Wrapping Up 2020: What Changed in the Legal World?
image

Relax, 2020 is coming to an end. But what does the end of 2020 and the start of 2021 spell for the legal world? Our firm looked at how the legal landscape changed in 2020:

The Supreme Court

Perhaps the most dominating legal headlines from 2020 came from the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Judges

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a legal titan championed by the left for her progressive views, passed away in September and was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the youngest woman to ever serve the Court.

Justice Ginsberg was nominated to the Court by President Clinton in 1993. Despite replacing Justice Ginsberg, Justice Barrett brings to the Court a judicial philosophy more in-line with that of the late Justice Scalia, a political opposite, but close friend to Justice Ginsberg. Justice Barrett is the third Supreme Court judge appointed by President Trump.

Landmark Cases

Not only did the Supreme Court make the headlines with the passing of Justice Ginsberg and the nomination of Justice Barrett, it also did so by ruling on a couple of landmark cases. For the first time in United States history, the Court added gender identity and sexual orientation as protected categories under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the case Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled, “[a]n employer who fires an individual employee for merely being gay or transgender violates the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Similarly, in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against transgender people based on (1) their status as transgender or (2) sex stereotyping as defined under Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989). Until these cases were decided in 2020, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not protect employees from discrimination pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Legal Landscape in Missouri

For the first time ever, Missourians were able to head to the dispensary to pick up legally purchased medical marijuana. The first medicinal dispensaries opened in St. Louis, Kansas City, Moberly, and Springfield. As we head into 2021, more dispensaries across the state are expected to open, but no new licenses are expected to be issued. This change to the legal landscape in Missouri came after Missourians voted in 2018 to pass an Amendment allowing for medical marijuana to be legally purchased.

Missourians are no longer legally required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. This change to Missouri law went into effect on Friday, September 4, 2020. While it may be legal to ride your motorcycle without a helmet in Missouri, wearing one is still strongly advised by the legal experts at this law firm and health experts worldwide. Remember, Mid-Missouri is centrally located between two major interstates—motorcycle crashes are common, and helmets save lives.

What Changed in Mid-Missouri?

Municipalities in and around Mid-Missouri have been adopting mask mandates to help combat the ongoing pandemic. The mask mandate passed by the Columbia City Council went into effect on Friday, July 10, 2020, and is still in effect to date. After Columbia’s mask mandate went into effect, similar mandates were eventually passed by Jefferson City and Ashland.

Columbia also placed restrictions on the capacity limits and operating hours of local restaurants and bars. Restaurants and bars are expected to be closed by 10:30 PM, observe social distancing guidelines, have patrons wear masks while not seated, and to have a reduced capacity.

Stay Informed About the Legal World by Talking to an Attorney

Obviously, a lot has changed since January 2020. To stay up-to-date with new laws and how they apply to your life, consider getting in touch with an attorney. Contact The Law Office of Chris Miller today to learn more.