WXXI AM News

supreme court

Brittan Hardgers

Friday was National Coming Out Day. While it's being celebrated, the Supreme Court is considering the employment rights of LGBTQ workers.

Members of Rochester’s gay and trans community shared their experiences of coming out, and what this political moment means for them.

Tamara Leigh is with Rochester's Out Alliance, an organization that provides resources and programs for the local LGBTQ community. She came out later in life, when she felt safe to do so, she says.

We welcome a panel of attorneys to discuss the primary, and sometimes hidden, legal questions at play in the Kavanaugh hearings. We find that when attorneys from all ideological backgrounds discuss the hearings, they tend to focus on things that the lay public does not.

We explore those issues with our guests:

  • Sharon Stiller, partner and director of the employment law practice at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone, LLP
  • Chris Thomas, partner with Nixon Peabody
  • Melanie S. Wolk, Esq. partner at Trevett Cristo
  • Sharon Kelly Sayers, Esq., local attorney

Two surprise hits at the box office this summer are documentaries, and the stars behind them are being lauded for their quiet voices and powerful messages. Screenings of “RBG,” a documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” a film about children’s television icon Fred Rogers, have been selling out around the country.  Theater owners and critics say Ginsburg and Rogers’ voices appeal to people across the political spectrum and have the power to heal divides in a polarized country.

We discuss the impact Ginsberg and Rogers have had on generations of people. In studio:

  • Elissa Orlando, senior vice president of television and news for WXXI
  • Paula Larew Wooters, teacher in the Rochester City School District’s Universal Pre-K program at Asbury Day Care Center
  • Beth Cordello, chair of the employment law practice at Pullano & Farrow

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg touched off a national conversation about the behavior of judges when she harshly criticized Donald Trump. From all political sides, Ginsburg was criticized for abandoning the judicial code of conduct that requires judges not to voice political opinions. She later apologized.

We discuss whether it's realistic to expect judges to remain apolitical, and why it matters when they speak about political candidates. Our guests:

  • Mark Foti, chair of the Monroe County Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, and former public defender
  • Patricia Marks, retired Monroe County Court Judge
  • Jim Bowers, chair of the Department of Legal Studies at St. John Fisher College

In the last several days, you might have heard a local defense attorney or two talking reverently about the career of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

This hour, we explore how Scalia's approach to the law is impacting our lives on a regular basis, while also examining the legacy of a man devoted to "original intent." Our guests:

  • Joe Waldorf, criminal defense attorney who has practiced at the trial and appellate levels
  • Jim Bowers, chair of the Department of Legal Studies, St. John Fisher College

The Supreme Court ruled Friday morning that same-sex marriages are legal in all 50 states. We gathered reaction from those on both sides of the ruling for this hour of 'Connections'.

Both Sides of Supreme Court Prayer Case at the Table

May 8, 2014

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision in the Town of Greece v. Galloway case. In a 5-4 vote, the high court decided that the Town of Greece can continue to hold prayers before the start of town meetings. We talk about the impact this decision will have with stakeholders involved in the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning, in a 5-4 decision, that prayers held before the Town of Greece Board meeting can continue and do not violate the Establishment Clause, reversing the opinion of the federal appeals court. The Supreme Court heard arguments last November, after a federal appeals court ruled that Greece violated the Constitution because nearly every prayer in an 11 year span was overtly Christian.

Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas concurring. Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan filed dissenting opinions joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

Greece residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens objected to the prayers that traditionally opened Greece town board meetings five years ago.