Michigan Custody Cases Raise Eyebrows

Two Michigan custody cases are creating headlines. In one case, a judge jailed a mother who refused to vaccinate her son despite a court order. In the other, a judge awarded joint custody to a father who raped the child’s mother.

Vaccines and the family court

A Detroit mother served 7 days in jail for refusing to follow a court order that required her to vaccinate her son. The mother says that she doesn’t believe in vaccines. She says that the child’s father didn’t believe in vaccines either until they began fighting in family court.

In addition to the week in jail, the mother lost primary custody of the child. The parents now share custody of the 9-year-old boy. Michigan allows parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. However, the question becomes more complicated when parents in a custody case disagree. In that event, it’s up to the court to decide the best interests of the child. The American Medical Association strongly recommends vaccination for almost all children.

The mother said that she was only protecting her children. The father says the same. The court allowed the father to keep the child while the mother was in jail and until he could arrange for vaccinations. Activists stood outside the Oakland County courthouse to show their support for the mother.

Custody and child support

Meanwhile, in Sanilac County, Michigan, a judge awarded joint custody of a child to a father convicted of criminal sexual conduct against the child’s mother. The judge later reopened the case and said that he didn’t know about the father’s criminal past. Michigan law allows the court to deny a parent access to a child in cases of rape.

The local prosecutor’s office initiated the paternity case on behalf of the mother. Because the mother receives public assistance, Michigan law requires the prosecutor to try and establish paternity and a child support order on behalf of the mother. Usually that means proving paternity and determining the best interests of the child. The father has the option to ask the court for joint custody. The court may consider it.

In the Sanilac County case, the court awarded joint custody. The father had two criminal sexual conduct convictions including one involving the child’s mother. A representative from the Michigan Supreme Court even weighed in to defend the judge. He said that the judge didn’t have complete information when he made the decision. He also said that the father agreed to pay support.

Self-Driving Cars Expected To Hit The Roads By Mid-2018

It has now been confirmed that self-driving cars will be able to move along California highways mid next year thanks to revised rules affecting the deployment of these vehicles. The new regulations are a result of a compromise with motor vehicle and technology companies.

The Previous Versus The Current Rules on Self-Driving Cars

The California rules may still contradict federal legislation that bars states from authorizing autonomous vehicles. However, they are a break-through for manufacturers of motor-vehicles who want to launch vehicles that operate without human controls in California. Over 40 companies in California are running tests on self-driving vehicles with human controls. Many of these vehicle manufacturers have research centers.

Previous rules required firms to present safety assessment reports to state regulators and to seek fresh authorization for new vehicles. They also required driverless cars to have a backup human driver.

According to the Association of Global Automakers, a trade union representing mostly European and Asian automakers, California had not gone far enough in its new rules. The trade group stated that a special permit was still a requirement for deploying, an issue that raised concerns on whether autonomous vehicles would be able to go beyond state lines.

Companies are still required to have a California permit to test or release their vehicles on state roads. Furthermore, automakers and technology firms would still be required to provide information regarding autonomous sensors that are triggered 30 seconds before a crash. Vehicles must also follow all the state laws, except when the safety of road users and a vehicle’s occupants is at stake.

Opponents of the New Rules

Consumer Watchdog was against the revisions arguing that California’s earlier regulations were much stricter. The group further noted that local communities would not be able to block testing under the new rules.

Implications of the Senate Bill

Last week, a bill was approved by Senate with the aim of fast tracking the deployment of self-driving vehicles without human controls in the U.S.. The bill also bars states against imposing regulatory road barriers for these automated vehicles.

The Bill allows automakers to be exempted from safety rules involving human controls if they adhere to certain standards. States were permitted to set rules on licensing, registration, insurance, liability, and safety inspections. However, the performance standards were regulated by federal laws. According to Mary Barra, General Motors’ Chief Executive, the federal legislation will allow automakers to deploy these vehicles on the road. Barra; however, did not say when the company would be seeking approval for exemption.

EEOC Sues Estee Lauder Over Parental Leave Policy

In August of this year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the company, Estee Lauder, regarding its parental leave policy. The lawsuit was initiated in a Pennsylvania federal court. The basis of the suit alleges that the company’s current leave policy constitutes gender discrimination by distinguishing between fathers and mothers. The policy creates primary and secondary caregiver categories that allocate different time limits on leave. EEOC is arguing that the practices behind the seemingly gender-neutral categories actually result in additional leave time for mothers.

More on EEOC’s Case

EEOC points out that Estee Lauder’s parental leave policy benefits mothers more than fathers even at the secondary caregiver level. It is said that biological mothers qualify for a separate maternity leave policy that offers additional time off and a flexible work schedule following the leave. It is also alleged that fathers were explicitly told that they did not qualify for the additional maternity leave benefits. According to EEOC, fathers are currently limited to two weeks of paid leave, while mothers receive up to six weeks and a subsequent flexible schedule.

EEOC claims that these practices are in violation of federal laws regulating gender bias at places of employment. Federal law requires that both genders be paid or compensated at an equal rate.

Estee’s Lauder’s current leave policy was created in 2013. This case stems from a 2015 complaint from a stock room employee who requested six weeks leave and was offered two. Up until now, the company has not issued an official statement on the matter.

The Future of the Case

Some legal experts expect the case to fall in Estee Lauder’s favor. Many employers use the primary/secondary distinctions in their leave policies. If there is proof that the policy is being enforced on a consistent basis it will be difficult for EEOC to prove that a bias exists. Since litigation is a lengthy matter it wlil be a while until the court renders its own decision on the case.

Read More: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/633246/Discrimination+Disability+Sexual+Harassment/What+Does+the+EEOCs+Lawsuit+Against+Estee+Lauder+Mean+for+Parental+Leave+Policies

Attorney Faces New Discipline Charges in Second State

In 2005, attorney Sean M. Liles gave up his Nevada bar license. In exchange, Liles avoid discipline proceedings from the State Bar of Nevada. Officials alleged that Liles took part in a scheme to commit insurance fraud by submitting false claims relating to construction lawsuits.

Now, Liles is facing fresh ethics charges. These charges come from the State Bar of Michigan. Officials allege that Liles misused his client trust fund account. They say that he used his client trust fund account to pay his personal home mortgage. Allegedly, Liles transferred funds from his personal account to his IOLTA client trust fund account and then used the funds to pay the mortgage on his home. In Michigan, attorneys must hold client funds in a separate IOLTA account that’s completely separate from their personal accounts. The attorney may remove the money only when it’s earned in attorney fees, spent on court costs or returned to the client.

When Liles submitted his resignation to the State Bar of Nevada, he was already in West Bloomfield, Michigan. From there, he set up a practice in Traverse City, Michigan where he focuses on family law, criminal and bankruptcy matters. The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission filed the formal complaint against Liles on July 11, 2017. Officials say they first learned of the discrepancies when the bank tipped them off to the unusual transfers.

In his reply to the State Bar of Michigan’s inquiry, Liles claimed that the mortgage payments from the IOLTA account were a mistake. He said, “I did not realize I had accidentally input the Chase IOLTA Account instead of my personal account,” and “I have since corrected the problem.” Liles also tried to excuse the error by saying that “I was/am an idiot with mobile ap[p]s.)” Liles didn’t offer a motive for his behavior.

The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission isn’t buying it. They say it’s implausible that Liles transferred funds accidentally for several months. Officials say that his conduct involves dishonesty and deceit, and that lawyers have to keep client funds completely separate from personal money. They also say that Liles misrepresented the facts when they asked him to explain his behavior.

There’s no word on what discipline the State Bar of Michigan hopes to pursue in Liles’ case. While the grievance asks for discipline that’s “warranted,” this could range from an informal reprimand to a complete disbarment. Officials may reach a consent agreement with Liles, or they may take the case to a hearing where a commission determines a penalty.

Source: http://www.agcmi.org/formal_disciplinary_proceedings/docs/Grievance%20Administrator%20v%20Sean%20Liles,%20P55377.pdf

Psychic Arrested As She Tries to Flee the Country

One psychic sees a jail cell in her future after the police arrested her on her way out of the country. Police arrested the woman at Miami International Airport. She has open grand theft charges in the State of Maryland.

A private investigator tracked psychic Gina Marie Marks to the Miami International Airport. She was only moments away from boarding a plane to Barcelona. The psychic is 44 years old. Police say that she also goes by Regina Melbourne and Natalie Miller. The private investigator works on behalf of the victim.

Law enforcement officials plan to extradite Marks to Maryland. She says that she doesn’t agree to head back to Maryland to face the charges. That means Florida officials have to win the extradition proceedings before they can try to prove the charges against her. At her bond hearing, Marks told judge Mindy Glazer that she wants to fight the return to Florida, even if that means waiting in a jail cell. State attorneys say that she’s a flight risk.

Because she’s fighting the extradition, the State of Florida can hold marks for up to 90 days. They must follow a procedure to get a governor’s warrant. That order allows them to move her back to Maryland. Judge Glazer says she’s fine with letting Marks sit in a jail cell.

State officials say that it’s not the first time that the law has caught up with the scheming psychic. They say that she has run her scams across the country, and that only she can predict where she’s going to find her next victim. In 2009, Marks landed herself a felony rap after pleading guilty to grand theft. In that case, she cheated five victims out of approximately $65,000.

That conviction wasn’t enough to deter Marks’ efforts. In 2012, she received a conviction for scheming three more victims. She took them for more than half a million dollars. She spent more than a year in prison, and the court ordered her to pay restitution.

In the most recent case, Marks has three victims. She stole more than $82,000 from them by running a scheme that related to fortune telling. She faces charges of grand theft in the State of Maryland. Officials say these are felony charges that could bring a long stint in prison if a jury convicts her of the charges against her.

A private investigator followed Marks’ trail all across the United States. At the airport, he alerted officials to her outstanding warrant. They pulled her aside and prevented her from skipping town. For now, a Florida jail cell is in Marks’ future.



Irma Victims Could Be Arrested At Shelters If They Have Outstanding Warrants

Floridians who are in Hurricane Irma’s path could face a double disaster if they have outstanding warrants. Evacuations are being ordered in many places across the state as residents brace for what could be one of history’s strongest hurricanes. Part of the evacuation plan is setting up shelters, which are monitored by local law enforcement agencies. One sheriff used Twitter to warn residents that they would be arrested if they showed up at a shelter with an outstanding warrant.

Why Arrests Will Take Place

According to a recent story from the ABA Journal about the topic, a sheriff defended the controversial tweets by saying that law enforcement officials have a duty to act on warrants. When people enter shelters, they are asked to present photo identification. A driver’s license or a state identification card will be required. Law enforcement officials can search the identification card’s number and instantly see if there are outstanding warrants.

What Will Happen To People Who Need Shelter

Law enforcement officials assured residents that they would still be sheltered if they were in harm’s way. However, they will be transported to a local jail for shelter until they can see a judge. Since failure to appear for tickets or other minor infractions can lead to a warrant, law enforcement officials encouraged Floridians to be sure that they do not have any outstanding infractions that have not been addressed. People who are avoiding criminal charges will likely face longer jail stays.

When the department that issued the controversial warning tweets was contacted, one sheriff said that their main concern was with violent or sexual offenders. He elaborated with an example saying that allowing a child predator who has a warrant for an offense to stay at a shelter where small children are also housed would be irresponsible and would put other law-abiding residents at risk. Officers who check identification cards will only see if a person has a warrant. They will not know the nature of the warrant or if it is for a felony or a misdemeanor. Legal experts in Florida said that people facing misdemeanor charges should turn themselves in before going to a shelter to be released on bond or on their own recognizance. Obeying evacuation orders is a must for everyone. Failing to obey them because of a warrant or for any reason can result in jail time.

Legal News: The Texas Bar Offers Pro Bono Assistance to Low Income Disaster Victims

The State Bar of Texas issued a notice on its website on August 31st indicating its legal hotline would assist low income people seeking pro bono legal services in the aftermath of devastating flooding which has impacted many parts of Texas. The organization also requested volunteer assistance from attorneys, law students, or paralegals interested in donating their time on behalf of this effort.

Pro Bono Assistance

The hotline will match callers with pro bono service providers in their local area. The free service offers assistance in English, Spanish or Vietnamese. Last week, Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast several times. It caused some fatalities, and produced extensive property damage. The heavy rains which accompanied the storm contributed to flooding in some locations.

In the aftermath of the disaster, officials anticipate many people will contact the legal services hotline requesting answers to a wide array of questions. Areas of concern will likely extend from the disaster relief process and documentation requirements for obtaining assistance, to inquiries concerning storm cleanup and landlord-tenant issues. Consumer protection issues relating to contractor services may also figure prominently as a topic.

Disaster Relief For Impacted Attorneys And Law Firms

The Texas State Bar also has sought to help attorneys and law firms within disaster areas obtain ready access to resources such as shelter, cleanup assistance and access to temporary office space. The widespread flooding disrupted many Texas legal practices. The website has posted a lengthy list of courthouse closures and delays in impacted communities.

The recent flooding did not create hardships in some cities in Texas. However, it caused massive disruptions in others. The storm left extensive flooding in its wake in coastal areas. Some estimates indicate the total loss of between 30,000 and 40,000 homes in Houston alone, for instance. In Beaumont, the storm left 120,000 people without water. The full scope of the crisis in some areas may only become fully apparent in coming weeks and months.

A Long Term Recovery Process

While many Texans residing in flood plain areas do carry federal flood insurance, some experts believe 80% of the state’s population lacks this coverage. Some houses sustained water damage in areas which have not witnessed flooding in the past. Attorneys seeking to follow the response of the legal profession in Texas to the natural disaster can find updated information posted by the Texas State Bar.



Legal Group Launches Website Designed to Combat Fraud Against the Elderly

A legal service organization based in Boca Raton, Florida has launched a new website, which helps reinforce the firm’s objective of preventing the elderly from becoming victims of financial fraud.

According to a press release published Thursday (August 24th) via PRWeb.com, the Silver Law Group just started a website called elderfinancialfraudattorneys.com. This digital platform was designed to protect seniors from those who use the internet to prey on them with the intent to financially exploit. The site also helps people get help who have been victims of rogue stockbrokers and investment advisors that take advantage of people.

Financial fraud against the elderly is a crime that is becoming increasingly more prevalent as the American population continues to grow older. However, the big problem with the gross financial exploitation of seniors is that it goes unreported in a sizable percentage of all criminal cases.

This creates a major cause for alarm when it comes to the aging public and the loved ones who are responsible for their care. According to the Adult Protective Services (APS), a measly one out of 44 incidents of financial fraud against the elderly are reported to law enforcement agencies and APS on an annual basis.

Additionally, around one out of 20 members of the elderly population can attest to being financially defrauded in some shape, way, form, or fashion in recent history. Scott L. Silver is a Managing Partner of the Silver Law Group. His organization’s new website has obviously been formed at a time when these kinds of protections for seniors are desperately needed.

“Elder financial fraud has grown into a social crisis, with seniors losing roughly $37 billion dollars a year because of it,” Silver said in a statement, according to PRWeb.com.

“Licensed members of the financial services industry are partially responsible, and many victims don’t know that there are legal ways to seek justice and possibly recover lost money. Our firm is changing awareness of the issue and putting pressure on unethical financial advisors and brokers,” he continued.

Elderfinancialfraudattorneys.com has an abundance of helpful information, which can educate families about the different forms of financial fraud that are frequently committed against seniors. The site also keeps the public abreast as it pertains to recent legislative or regulatory changes, which are undertaken by numerous government agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Silver is a staunch advocate of the elderly who has appeared on various news outlets to offer expert opinion on this growing issue.




$417M Awarded In Case Linking Johnson to Johnson’s Baby Powder To Cancer

A jury in Los Angeles ordered Johnson to Johnson to pay $417 million to a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson to Johnson baby powder. Eva Echeverria is a 63-year-old medical receptionist from Los Angeles. She is one of the thousands of women who have sued Johnson to Johnson.

There are studies that date back to 1971 that link Johnson to Johnson baby powder. Only a few cases have gone to trial. However, most of the courts have ruled in favor of the plaintiff. In May 2017, a woman in Virginia was awarded $110 million. Another woman was awarded $72 million, but she died before the verdict was reached. Additionally, there was a woman in Sioux Falls, SD who was awarded millions of dollars, but she also died before the verdict was reached.

Eva was too sick to attend court. She made a video detailing how her life had been changed after using Johnson to Johnson baby powder. In the video, she stated that she started using Johnson to Johnson baby powder when she was 11-years-old. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Eva knows that she probably will not live a long. She stated that she is not doing this for herself. She wants to help women who are dealing with a similar situation. Carol Goodrich is the spokeswoman for Johnson to Johnson baby powder. She stated that she is saddened by the fact that people have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. However, Johnson and Johnson plans to file an appeal.

Carol stated that there are studies that prove Johnson to Johnson baby powder is safe. She also stated the studies linking baby powder to ovarian cancer have not yielded consistent results. Talc is one of the ingredients in baby powder. It is similar to asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.

President of the ABA Denounces Events in Charlottesville

The President of the American Bar Association (ABA), Linda Klein, has recently denounced the heinous events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her reasoning is that, although the United States’ Constitution protects free speech and the right to assemble, violence against other peoples is never protected by the United States’ Constitution.

In the official statement made by the entire American Bar Association about the Virginia tragedy that took place over the weekend President Klein makes it clear that it’s mourning but ever vigilant. The ABA is keeping track of the legal details to make sure that the Department of Justice investigates all possible civil rights’ violations that may have taken place in Virginia over the weekend. Ill intent and premeditation might not be as difficult to prove in this case as in others.

The rights of freedom of expression and freedom of speech are enshrined in the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that rallies can even boil over into overt violence without legal ramifications. In its official statement the ABA blamed an overall political environment that has become “so divisive and driven by differences and hatred” for spurring on the horrible events that took place in Virginia.

The American Bar Association called for all peoples to come together and stoke a communal need protect the rights of all citizens. After all, the right to free speech and freedom of expression are predicated on the notion that we all must share a tolerance for the beliefs of others. The rights of all 320 million Americans are protected under the United States’ Constitution and our communities ought to reflect that mutual respect, according to ABA President Klein.

This clarion call for tolerance might be catching on in the community at large since a new movement under the hashtag banner of “#unitetheright” has taken off, according to a recent Washington Post article. President Klein muses that perhaps Americans have become so fixated on the issues that divide this great nation that Americans have lost sight of the common values that make it great.

Justice, in the end, might yet prevail. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating possible civil rights’ violations and allegations of hate crimes swirling around the rallies that took place in Virginia over the weekend. President Klein and the rest of the ABA hope that these investigations proceed unimpeded by politics and that communities mourn and mend along commonly shared values.

Related: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/will-the-church-reckon-with-charlottesville/536718/

The Justice Department Is Giving Local Police Stations The Ability To Confiscate property

With the new administration, the Justice Department is now reinstating an old program that allowed local law enforcement to confiscate goods of suspected criminals. Law enforcement will also have the right to keep or sell the goods and use the funds for their operations.

At the surface, it may seem acceptable for criminals to have a property that was purchased with dirty money liquidated to help the local community. In reality, it can also be abused to simply steal property as law enforcement only needs suspicion or association to confiscate.

Attorney General Eric Holder from the previous administration had gotten rid of the program allowing confiscation without criminal convictions. This had ultimately led to corrupt officers needing to go through the proper legal channels to confiscate goods and ultimately had thwarted theft. It was still allowed to a certain degree when there were major threats to public safety.

Most state laws have their own rules regarding property seizure and most of them are so strict that it is difficult to do it without conviction. Thanks to the forfeiture sharing program, police can bypass state law and go right for the property. They can keep 80 percent of the proceeds and the federal government keeps their 20 percent cut.

Abuse Of Power?

The ACLU is already panicking about the possibility of this program being abused like it was before under the Bush administration. They claim that forfeiture in the first place is a violation of our rights and it is especially abusive when it is done without prosecution.

For example, Rhonda Cox had her vehicle taken by the police when it was suspected that stolen parts were used to repair it. In this case, the law enforcement used a policy that is supposed to take down drug kingpins and threats to national security but instead used it to make a few thousand dollars in revenue.

Since the new Attorney General Sessions is a supporter of the War on Drugs, it is suspected that the confiscation program will be used two-fold. The Attorney General assures us that there are safeguards to prevent abuse, but it was not the case when used previously.

Besides, the majority of the general public is against seizure of property without a prosecution. It is also hypocritical that Sessions claims to support states rights in most cases but is fine with overriding state seizure laws when it is convenient.





Sarah Palin’s Lawsuit Against The Times Progresses

The lawyers for the New York Times took an aggressive public stance recently, declaring that they intend to seek an early dismissal of Sarah Palin’s defamation suit against the Times. If this legal maneuver succeeds, it will put an immediate stop to this legal drama. Palin initiated the suit when the Times published an article that explicitly linked Palin with a tragic mass shooting. According to the lawyers representing the newspaper, the Times did not intentionally act with actual malice when it published the editorial. Although pushing for early dismissal is a fairly common move for civil defendants, experts believe that in this case, there is a good chance that the maneuver may have teeth. U.S. law says that in order for Palin to win, a preponderance of evidence must show that the Times acted with malice.

Palin filed this lawsuit in response to the newspaper’s June 14 editorial, which linked a 2011 shooting in Tucson with Palin’s pro-gun stance. According to the editorial, Palin’s political action committee had produced an ad that showed Democratic lawmakers beneath crosshairs. In reality, the ads in question only showed crosshairs superimposed over Democrat-held districts. Experts are divided about whether the alleged defamation represented a deliberate attempt to cause Palin harm. If the court rules that the defamation statue does apply in this case, Palin might win compensatory and punitive damages. Sources report that Palin’s team is seeking at least $75,000 in damages. Few believe that this case will settle out of court under any circumstances.

According to the lawyers defending the Times, the alleged offense was nothing more than a simple mistake that was corrected within 12 hours. Generally, newspapers are not held legally liable for honest mistakes. In this matter, the Times is represented by the law firm of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz. This is a serious firm with a long history of courtroom success. The presiding judge in this case is Southern District Judge J. Rakoff. Most commentators on both sides of the issue agree that Rakoff is an impartial force that should decide the case in a fair, dignified manner. Although defamation suits are fairly common, evidentiary standard for success is quite high for suits such as this. Therefore, most legal experts believe that Palin’s legal team will have a tough time succeeding. In any case, it could take quite some time before this civil legal matter is fully resolved.

A Federal Judge Block’s California’s Gun Control Law

Recently, a judge blocked a new California law dealing with gun control. The law in question banned high-capacity magazines that were capable of containing 10 or more rounds. Back in 2000, California made it illegal to buy or sell equipment of this nature in the state. Under the new law, anyone convicted of possessing a high-capacity magazine can face a maximal charge of $100 and as much as one year in a jail cell. The National Rifle Association (NRA) of San Diego quickly sued to stop the law, claiming it was unconstitutional. This is hardly surprising, since the NRA is one of the most active litigants in the area contesting gun control legislation.

A federal court in San Diego issued a preliminary injunction in favor of NRA. This injunction immediately halted the enforcement of this state law. Although a Sacramento court previously upheld this law, the new ruling will take precedence in the state of California. This is a controversial decision in many ways. Quite a few legal scholars are furiously debating whether or not this was a justified ruling. In time, it will become more clear exactly what fate high-capacity magazines have in California.

In his 66-page ruling, Judge R. Benitez excoriated the gun control law in question. According to Benitez, the new law crosses the line into violating the Second Amendment, the U.S. constitutional amendment granting its citizens gun rights. Of course, California has the option to appeal this ruling. It is possible that this ruling will make it all the way up to the Supreme Court. If that happens, the newly installed Justice Gorsuch may take the spotlight in his new role as a conservative-leaning Supreme Court justice. At the same time, Justice Anthony Kennedy has often played the role of the swing voter in cases such as these. Whatever the final outcome of this case, it may take quite some time before it is fully resolved.

In Illinois, Judge Stops Tax on Sugary Drinks From Going Into Effect

Hours before it would go into effect, an Illinois judge stopped the completion of a Chicago legal effort that would tax drinks with high sugar content.

Citing that the lawsuit filed by vendors must first blow over, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Kubasiak temporarily paused the implementation of the sugary tax. It was meant to begin on Saturday. The lawsuit, which sellers submitted on Tuesday, calls the mandate “unconstitutionally vague” and contends that it will unfairly tax different beverages in different amounts.

Kubasiak said that he believed his choice will safeguard concerns for all sides.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle immediately made a statement that the county would try to undo this ruling and continue to pursue the tax.

The Cook County measure follows in the footsteps of sweetened drink tax laws already in place in Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Pertaining to soda, sports beverages, and energy drinks, the bill was ratified by the county’s Board of Commissioners in November.

David Ruskin, the lawyer for the Illinois Retailer’s Association, argued that if the tax was implemented and then rescinded, consumers would have no way to get their money back. Ruskin also said that the repercussions would be severe for grocers who refused to adhere to the “unconstitutionally vague” tax.

While acknowledging that the law may be flawed, county lawyer Sisavanh Baker explained that without the tax, Cook County would be deprived of $17 million of potential monthly revenue. In Preckwinkle’s statement, she mentioned that she hoped to address the loss of income with personnel cutbacks, among other ways.

Ruskin also claims that the tax on sugared drinks would leave these businesses out from inclusion with the SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This program assists low-income people in affording groceries.

However, the county’s attorney, James Beligrates, asserts that the lawsuit’s claim about SNAP is misleading because these businesses wouldn’t receive the tax on the SNAP goods.

The two sides will make their arguments at a hearing on July 12th.

Texas Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling on Gay Marriage Benefits

Almost exactly two years ago, in late June 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal and states with bans against gay marriage were acting unconstitutionally. Gay marriage is a hot-button topic in the United States; even though gay marriage is legal, many American citizens continue to argue against same-sex marriage.

Texas is known for having staunchly conservative stances towards many controversial issues. Although citizens of every state, including Texas, are not exclusively against or in support of gay marriage, the Texas Supreme Court has taken a stance against gay marriage.

Married couples in the United States are recipients of several benefits, including saving taxes through joint returns, being exempt from gift and estate taxes for belongings left to spouses, spousal Social Security benefits, among many others. Texas’ Supreme Court recently ruled that couples in same-sex marriages are not privileged to benefits provided for marriage through the United States government.

The 2015 United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriages was legally known as Obergefell v. Hodges. Although this case did make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to legally tie the knot, spousal benefits such as Social Security payments to significant others were not taken care of. Because the 2015 Supreme Court ruling did not touch on spousal benefits, the Supreme Court of the state of Texas found that spousal benefits were not due to same-sex married couples.

Same-sex marriage controversy in Texas dates back four years ago to 2013. Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker granted spousal benefits to a same-sex couple, in which the city they lived in approved of same-sex marriage. Mayor Parker was sued by Texas state Republicans and two Houston citizens, reversing the decision of granting them benefits as a married couple.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and social group Texas Values broke news as publicly supporting the court’s recent decision, whereas LGBT groups in Texas have publicly opposed the decision. LGBT legal support group Lambda Legal stated they plan to appeal the oppositional ruling made June 30th, 2017, in Texas’ Supreme Court up to the level of United States Supreme Court. However, because the Supreme Court hears only a tiny fraction of cases forwarded to their jurisdiction, the recent ruling is likely to go unchanged.