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The Background of Fields v. Smith

Explain the case related to Fields v. Smith.

The ACLU and Lambda legal had filed a federal lawsuit in Wisconsin on the behalf of the three transgender women who were incarcerated there. The case raised challenge over the law of Wisconsin under which there is a bar on the access of sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy for inmates in a prison and other in the custody of the state.  Initially the doctors of the prison were allowed to determine the treatment that was proper for the inmates however this power has been stripped. However as the case moved forward court order was received from the court and the clients continued to receive treatment as the case moved forward ("Fields v. Smith | Lambda Legal", 2016).

Insufficient details, with respect to the case was the fact that there was no details regarding the reason behind the why such a law has been placed in the first place and what was the segment of society that it aimed to protect at the time of inception. Thus assumption is that this law violates the federal Constitution’s guarantee for the equal protection if the citizens as well as the guarantee that is there against unusual and cruel punishment by barring the inmates who are transgender from accessing the medical care. Further it needs to be taken into account that the only state in the country that has a law for barring providing of medically necessary care to transgender inmates.

The main issues in the case, thus is that whether the law in Wisconsin by which there is prohibition on the doctors of the prison from using sex reassignment surgery or hormonal therapy for treading inmates who have gender identity disorder (GID) causes the inmates suffering unusual and cruel punishment under the Eight Amendment or equal protection of laws was deprived from them under the Amendment 14 (Fields v Smith, 2011).

The parties that are involved, in this group are the doctor’s whose powers had been restricted by this law and the transgenders whose health care has been restricted and they have been deprived of the same. Other then this Wisconsin prisons inmates sued for having the law to be declared as being unconstitutional facially.

There was an appeal from the State of Wisconsin to the Seventh Circuit. It was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit that this punishment would be cruel and unusual, thus violating the Eight Amendment by withholding of sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy from prisoners who are suffering from an acute GID ("FindLaw's United States Seventh Circuit case and opinions.", 2016).

The Legal Issues Raised by Fields v. Smith

If the decision would have been allowing the law it would adversely affect the health of care of the inmates that were inmates in prison. It is necessary to know that in situations where a person is suffering from GID, it can lead to depression, self-mutilation and even death by self harm. Thus in situation where the decision would have been anything separate from it the consequence would have been grave.

The law of Wisconsin reversal would ensure that the inmates who are transgender are receiving medical care that is necessary and it is also aiding the dispelling of myths that surround the health needs of a person suffering from GID. In this case and in various other cases with similar it needs to be noted that attempt is being to ensure that the transgenders have the option of accession health care that is appropriate for them and there is no kind of discrimination in doing.

In this case there was foundation had been laid down for a restriction that is powerful on the legialture’s ability to enact the medical treatment prohibitions, the also that it is ensured that that the application of restriction is not just limited to the prisoners who are affected by this legislation but should be analogues to the Fourth amendment.

In the case of Zubik v. Burwel in the Supreme Court of United States on whether other than the churches other religious institutions should be exempted from the mandate of contraceptive, a regulatioin which the US Department of Health and Human Services adopted under the Affordable Care Act which requires that the employers who are non-church are to be covered for their females a certain contraceptive.

This case is centered on the exemption under the legal requirements that has been provided under the Affordable Care Act’s under which the employers are required to cover the cost of contraception without the copays being charged. There are some employers who can opt out of this however to be able to do so they are required to fill out a form of two pages explaining why they are doing so.

It has been argued by the plaintiffs of this case they forms should not have to be filled by them since doing so would make them complicit towards providing contraception to women which is not in line with their religious belief.

The main issue that is there in this case is that whether the religious objectors are allowed to disobey even in the situation when this disobedience would be placing a burden on other people?

The Parties Involved in Fields v. Smith

There is lack of detailed background of this case as the case is a very recent case thus there has to be an assumption made regarding who this case was effecting other than the actual plaintiffs and defendants of the case (Duncan, 2016).

This case has no single plaintiff instead there are seven related cases which has been considered together. This measure is a fairly common one in various cases.

In the group the lead plaintiff is of the Roman Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh, Pa Bishop David A. Zubik. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazzete ("Bishop Zubik lead plaintiff in Obamacare challenge in Supreme Court", 2016) he leads a joint appeal from the dioceses which is based in the City of Brother Love and Erie, Pa. Other than him the better known plaintiff of this case are the Little Sisters of the Poor nuns, who are running a nursing home for 13,000 approximately elderly poor. There are three private Christian higher education who are included in the list of plaintiffs Sothern Nazarene University, Geneva College and East Texas Baptist University.

The secretary of United States Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell is the case’s defendant, in other words it can be stated the government of U.S. is the one who is being sued.

Other than the above mentioned parties, the women are the ones that are largely affected by this case and are the invisible parties to the decision of this case.

Since it is a third party secular insurer who takes over once the paperwork has been signed by the religious employers, an argument is being put forth by the defense states that the point of concern no longer remain religious freedom and there is actually an infringement of the rights of the women by these religious companies and not protection of their freedom of religion.

There is concern that has been raised by the women’s rights activist with respect to the accessibility of preventive birth control for women in the case there was a ruling in the favour of the plaintiffs. If there is one another administrative hoop for jumping for the women through may make access of birth control extremely difficult.

This case could establish a precedent for those concerning when religiously connected business or religious institutions could avoid or evade all types of law that are binding on everybody else ("Zubik v. Burwell Briefs Explore Potential Compromise (Update)", 2016).

The Impact of Fields v. Smith

A per curiam ruling was issued by the court on 16th of May 2016 in which the decision of the Circuit courts of Appeals decisions were vacated and the case was remanded to those courts for being reconsidered in the light of the position which the parties had asserted in their supplemental briefs. Since it had been agreed by the Petitioners that there was no infringement of their religious needs where there was requirement for doing nothing more than contracting for a plan in which coverage for all or some kind of contraceptive has not been included it was held by the court that the parties need to be given an opportunity for clarification and refining how in practice this approach would work and for resolving any issue that remains outstanding.  In departing from the treatment that is usual for the ruling of per curiam, Roberts CJ read aloud the ruling. The view that there was no view regarding the case’s merit was expressed by the Supreme Court. In an opinion that is concurring it was noted by Justice Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg noted in earlier cases that these instructions have been ignored earlier by some of the lower courts and a caution was given to the lower courts for not reading any of the Supreme Court’s action with respect to the case. The English Circuit’s opinion in the case of Sharpe Holdings was cited as an example which was the only Court of Appeals decision which had upheld the position that had been taken by the plaintiffs in the case of Zubik.

The health of the millions of women will be affected including that of women that are college aged. The students who have been enrolled for the health care plans through the universities shall be rendered incapable of getting any kind of birth control if the school that they are attending elects for opting out of the reasons that are religious in nature. It will be upon the graduates for considering how birth control coverage would be received by them in the case employer has opposed to offer the same for the reasons that are accepted. This would affect ultimately women who would have to go through procedures that are more complicated in procedure for securing of birth control. 

References

Bishop Zubik lead plaintiff in Obamacare challenge in Supreme Court. (2016). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 17 June 2016, from https://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2016/03/21/Bishop-Zubik-lead-plaintiff-in-religious-challenge-to-ACA-before-Supreme-Court/stories/201603210021

Duncan, K. (2016). Supplemental Briefs in Zubik v. Burwell. Fed-soc.org. Retrieved 17 June 2016, from https://www.fed-soc.org/blog/detail/supplemental-briefs-in-zubik-v-burwell

Fields v Smith, 653 F.3d 550 (7th Circuit 2011).

Fields v. Smith | Lambda Legal. (2016). Lambda Legal. Retrieved 17 June 2016, from https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/fields-v-smith

FindLaw's United States Seventh Circuit case and opinions.. (2016). Findlaw. Retrieved 17 June 2016, from https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1576923.html

Zubik v. Burwell Briefs Explore Potential Compromise (Update). (2016). Health Affairs. Retrieved 17 June 2016, from https://healthaffairs.org/blog/2016/04/13/zubik-v-burwell-briefs-explore-potential-compromise/ 

Cite This Work

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My Assignment Help. (2017). Fields V. Smith: A Case On Transgender Inmates' Medical Care. Retrieved from https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/fields-v-smith.

"Fields V. Smith: A Case On Transgender Inmates' Medical Care." My Assignment Help, 2017, https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/fields-v-smith.

My Assignment Help (2017) Fields V. Smith: A Case On Transgender Inmates' Medical Care [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/fields-v-smith
[Accessed 18 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Fields V. Smith: A Case On Transgender Inmates' Medical Care' (My Assignment Help, 2017) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/fields-v-smith> accessed 18 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Fields V. Smith: A Case On Transgender Inmates' Medical Care [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2017 [cited 18 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/fields-v-smith.

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