Another statutory construction case was Hughes v. Northwestern University, which held that a customer’s ultimate control over its account is not a defense to a fiduciary duty claim against ERISA plan administrators, who have continuing duties to monitor investments. Unicolors v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz was a straightforward application of the language of Copyright Act § 411(b)(1)(A): a registration is valid even if it contains errors, so long as the registrant lacked knowledge of the inaccuracies.
West Virginia v. EPA is perhaps more difficult to categorize. In that case, the Court held that § 111(d) of the Clean Air Act did not authorize parts of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulations. The Court held that the regulations would have worked a major change in environmental regulation, and that such a major change must be clearly set forth by Congress. Is this more of a statutory construction case, which looked at the scope of the Clean Air Act? Or is it more of a separation of powers case, which deems major changes to existing practice to be a legislative function? Or a bit of both?
City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising was a classification issue, asking whether the city’s rule governing billboards was a “time, place and manner” restriction that survives first amendment scrutiny, or was an impermissible content regulation. In that case, different rules applied to on-premises and off-premises signs. The Court held that the different treatment was based on location, not content.
The so-called “shadow docket” saw a split decision on vaccine mandates. NFIB v. OSHA held that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did not have authority to impose vac- cine mandates on employees of private businesses. But Biden v. Missouri held that facilities accepting Medicare and Medicaid funds could be required to mandate vaccines for their employees.
The Court has granted certiorari in a number of important cases that will be heard during the coming term, which will start in October 2022. Among the subjects the Court will address:
- 303 Creative v. Elenis – Does a public accommodation law violate freedom of speech under the first amendment if it compels a web designer to create content for a same-sex wedding?
- Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard; SFA v. UNC – Are race-conscious admissions in education permissible under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment?
- Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. – Is a state law requiring corporations to consent to suit as a condition of doing business in the state unconstitutional?
- Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith – What is “transformative” for purposes of “fair use” exception to copyright infringement?
- National Pork Producers Council v. Ross – Does state regulation with effect outside the state violate the dormant commerce clause?