WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage nationwide Friday, marking a major milestone for both the court and the country. Exactly two years after the historic DOMA decision --which ruled that a federal ban on same-sex matrimony was unconstitutional -- the Obergefell v. Hodges opinion legalized the act nationwide.
Friday's controversial decision is just one of many that the court has made since the beginning of its current term in October 2014. Listed below are five other significant rulings made by Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chief Justice John G. Roberts.
1. The Affordable Care Act deemed constitutional
Just a day before the monumental same-sex marriage decision, the Supreme Court decided federal health subsidies under Obamacare are constitutional, delivering a victory to the White House. "The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," President Barack Obama said in the wake of the ruling. The court ruled in a 6-3 decision. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan voted in the majority.
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the court's opinion. "If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."
2. The Fair Housing Act
The court decided on June 25 that illegal discrimination in housing need not be intentional for plaintiffs to sue. In fact, the ruling allows plaintiffs filing under the Fair Housing Act needs only to demonstrate a disparate impact on minorities, typically presented as data and not a deliberate intent to discriminate.
"Suits targeting unlawful zoning laws and other housing restrictions that unfairly exclude minorities from certain neighborhoods without sufficient justification are at the heartland of disparate-impact liability," said the ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
3. Children's statements to teachers admissible in court
When a 3-year-old boy told his teacher that his mother's boyfriend had physically abused him, Darius Clark was convicted. However, since the child is too young to testify in court, justices ruled on June 18 that if a child tells a teacher about a crime and the child is not old enough to testify in court, the statements made to the teacher may be presented in court instead.
"The question in this case is whether the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause prohibited prosecutors from introducing those statements when the child was not available to be cross examined," wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the ruling. "Because neither the child nor his teachers had the primary purpose of assisting in Clark's prosecution, the child's statements do not implicate the confrontation clause and therefore were admissible at trial."
4. Abercrombie & Fitch violated civil rights of job applicant
Because Samantha Elauf wore a hijab for religious reasons, she was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch. When the case was taken to the highest court, it ruled the clothing company had violated Elauf's rights. Abercrombie & Fitch argued that its policy was not discriminatory because it banned all types of headgear, including caps and hijabs, and it was up to Elauf to request an accommodation based on religion. However, the court ruled in favor of the young woman 8-1.
The decision allows Elauf and others to raise discrimination claims without having to prove employers reject them on basis of religious beliefs. The ruling heightened the duty of an employer to accommodate the religious practices of workers.
5. Muslim inmate may grow short beard in Arkansas
On Jan. 20, the Supreme Court ruled that Arkansas prison officials presented no compelling reason to bar a Muslim inmate from wearing a short beard. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for a unanimous court, said a half-inch beard is a no better hiding place for contraband than clothes, head hair or shoes.
Gregory Houston Holt, who also uses the name Abdul Maalik Muhammad, is serving a life sentence in an Arkansas prison and was not allowed to grow his beard on religious grounds, although it is allowed for those with skin issues. Holt's lawyers argued the prison was violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Justice Alito acknowledged the prison does not have to grant all religious requests, but said it must justify turning down inmates. The court decided in favor of Holt, who was willing to maintain a short beard while incarcerated.