The SCOTUS contenders on employment law: Raymond Kethledge

Here is a judge an employer can love.

In our continuing series on the employment law rulings of President Trump's "short-list" candidates for Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, we turn to Judge Raymond Kethledge who, like Judge Amul Thapar, is currently on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Judge Raymond Kethledge

Judge Kethledge in 2017 was on the list for consideration for the nomination that ultimately went to Justice Neil Gorsuch. According to The Daily Caller (which may be likeliest to have the inside dope from sources in the Trump Administration), Judge Kethledge vigorously advocated for the nomination of Justice Gorsuch at that time. He is reportedly the favorite now -- rather than Judge Brent Kavanaugh of the District of Columbia Circuit or Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit, who have been getting most of the media attention, or Judge Thapar.

There was a nice article yesterday in The Detroit News about Judge Kethledge, 51, who writes his own opinions and is reportedly an introvert, in addition to being a Michigander. A more "professional" bio is available on Wikipedia

Here is what I wrote on this blog about Judge Kethledge in 2017, when he was in the running for Justice Gorsuch's seat:

Judge Kethledge is also a [George W. Bush] appointee in his 50s (born 1966). . . . From an employment law standpoint, Judge Kethledge is perhaps best known for socking it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in its background-check lawsuit against Kaplan. (Here's a copy of the actual decision.)


I've since checked back on a couple of noteworthy Sixth Circuit employment law decisions that I had covered on this blog to see whether and in what way Judge Kethledge was involved. He was not on the three-judge panel that recently ruled in the EEOC v. R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes case, finding that gender identity discrimination was a form of sex discrimination under Title VII (and also finding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was not a defense for the employer). 

However, he joined the majority in the court's en banc decision in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, finding that telecommuting was not a "reasonable" accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act under the circumstances of that particular case. (Even though I am pro-telecommuting, I did not believe that Ford should have been required to allow the employee to telecommute.)

Yeah, I believe I can live with this guy.  :-)

Judge Kethledge is also the author of a noteworthy labor law decision. In Bailey v. Callaghan, he upheld a Michigan statute that prohibited unions from taking union dues from public school employees via payroll deductions, rejecting the unions' First Amendment arguments.

Image Credit: From Wikimedia Commons, by Matt Wood. 

Robin Shea has more than 20 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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