KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
The US Supreme Court Building is seen in this March 31, 2012 photo on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Supreme Court takes up two interesting cases this week. Today, the question is whether steelworkers should get paid to get dressed. In the case, Sandifer versus United States Steel Corporation, steelworkers in Gary, Indiana are up against the country’s largest steel company.
They argue that the plethora of protective equipment they’re forced to wear, including helmets, face protectors, earmuffs, fire-retardant boots and jackets, isn’t clothing, it’s gear and they should get paid for the time it takes to put it on and take it off. Their bosses disagree. What will the robed justices decide about donning and doffing?
On Wednesday, they’ll take up whether to let city councils open their public meetings with prayers to Jesus Christ. This case involves a complaint from Susan Galloway, who is Jewish, and Linda Stephens, an Atheist, about the Christian prayers at town board meetings in Greece, New York. The two women said the “felt like outcasts,” with a Christian minister at the podium. A lower court decided in their favor.
If the Supreme Court upholds that decision, it could lead to a major change in the law separating church and state. Should Christian prayers be allowed by city councils? What impact might this case have on the court’s traditional opening invocations that call for God’s blessing?
Lisa McElroy, Professor of Law, Drexel University's Earle Mack School of Law & Supreme Court scholar