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LIIBULLETIN: US Supreme Court arguments this week

supreme-ct.jpegApril 22 Davis v. Federal Election Commission: Over the years, Congress and the judiciary have made significant changes to the campaign finance system in an attempt to make it more evenhanded and to root out corruption. The case at hand is another test of Congress’s latest attempt to create sustainable election financing laws through the so-called “Millionaire’s Amendment”.

Giles v. California: Defendants have a right to confront witnesses by subjecting them to cross-examination under the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause, but may waive this right by making a witness unavailable through wrongdoing. The Court’s decision in this case will determine the scope of a defendant’s right to cross-examine witnesses and how broadly courts may apply the forfeiture doctrine.

April 23 Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory: Since 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) has provided both a means to ferret out insidious age discrimination and an effective defense for the business community to justify its actions through the “reasonable factors other than age”defense. In this case, the Court will determine whether the burden of proving the “reasonableness” of the challenged practice falls upon the employer or the employee — a decision worth almost $6 million dollars in this case.

Metlife V. Glenn: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) provides a private cause of action for employees challenging wrongful denials of benefits under an employee benefits plan. In this case, the Court will determine whether and to what extent a plan administrator that both authorizes the payment of benefits and is responsible for the payment of those benefits has a conflict of interest that must be considered on judicial review.