Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Savvy small business owners aren't just looking at their bottom line -- they're paying attention to politics as well. And while the Supreme Court is ideally apolitical, the choices a president makes in appointing justices to the court is anything but.
Enter Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's pick to replace Antonin Scalia on the Court. Gorsuch's 10-year tenure on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has given small business owners quite a few indications on how he might rule should he be confirmed, and the majority of his rulings were pro-business.
One of the reasons Gorsuch was a popular pick with conservatives is his strict textualist approach when it comes to interpreting legislation and the Constitution. But, as the Associated Press points out, this tendency "can lead to findings that appear to defy common sense and fairness."
Just last year, Gorsuch wrote a dissent in a case regarding a truck driver who was fired for leaving his cargo after the brakes on his trailer froze. Instead of waiting to freeze to death himself due to a cabin heating malfunction, Alphonse Maddin, unhitched the trailer and drove off. Despite the majority siding with Maddin and ruling that federal law protected drivers from firing if they refuse to operate an unsafe vehicle, Gorsuch said the rule didn't apply in this case because Maddin drove away, and therefore wasn't refusing to drive.
Gorsuch also stuck to the text when looking at whether an employer's lack of notice when slashing early-retirement benefits was "egregious" and therefore violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). "What qualifies as 'egregious'?" he asked, rhetorically. "Happily, the statute defines the term for us," he answered, finding the company made a plausible argument that the oversight was accidental. The AP reports Gorsuch sided with employers in 21 out of the 23 ERISA cases he heard.
Connecting the Dots
Gorsuch has also toed a fine line when it comes to sexual, racial, and disability discrimination claims, in many cases finding an employer or manager's behavior morally reprehensible, if not legally so:
There are sure to be more workers' rights cases in Gorsuch's future if he makes it onto the Supreme Court. And while not a perfect predictor of how he might rule in those cases, his past performance can give small business owners a few clues.