inherited IRA exempt, it should have been placed in the debtors' own individual IRA, and then it would have been untouchable.

 

Sound Bite: The Supreme Court is trying to destroy Public Unions

Harris v. Quinn is a case involving the Illinois Governor and Pamela Harris. She serves as the caretaker to her son Josh, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder. Pamela receives Medicaid funds to do so and essentially functions as a state employee. Therefore, Gov. Quinn said she must join or make payments to the SEI union to take care of her kid, if she wants to get money from the state. The Supremes held "The First Amendment prohibits the collection of an agency fee from the plaintiffs in this case, home health care providers who do not wish to join or support a union." The nuance was "You knucklehead! You want mothers to be forced to join unions to take care of their disabled kids?"

 

Sound Bite: The Supreme Court hates Women and is Destroying Her Rights

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the issue was one of a closely-held corporation being forced to provide contraception methods to their female employees even if they do not agree with 

that method of contraception. The Supremes ruled, "As applied to closely-held corporations, the regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring employers to provide their female employees with no-cost access to contraception violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act." The nuance was that the Supreme Court told the plaintiffs the lawsuit was bogus in at least two ways: 1) Because President Bill Clinton (a Democrat) signed into law the Freedom Restoration Act, which allows companies like Hobby Lobby not to provide benefits they truly believe morally objectionable to its employees, we have to go with the older law; and 2) Hobby Lobby has provided at least 16 different methods of contraception in its insurance plan; the few that they do not wish to provide can be adequately covered by the 16 they do.

 

As always, I hope you find our e-newsletters of interest. If you missed previous issues, we are now archiving them for readers' convenience (see the links in the sidebar). If there are topics you'd like addressed in future emails, please let me know. And feel free to share this newsletter with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, and remind them I'm available to assist with legal matters in DuPage, Cook, Will, and Lake counties. 

 

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Law Offices of David Clough P.C. | 312-849-3000 | david@davidcloughlaw.com | http://www.davidcloughlaw.com
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