Today’s News & Commentary — March 10, 2015

Published March 10th, 2015 -  - 03.10.1512


The Supreme Court has released its opinion in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Associationa significant administrative law case impacting the Labor Department and NLRB’s rule-making authority. In a 9-0 decision, the Court held that an executive agency can change its interpretation of its own rules/regulations without going through a notice-and-comment period. This decision overturns the previous standard (the Paralyzed Veterans doctrine), which did require federal agencies to go through public notice-and-comment procedures if they substantially altered an “interpretive” rule. Read more background and commentary at SCOTUSBlog.

Today, oral arguments were heard in a case challenging part of Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage laws. The International Franchise Association, represented by Paul Clement, argues that the law violates franchisor’s First Amendment rights, discriminating against franchisees as it designates their stores as “big businesses” ineligible for delayed enactment. The case is International Franchise Association Inc., et al. v City of Seattle, et al.,  and the complaint can be found here. The Associated Press and POLITICO report.

Hundreds of Dubai construction workers went on strike Tuesday morning, in one of the most public demonstrations by workers in the region. The United Arab Emirates and many other Persian Gulf states ban both workers’ unions and protesting in public areas. Most workers were migrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, protesting pay cuts and deteriorating working conditions. Police dispersed the crowds within an hour, and local authorities claim disputes between the workers and their employer have been resolved. The Wall Street Journal reports.

Monday evening, President Obama expressed his disappointment in the passage of Wisconsin’s new right to work law. “It’s inexcusable that, over the past several years, just when middle-class families and workers need that kind of security the most, there’s been a sustained, coordinated assault on unions, led by powerful interests and their allies in government,” the President remarked. POLITICO reports.

A week after the District of Columbia has legalized marijuana, D.C. employers and unions are maneuvering to adjust related employment laws and policies. A current emergency measure in D.C. bans requiring drug testing of prospective employees before extending job offers. Under this measure, employers still have a right to enforce their own drug policies, including mandatory screenings, for anyone on payroll. In Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized since 2012, a handful of employees dismissed for marijuana use have filed lawsuits claiming that medical marijuana use is a “lawful” activity for which an employer cannot terminate employees. Commentators anticipate similar litigation to begin appearing in D.C. The Washington Post reports.

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