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Each yeaar, the U.S. Supreme Court issues around 100 legal decisions, most of which are controversial. Despite their controversial nature, these decisions are rarely overturned due to the doctrine of stare decisis. Select one (1) U.S. Supreme Court decision issued in the past 10 years relating to the regulation of business and provide a rationale for why the decision should be returned notwithstanding the doctrine of stare decisis.

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Stare Decisis is the legal principal of determining points in litigation according to precedent. The Supreme Court case that dealt with workability is Altria Group, Inc. v. Good (2008). Stephanie Good and other smokers (“Good”) brought a class action suit against Altria Group (“Altria”) and its subsidiary, Philip Morris, for fraudulent misrepresentation under Maine state law. Good and the other plaintiffs claim that the use of descriptors such as “light” and “lower in tar and nicotine” in cigarette advertisements are misrepresentations because Federal Trade Commission mandated testing does not reflect the actual tar and nicotine delivery of “light” cigarettes. Altria argues that state law claims of fraudulent misrepresentation against cigarette companies are preempted by federal law.

Precedent was set with Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., a fractured decision from 1992 in which a four-Justice plurality held that the federal Labeling Act preempted certain state-law claims for fraudulent misrepresentation aimed at cigarette manufacturers.

It is the opinion of this writer to agree with Altria on this argument despite the case before because this particular type of misrepresentation is preempted by federal law regulations. Another reason would be because the decision in the precedential case did not defy clear application. For purposes of stare decisis, saying that a precedent is “unworkable” is functionally equivalent to saying it is “badly reasoned.” These statements indicate only that a stare decisis inquiry is necessary, not how the inquiry should play out.



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Week 4 Discussion What Do We Know?

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Growing up, my mom usually packed my lunch for school. I was totally happy eating the same thing day after day- typically a sandwich of some kind on whole wheat bread. Most kids in my grade school packed their lunches, but in high school things changed a little. I would pack my lunch, but then I’d also see what was being served in the lunch line. I’d usually buy some french fries and/or a soda (which I still love but now it is diet soda), to “round out” my healthy meal. There were lots of high calorie, high fat foods to choose from.

I had friends (in grade school and high school) who bought their lunches daily. Sometimes there would be salad on their plates, but more often it was things like pizza and tator tots. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to read about a new study which found that kids who regularly purchased school lunches were more likely to be obese than those who brought their lunches.

In this study of sixth graders, published in the American Heart Journal, it found that students were 29% more likely to be obese if they ate school lunches. “Of the 142 obese children in the study for whom dietary information was known, almost half were school-lunch regulars, compared with only one-third of the 787 who were not obese.” More than two hours per day in front of the T.V. also increases the risk of childhood obesity but surprisingly, not by as much- only 19%.

Although many schools have relied on high energy food with little nutritional value in the past because it’s cheaper, that could soon be changing. “Under a federal law passed last December, Department of Agriculture guidelines will limit the number of calories served at every school meal and require programs to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.”

Are you surprised by these findings? What kind of experience have you had with school lunches? When you reply to others make sure to compare your experiences to their own and extend the discussion by explaining what impact these changes might bring.