A Mental Exercise and Respite from Trump: You Be the Judge

Just to get reader’s minds off the “campaign” of Donald Trump and to exercise one’s brain, you- the reader- get to play the judge in these seven interesting cases that may or may not end up before the Supreme Court at some point.

Case 1

Facts:  A local law prohibits retailers from inquiring about a person’s home address when conducting credit card transactions.  Two retailers ask for a patron’s zip codes during such transactions.  Nothing happens- no spam, no solicitations, nothing.

Question: Can the patron’s sue the retailers for violating the local law?

Case 2

Facts: A female student accuses a male student of sexual assault and reports it to college authorities.  The college accepts the female student’s uncorroborated narrative and declines to seek out evidence that could prove the male student’s innocence.

Question:  We can all probably agree that it is wrong and a violation of Due Process, but is it sex discrimination?

Case 3

Facts: Police are called to a school for a disruptive student- age 13.  The source of the disruption is the student’s repeated burping which causes great laughter among the students.  The officers arrest and handcuff the burper.

Question:  Can the police officer or school officials be sued for violation of the student’s rights, false arrest, or excessive use of force?

Case 4

Facts: The EEOC issues a guidance paper limiting the use of criminal background checks for employment purposes.  A state sues the EEOC since they rely on such checks for public employment.  The EEOC claims they cannot be sued since it is a “guidance,” not a “rule.”

Question:  Since it is not a rule, can the state sue the EEOC?

Case 5

Facts:  A young man is known to hang around with drug dealers.  He owns multiple cell phones.  There are text messages on those phones that appear to be drug related.  He even has a previous conviction for dealing drugs (from 12 years ago).

Question: Is that enough probable cause to get a search warrant for his house?

Case 6

Facts: Police arrive at a home with an arrest warrant for John Doe.  John Doe’s mother answers the door and says she will get him.  A few minutes pass and police believe she is actually convincing her son to flee.  Mom is arrested for obstruction as John Doe comes out and surrenders.

Question: Did the police act properly in arresting the mother and can she sue them (note: remember- they had a valid arrest warrant)?

Case 7

Facts: A state passes a law stating you cannot hold elected office and a civil servant position at the same time in the same governmental unit.  For example, you cannot work for the Public Works Department and be a City Councilman.  Local officials sue the state over the law claiming they will have to resign their elected positions since the other jobs pay better than the elected one.

Question: Does the new law violate the Constitutional rights of the elected officials?