Articles by Megan Gerges

US Law

President Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee

February 28, 2022 Megan Gerges 0

In late January of 2022, it was announced that Justice Stephen Breyer would be retiring after almost 30 years on the Supreme Court of the United States. A liberal Bill Clinton appointee, Justice Breyer has been a part of many influential Court decisions including United States v. Virginia (1996), Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016), and Mahanoy Area School District v. B. L. (2021).  Following this announcement, President Biden reaffirmed his campaign promise to nominate the first Black female justice to the Supreme Court. This generated criticism from some Republicans who argue that President Biden’s vow is offensive because it focuses on the identity of the nominee rather than on who is the best qualified candidate. Democrats argue that it is important to take into consideration demographics so that the Supreme Court is a representative institution, and that […]

Case Law

The Supreme Court’s Two Most Recent Abortion Decisions

January 19, 2022 Megan Gerges 0

Abortion has become one of the most contentious issues in contemporary American politics and court jurisprudence. The most well-known Supreme Court case–and the first–on the topic is Roe v. Wade (1973). The Court, in a 7-2 decision, held that a woman has a “fundamental right” to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment, which extends to abortions. Roe also famously created the trimester framework. Under this framework, states are not allowed to ban or regulate abortions during the first trimester of a pregnancy. During the second trimester, states could regulate only to the extent that it is “reasonably” related to the protection of a woman’s health. During the last trimester, fetal viability, the fetus’s ability to survive outside of the womb, provides states a “compelling” interest to regulate or even prohibit abortions (with some exceptions for the life and health of the mother).  Although Roe is the most famous abortion case, it […]

Case Law

The Constitutionality of Vaccine Mandates

November 17, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

It has been almost 22 months since the first U.S COVID-19 case, and the country has lost over 750,000 lives in that time span. This pandemic has not only generated massive change in how people structure their lives, but it has also raised important questions and debates about the role of government in public health and the constitutionality of certain public health measures.  This past September, Joe Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a regulatory agency with the Labor Department, to require private businesses with 100 or more employees to implement either COVID-19 vaccine mandates or require weekly testing. In early November, the order was officially given. There are many angles and complexities to this policy but it raises the general constitutional question of whether the federal government has the power to implement national vaccine mandates.  The United States has a long history of mandatory vaccines going back […]

Case Law

State of Minnesota v. Francios Momolu Khalil

April 27, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

Facts: On March 24, 2021 the Supreme Court of Minnesota ruled in State of Minnesota, Respondent v. Francois Momolu Khalil, Appellant. Francois Momolu Khalil was convicted of one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for raping an intoxicated woman while she was unconscious in 2017. J.S, the victim, had been drinking alcohol and had taken a prescription narcotic when she and a friend were approached by Khalil and two other men who invited them to a party. They went, only to find that there was no party. While there, J.S passed out on the couch and awoke to find Khalil sexually assaulting her. Despite her protests for him to stop, he continued.   Both the State and Khalil agree that a fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct (non consensual sexual conduct) would have been appropriate based on the facts of this case. However, for first time offenders, this would result only in a […]

Case Law

Pereida v. Wilkinson

April 21, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

Facts:  In the midst of discussions regarding the surge of immigration on the southern border, the Supreme Court recently ruled against Clemente Pereida, an undocumented immigrant who arrived almost 25 years ago. Pereida, who has a wife and three children, including an American citizen and a DACA recipient, was convicted for criminal impersonation under a Nebraska state law after using a fake Social Security Number to obtain a job- a conviction that came in the midst of a removal proceeding against him for unlawful entry. Under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for a minimum of 10 years, have “good moral character,” have not been convicted of particular crimes (including crimes of moral turpitude), and have relatives that are American citizens or legal residents for whom the removal would create an “‘exceptional and extremely unusual’ hardship” become eligible to request a […]

Case Law

California v. Texas: Another Challenge to the Affordable Care Act

March 17, 2021 Megan Gerges 0

In 2012, the Supreme Court decided NFIB v. Sebelius, which involved the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), originally passed by Congress in 2010. Specifically, its “individual mandate” (Section 5000A) has been highly controversial because it forced many Americans to either buy a minimum amount of health insurance or pay a “shared responsibility penalty.” In NFIB, the Court invalidated the individual mandate under Congress’s commerce powers but upheld it as part of Congress’s taxing powers. In 2017, a Republican-controlled Congress set the individual mandate to zero dollars but left the rest of the ACA intact. Texas and other states sued, generating another constitutional challenge to the individual mandate. They additionally argued that if it is unconstitutional, then the entire ACA is invalid because it is impossible to sever the individual mandate from the rest of the law. California and other states have defended the ACA in response.  Oral arguments […]