On April 6, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued rulings in two cases argued during its October term 2019-2020: Babb v. Wilkie and Kansas v. Glover.
The case Babb v. Wilkie came on a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and was argued before SCOTUS on January 15, 2020. The case concerned the federal-sector provision (§633a(a)) of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967.
The issue: Whether the federal-sector provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which provides that personnel actions affecting agency employees aged 40 years or older shall be made free from any “discrimination based on age,” 29 U.S.C. §633a(a), requires a plaintiff to prove that age was a but-for cause of the challenged personnel action.
The outcome: In an 8-1 ruling, SCOTUS reversed and remanded the 11th Circuit’s decision, holding the plain meaning of §633a(a) “indicates that the statute does not require proof that an employment decision would have turned out differently if age had not been taken into account.” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion, “If age is a factor in an employment decision, the statute has been violated.”
The case Kansas v. Glover came on a writ of certiorari to the Kansas Supreme Court and was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on November 4, 2019. The case concerned the Fourth Amendment and the evidence needed by a police officer to make an investigatory stop.
The issue: Whether, for purposes of an investigative stop under the Fourth Amendment, it is reasonable for an officer to suspect that the registered owner of a vehicle is the one driving the vehicle absent any information to the contrary.
The outcome: The court reversed and remanded the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision in an 8-1 ruling, holding that when an officer lacks information negating an inference that the vehicle’s owner is driving the vehicle, an investigative traffic stop made after running a vehicle’s license plate and learning that the registered owner’s driver’s license has been revoked is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
As of April 6, 2020, the court had issued decisions in 20 cases this term. Between 2007 and 2018, SCOTUS released opinions in 924 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year.