Merrick Garland on Civil Rights
Last June, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is legal in all 50 states under the Fourteenth Amendment. The 5-4 ruling just before many Pride Parade weekends were about to kick off, most notably in New York City. The ruling overrode bans in 13 states against gay marriage, enforcing the law of equal rights all across the United States. The Supreme Court justices found that under the 14th Amendment, all states must recognize same-sex couples and allow same-sex unions.
The unanimous rulings in which Judge Garland participated similarly reflect a concern that civil rights plaintiffs receive an appropriate day in Court. E.g., Steele v. Schafer (2008, per Garland, reinstating hostile work environment and retaliation claims); Harris v. Gonzales (2007, Garland joining opinion, reversing judgment that employee could not establish lack of notice of filing deadline for civil rights suit).
Judge Garland also authored an opinion narrowly reading states' sovereign immunity from suit under the civil rights laws (Barbour v. WMATA, 2004, joined by then-Judge John Roberts, holding that WMATA waived sovereign immunity from suit by accepting funds under Rehabilitation Act).
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