The Supreme Court of the United States. Seldom, if ever, in the Court’s 232-year history have those seven words elicited such intense feelings from so many people. Yet, my experience with an admittedly small sample – surely a scintilla – of the American adult population indicates that few have a working knowledge of the Court’s history, purpose, structure, or processes. If you fall into that category and want an interesting and entertaining way to learn about the Court, join me at the #SHRM22 mega session, “The Supreme Court Speaks . . . Are You Listening?”
I recently reached out to the presenter, Joe Beachboard, primarily to discuss whose turn it is to buy dinner in #NOLA, and to get his thoughts on the Court.
JB: Congratulations on being a #SHRM22Influencer!
FC: Thank you, Joe!
FC: Let’s start with an interesting historical fact or two about the Supreme Court, or SCOTUS as it’s affectionately called.
That’s a lot of pressure for a first question. There’s been talk about adding justices to the Court, sometimes called “court-packing.” Because the Constitution doesn’t set a specific number, Congress can increase or decrease the number of justices through legislative action.
FC: Have there always been nine SCOTUS justices?
JB: No. When the Court was first established in 1789, Congress decided to set the number of Justices at six. Over the next 80 years, the number fluctuated between five and 10 justices, with Congress settling on nine members of the Court in 1869.
FC: The title of your mega session at #SHRM22, “The Supreme Court Speaks . . . Are You Listening?” has never been more relevant. From an HR perspective, what should we be listening to hear?
JB: The Supreme Court usually rules on at least a few employment-related cases each term. In its term ending this month, SCOTUS heard issues ranging from arbitration and vaccine mandates to employment discrimination based on military service and affirmative action, which are all likely to significantly impact the work of HR professionals.
FC: What effect, if any, do you expect the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer to have on the balance of the Court?
JB: The real question is, what effect will Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson have on the Court’s balance? It’s difficult to say what impact any new justice will have before hearing their first case. However, I think it’s safe to say that, like her predecessor, Justice Brown Jackson will likely align with the so-called liberal members of the Court – Justices Sotomayor and Kagan – on key issues brought before the Court.
FC: Last question; what new SCOTUS-themed giveaways can we expect?
JB: You’ll need to wait and see, but you’re not getting my tie this time!
Thanks to @JoeBeachboard for taking the time to talk! Learning how the Supreme Court impacts HR is another way we can all #CauseTheEffect in our workplaces.