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The Legal Holiday

By Declan Cleary on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

The State of Illinois lists 12 official holidays on the Department of Central Management Services website (11 on years without a general election).[1] The full list of Illinois State Holidays also includes the Friday preceding Easter (Good Friday) and Casimir Pulaski’s Birthday.[2]  As of December of last year, a House bill, since relegated to the Rules Committee, sought to expand that list to include Former President Barack Obama’s birthday.[3] The selection of what holidays qualify as a “state holiday” (and subsequent implementation), offers more legal discourse than one might initially expect.

For example, though Good Friday is included in the statute identifying state holidays, it’s observance has since been restricted by a 7th Circuit Ruling on Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause bases.[4] This decision has since been reflected in practice for Illinois government offices, not only for Good Friday, but also for Pulaski’s Birthday.[5] It is possible that, if adopted, administrative treatment of the former President’s birthday would similarly be largely nominal in nature. This, however, poses the question: Why designate a state holiday if the government offices stay open?

Ultimately, there are several Illinois statutes relating to the treatment of designated state holidays. These include treatment of the holidays by school systems,[6] in terms of banking,[7] and even calculating the duration of periods of times specified in State legislature.[8] The application of holidays in these laws in not uniform. Bank holidays designated by the State of Illinois create merely create an option for banks to remain open,[9] while certain school holidays create time off for students, yet create the option for parent-teacher conferences on holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Labor Day.[10]

In the future, while the institution of new public holidays is relatively easy,[11] the implementation of them will likely not receive the full effect of the law afforded to holidays with a history of cultural observance.[12]


[1] State Holidays, Illinois Department of Central Management Services, https://www.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/Personnel/Pages/StateHolidays.aspx (last visited September 5, 2017).

[2] Illinois Holidays: What you need to know, Business and Legal Resources (January 26, 2017), http://www.blr.com/HR-Employment/Benefits-Leave/Holidays-in-Illinois#.

[3] Bill Status of HB0231, Illinois 100th General Assembly, Legal Information Institute, http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=231&GAID=14&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=99194&SessionID=91&GA=100&SpecSess=0 (last visited September 5, 2017).

[4] Metzl v. Leininger, 57 F.3d 618; Joanne Yasus, What’s in a Name – Nothing Good if It’s Friday: The Seventh Circuit Invalidates Good Friday Public School Holiday, 29 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1031 (1996) (outlining reasoning and effects for the Circuit’s decision to issue a permanent injunction against the Good Friday school closing statute).

[5] Id.

[6] 105 ILCS 5/24-2 (2013).

[7] 205 ILCS 630/17 (1997).

[8] 10 ILCS 5/1-6 (1998). This statute, though relating to holidays, differentiates itself from the others in that it deals with a question of administrative necessity arising out of the observance of holidays (and weekends). Id. This general principle of “pushing off” deadlines that fall on a weekend or holiday is mirrored in the administrative treatment of holidays which fall on a weekend. 80 IL Admin. Code 303.200 (available at ftp://www.ilga.gov/jcar/admincode/080/080003030B02000R.html).

[9] 205 ILCS 630/17 (1997).

[10] 105 ILCS 5/24-2 (2013).

[11] 205 ILCS 630/17 (1997) (providing that the Governor may unilaterally proclaim a legal holiday).

[12] New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas have such a strong cultural significance as to mandate a more concerted government response.

What does Justice Gorsuch mean for Corporate Personhood?

By Declan Cleary on Monday, May 22nd, 2017

It is plainly apparent that the late Justice Antonin Scalia had a judicial record which sought to expand the rights of corporations as individuals.[1] Yet, with Neil Gorsuch’s recent approval to the bench, the question stands as to whether the somewhat controversial notion of corporations as people will broaden, decline, or maintain the status quo. Despite detractors pointing to years of involvement as a corporate lawyer, Gorsuch’s supporters insist he will remain impartial and be driven in his decisions by a personal sense of right.[2]

Justice Gorsuch’s most notable jurisprudence on the topic of corporations comes from his time as a judge for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where he penned a concurrence in the Hobby Lobby case.[3] The case concerned whether employers would be liable for their employee’s healthcare costs when those healthcare costs would include contraception – a practice to which the employers lodged a religious objection.[4] Of particular note from Gorsuch’s concurring opinion is his focus on the employer’s rights stemming from a genuinely held religious belief which the Affordable Care Act placed a “substantial burden” upon, in what Gorsuch saw as a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.[5] The Supreme Court would go on to affirm the majority ruling in the Hobby Lobby case one year later.[6]

What we may hope to draw from the reasoning used by Gorsuch in Hobby Lobby is that he is not beholden to corporate interests, but rather he believed it appropriate to expand them when necessary to protect religious freedom of employers within a corporation. This line of thinking is supported by a majority opinion written by Gorsuch in the following year as a 10th Circuit Judge whereby he ruled that a Native American prisoner was entitled to the use of a sweat lodge as a demonstrated part of his religious practice.[7]

Overall, Scalia’s replacement seems to mean that the status quo will hold. Though Gorsuch’s approval continues a conservative majority, his rhetoric does not suggest that he will lead the charge in expanding corporate rights. It may ultimately be too soon to pass judgment on the new justice; Gorsuch has only just recently cast his first consequential vote for the Supreme Court, and his first majority opinion is presumably forthcoming.[8] With what will almost surely be a lengthy history on the bench, we eagerly anticipate the first look as to how Justice Gorsuch will rule on matters before the Court.

For more information on Corporate Personhood, check out James Wright’s article in the 3rd issue of our 49th volume at http://repository.jmls.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2594&context=lawreview.


[1] See Lyle Denniston, Analysis: The personhood of corporations, SCOTUSblog (January 21, 2010), http://​www.scotusblog.com/​2010/01/analysis-the-personhood-of-corporations/ (noting how Scalia’s concurrence in the Citizens United case sought to bolster the strength of the majority ruling and enhance the rights granted to corporations through an originalist interpretation).

[2] Jeffrey Rosen, A Supreme Court Nominee Alert to the Dangers of Big Business, The Atlantic (March 20, 2017), https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/gorsuchs-nuanced-record-on-business/520101/.

[3] Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius, 723 F.3d 1114 (10th Cir. 2013).

[4] Id. at 1122 – 25.

[5] Id. at 1156 – 57.

[6] Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014).

[7] Yellowbear v. Lampert, 741 F.3d 48 (10th Cir. 2014).

[8] Stephen Wermiel, SCOTUS for law students: Waiting for Gorsuch, SCOTUSblog (May 18, 2017), http://www.scotusblog.com/2017/05/scotus-law-students-waiting-gorsuch/.


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