The US Supreme Court on Monday announced that it had examined three other cases in the areas of civil procedure law, bankruptcy law and labor compensation. The announcement marked the court’s first regular order list in nearly a month when judges returned from their winter vacation break.
The first case United States versus Washington, addresses the federal government’s challenge to a government worker compensation bill in Washington. These are 10,000 federal employees who work at the Hanford site, a former nuclear production complex that was operated by the US government from 1943 to 1971.
The site was the world’s first large-scale plutonium production reactor and produced material that was used in the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. A significant amount of radioactive waste was also created, which has created environmental and health problems in the workplace. The issue at stake is whether workers at the cleanup site are eligible for a workers’ compensation bill passed by Washington legislature in 2018, or whether such a bill is precluded by the principles of interstate immunity.
State lawmakers changed their workers’ compensation law to cover 100,000 former and current federal contract workers who have worked on the site over the past 70 years. The amended law is based on the assumption that occupational diseases caused by work at the radioactive site should trigger entitlement to benefits. The federal government argued that such laws expose it and state contractors to “massive new costs” that state and private employers in a similar situation do not, so a Bloomberg report. The judges of the ninth circle confirmed the law, and the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to open the case.
The second case Seal v. Fitzgerald, deals with fees in the bankruptcy court. the Bankruptcy Court ActIt was passed in 2017 and raised fees in some bankruptcy courts and not in others. The Supreme Court will determine whether this violates a provision in the bankruptcy clause of the Constitution that directs Congress to “pass unified bankruptcy laws across the United States.” The charges in question have been challenged by a trustee for Circuit City and ruled unconstitutional by the Eastern District of Virginia Bankruptcy Court. In the appeal process, the fees were maintained through the fourth circle.
The last case Kemp versus United States, deals with civil litigation. In that case, it will be examined whether a district court can reopen a judgment under the Federal Code of Civil Procedure 60 (b) (1). According to this rule, the district court can revisit a judgment for “error, carelessness, surprise or excusable negligence” if the original judgment is based on a legal error by the district court. The district court rejected Kemp’s motion as premature after the conviction, and it was confirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the eleventh district. The Supreme Court granted review despite Opposition from the Ministry of Justicestating that this problem rarely occurs.