The Network for Public Health Law monitors key court cases and relevant judicial trends in public health. The Network’s monthly reporter, Judicial Trends in Public Health (JTPH), highlights select published cases from the prior 3 months in public health law and policy. These cases are organized below by name, issuing court, date of issuance, along with a brief synopsis, link to the case abstract, and hyperlink to the full decisions (when publicly available). For more information, including a topic digest of these and other cases, see below. Questions, comments, thoughts? Contact the Network for more information.
Gary B. v. Whitmer (U.S. Court of Appeals – Sixth Circuit, April 23, 2020): In a landmark decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized a federal constitutional right to a basic minimum education and access to literacy. Read the abstract here.
Laddy Curtis Valentine v. Bryan Collier (U.S. Supreme Court, May 14, 2020): The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay of a preliminary injunction against a Texas geriatric prison. Read the abstract here.
In re Texas (Texas Supreme Court, May 27, 2020): The Texas Supreme Court determined that a lack of immunity to COVID-19 did not qualify as a “physical condition” that would entitle a voter to qualify to vote-by-mail under the “disability” category of the state’s election code. Read the abstract here.
Center for Science in the Public Interest v. Sonny Perdue (U.S. District Court – District of Maryland, April 13, 2020): The federal district court vacated and remanded USDA’s December 2018 final rule on sodium and whole grain requirements for federal school lunch and breakfast programs. Read the abstract here.
County of San Mateo v. Chevron Corp & City of Oakland v. BP PLC (U.S. Court of Appeals – Ninth Circuit, May 26, 2020): In companion cases brought by California cities and counties, the Ninth Circuit denied energy companies’ requests to move climate change lawsuits to federal court holding neither suit raises federal claims. Read the abstract here.
DeRuiter v. Township of Byron (Supreme Court of Michigan, April 27, 2020): Michigan’s highest court held that the state medical marijuana law did not preempt a local zoning ordinance that restricted where marijuana could be cultivated. Read the abstract here.
South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom (U.S. Supreme Court, May 29, 2020): The U.S. Supreme Court denied a church’s request to enjoin Governor Newsom’s Executive Order (EO) limiting attendance at places of worship to 25% of a building’s capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees. Read the abstract here.
McCarthy v. Baker (U.S. District Court – District of Massachusetts, May 7, 2020): The federal district court in Massachusetts preliminarily enjoined Governor Baker’s Executive Order (EO) closing non-essential businesses due to COVID-19 as applied to firearm retailers. Read the abstract here.
Wisconsin Legislature v. Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm (Wisconsin Supreme Court, May 13, 2020): The Wisconsin Supreme Court held the “Safer At Home” Emergency Order extending requirements that all nonessential businesses remain closed and forbidding all nonessential travel is unlawful. Read the abstract here.
Elkhorn Baptist Church v. Brown (Oregon Supreme Court, May 5, 2020): The Oregon Supreme Court temporarily stayed a state trial court’s ruling that granted temporary injunctive relief blocking Governor Brown’s emergency orders relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the abstract here.
JTPH is a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices edited by April Shaw, JD, PhD, Staff Attorney, at the Western Region Office. Additional contributors include: James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, Kathi Hoke, JD, Leila Barraza, JD, MPH, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, JD, MPH, Mathew R. Swinburne, JD, Megan Griest, MPP, Michelle Notrica, Pharm.D., J.D., MPH, and Emily Carey.
Legal information or guidance provided in this transmission or website does not constitute legal advice or representation. For legal advice, please consult specific legal counsel in your state.