National Catholic Register


Significant Supreme Court Rulings

BY Joseph Esposito

July 12, 1998 Issue | Posted 7/12/98 at 1:00 PM


The 1997-98 term of the U.S. Supreme Court ended June 27. In addition to the Finley decision, among the most important decisions announced the last week of the term dealt with these issues:

Sexual Harassment: Employers are liable for sexual harassment by their employees even if they were unaware of such conduct. Victims of such misconduct can litigate whether or not their careers were damaged. Employers, however, can reasonably defend themselves by establishing an anti-harassment program and making a grievance procedure available (two cases: Farragher v. City of Boca Raton; Burlington Industries v. Ellerth).

AIDS Discrimination: People with HIV-infection are covered by anti-discrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is the first Supreme Court ruling on an AIDS issue (Bragdon v. Abbott).

Line-Item veto: The line-item veto, which allows the president to veto parts of appropriations bills passed by Congress, was declared unconstitutional. This authority has been enthusiastically endorsed by both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who were able to use similar power during their terms as governor (Clinton v. New York).

—Joseph Esposito