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It was a busy year for the Supreme Court, which started 2017 down one justice. Then Neil Gorsuch joined the Court in April, and immediately began making an impact. Lower federal and state courts handed down some influential rulings as well.

Here are the major court decisions from 2017:

Selling food or goods on L.A. sidewalks is illegal, and remains so despite promises from lawmakers to legalize and regulate vending. Even so, the city is about to spend $150,000 to settle a class action lawsuit claiming that police and cleaning crews confiscated and destroyed vendors' property as "a sort of extrajudicial street punishment."

"Law enforcement now recognizes that street vendors have legal rights to their property," said plaintiffs' attorney Cynthia Anderson-Barker, adding the settlement "restores some dignity to a group that has been mistreated by law enforcement."

Not all of the country's residents are native English speakers, nor is everyone fluent in the language. This can be a problem during natural disasters or other emergencies when timely information can be the difference between life and death. But currently, the Federal Communication Commission doesn't require broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast the alerts in languages other than English.

And yesterday a federal court sided with the FCC in a lawsuit challenging English-only emergency alerts.

Churches and religious organizations get some perks when it comes to paying taxes. In fact, 501(c)(3) organizations can be tax exempt, if they follow certain rules. And members of the clergy can get certain tax breaks as well. Or at least they could before a recent federal court ruling in Wisconsin.

The "parsonage allowance" allowed a pastor or "minister of the gospel" to exclude mortgages, utility bills, and other housing-related expenses from gross income on their tax returns. But last week U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the allowance "violates the establishment clause because it does not have a secular purpose or effect and because a reasonable observer would view the statute as an endorsement of religion." The only question is what the IRS and members of the clergy will do now.

Emma Sulkowicz gained notoriety in 2014 when she began carrying a 50-pound mattress around Columbia's campus as part of her senior art thesis and to protest the university's handling of her sexual assault allegations against fellow student Paul Nungesser. Nungesser was found not guilty of misconduct, and police declined to press charges, but Sulkowicz continued her protest of Nungesser's presence on campus.

Nungesser eventually sued the school, first for failing to protect him from Sulkowicz's protest, then, after that case was dismissed, for violating Title IX, claiming that the school's policies amounted to "sex bias in disciplining him for an alleged sexual assault." Although that lawsuit was also dismissed, Columbia settled with Nungesser, though Sulkowicz was not party to the settlement and the terms remain confidential.

In 2014, a class action lawsuit was filed against Neiman Marcus as a result of a data breach in 2013 that exposed the personal data of approximately 350,000 shoppers. The data breach was the result of a hack, and caused the retailer much bad press at the time it was discovered as customers complained about fraudulent charges.

However, recently, the parties have reached a tentative settlement agreement that calls for the retailer to set up a $700,000 claims fund that class members would be able to seek payment from. If a customer can show that they shopped at Neiman, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, or Cusp, between July and October 2013, and that their information was part of the breach, they may be entitled to receive $100. Meanwhile, the attorneys are expected to receive approximately $900,000 in fees and costs. Despite the disparity in attorneys' fees and the class recovery, the parties expect the court to approve the settlement.

The US Supreme Court's ruling on Tuesday will have a significant impact on President Trump and potentially all presidents that come after. In short, the court found that a particular appointment by President Barrack Obama in 2011 violated a federal regulation regarding the nomination of an individual for a position that requires a senate confirmation hearing. The ruling is expected to put more scrutiny upon future presidential appointees.

However, the rule that President Obama is alleged to have violated is one that has been violated countless times since it was passed in 1998. And this ruling may have some grave implications for the appointments made in violation of this provision moving forward. The dissenting opinion of the Court stated this provision, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), has been violated over 100 times with the senate never objecting before.

Marriage and family therapists in Texas can breathe a sigh of relief now that the state's supreme court has ruled in their favor. The Texas Therapist's Board was sued by the Texas Medical Association in 2008 in order to prevent therapists from diagnosing patients. After nearly a decade, the case may now finally be over.

Last week's ruling overturned the lower trial and appeal courts' decisions, which found that allowing therapists to diagnose patients allowed therapists to engage in the unauthorized practice of medicine. The Texas Supreme Court found that the medical association was being overly semantic by not allowing therapists to diagnose patients. In practical terms, the types of issues diagnosed by therapists generally fall within their area of expertise, and the issues are in a different category of conditions not exclusively diagnosable by medical doctors.

Last week, a class action settlement between Uber and the company's riders was approved by the federal district court in San Francisco. The ride share company was facing class action claims for deceiving riders about tipping drivers. The settlement refunds to riders all tip monies purportedly wrongly taken by the company.

The controversy over red-light cameras usually revolves around public safety and the rights of drivers. However, the City of Chicago's camera vendor stirred up an unexpected scandal involving bribery and corruption. After a few years of investigating and prosecuting, that vendor, Redflex, has agreed to a $20 million settlement with the Windy City. Until the corruption was discovered, Redflex was the city's exclusive red-light camera provider, and made hundreds of millions of dollars from Chicago alone.

The settlement will be paid out over several years, but $10 million is expected to be paid this fiscal year. Additionally, the city manager, John Bills, was convicted last year for his role in receiving cash kickbacks for each camera installed as well as other costly, luxury benefits. Also, the CEO of Redflex, Karen Finley, and a company consultant, Martin O'Malley, have been convicted for their involvement in the bribery scandal. All three are serving federal prison terms.