Their Take: Small Businesses Achieve Legal Victories During 2020 U.S. Supreme Court Term


The U.S. Supreme Court concluded its 2020 term, and many of its decisions will have a positive impact on small businesses. NFIB submitted several amici briefs this term to advocate on behalf of small businesses on issues such as regulations, taxes, and property ownership.

“The U.S. Supreme Court is the last line of defense for small businesses and this term was a success for them and their daily operations,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Small businesses are constantly dealing with ever-changing business laws and regulations, and these decisions will make it a little easier for owners to run their business.”

Significant wins for small businesses this term include:

  • CIC Services v. Internal Revenue Service

The case questioned whether the Anti-Injunction Act’s bar on lawsuits for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of taxes should also prevent challenges to unlawful regulatory mandates issued by administrative agencies. The Supreme Court clarified that the Anti-Injunction Act’s scope is limited and permits pre-enforcement judicial review of tax rules. Small business owners can now challenge tax regulations they believe are legally suspect in court before being faced with a tax penalty.

  • Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid

This case questioned whether a California regulation interferes with the “right to exclude” – a fundamental attribute of property ownership. The Supreme Court held that small businesses have dominion over their private property and the right to exclude union organizers. If the government requires a small business to open their property to a union or other group, they must provide just compensation for that use as the Constitution requires.

  • TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez

The case concerned whether a class action lawsuit can be brought when a majority of the class has not been injured. The Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit decision and held that members of the class must have suffered a “concrete harm,” beyond technical statutory violations, to have Article III standing.

  • Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta

This case concerned whether the state of California can require nonprofit organizations that solicit funds in the state to disclose the names and addresses of all donors who give over a certain dollar amount or percentage of contributions in a given year. The Supreme Court held that California’s disclosure requirement was unconstitutional and reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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