Anthony Kennedy to Retire from Supreme Court?

With the current term of the U.S. Supreme Court winding down, there is intense speculation as to any retirement plans for 81-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy. Although he hasn’t said anything publically one way or another, Kennedy has already hired four law clerks for the upcoming term. That leaves some observers to conclude that Kennedy plans on working through the next term, at least for now. On the other hand, at this point in time, the court has only taken 15 cases for its next term. That might be an indication that the court has been told that Kennedy is retiring. The remaining eight members of the court might not want to take any more cases until such time as a replacement for Kennedy has been confirmed.Kennedy was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Ronald Regan in 1988. The Hill reports that regardless of the fact that Kennedy voted with the liberal side of the court on same-sex marriage, he has always been a moderate who might swing a vote on a case.

If Justice Kennedy does retire, President Donald Trump would be given another opportunity to select another candidate for the open seat. Whoever might be confirmed could profoundly shift the balance of the court to the right. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman. If there’s a retirement coming, Grassley appears to want it done sooner rather than later. This might be the last chance for Justice Kennedy to retire under a Republican president and a senate that is controlled by a Republican majority. It’s entirely possible that Chief Justice John Roberts will announce Kennedy’s retirement at the close of this Supreme Court’s term.

It’s also possible that the speculation of Kennedy’s retirement might be better focused on some other justices. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and associated with the liberal wing of the court. One or two other judges are apparently experiencing health issues. We might know more in a few days or a few years.

Pass Rate Falls for California’s February Bar Exam

It’s harder to become a lawyer in California than ever before. California bar officials recently released the results of their February 2018 bar exam. The pass rate is down seven percentage points to 27.3 percent. That means nearly three-fourths of exam takers received bad news about their failing grades.

California offers the bar exam twice per year. That means applicants who want to try again have to wait until July to get their chance. California officials report that 1,282 applicants received passing scores on the exam. There were 4,701 total applicants.

Executive Director of the State Bar of California, Leah T. Wilson, says that she knows that the pass rates are low. For the bar in February 2017, 34.5 percent of examinees received passing scores. The number was 35.7 percent in February 2016.

California has some of the lowest bar passage rates in the entire country. The ABA Journal says that it’s because California has a difficult bar exam. Others say that there are a number of unaccredited law schools in the state. They say that the law schools without accreditation tend to admit less-qualified applicants. They say these applicants are less likely to pass the exam.

If an applicant doesn’t pass the bar exam, they can take the exam again. An applicant can sit for the bar exam as many times as they want to. If an applicant doesn’t pass the bar exam, they can’t practice law, and they are not a lawyer. The bar exam consists of multiple choice questions, essay response questions and an ethics test. The bar exam is administered over multiple days.

First-time test takers are more likely to pass the bar exam than repeat test takers. On the February 2018 bar exam, 39 percent of first-time test takers received passing marks. Still, the passing rate for first-time test takers was 44.7 percent in February 2016.

A survey of licensed attorneys reveals that they favor keeping standards the same. Most currently licensed attorneys don’t want bar examiners to lower the qualifying score from the current cut-off point. Law school deans reported that they support lowering the score. Ultimately, the California Supreme Court makes the decision, and they decided to leave the cut-off score at 1440 for all test takers. Examiners say that they plan to continue to evaluate the test to make sure that it’s a valid test. They say that they want to test for skills that are relevant to modern attorneys.

Professor Sujit Choudhry is Signatory on Amicus Brief that Opposes Texas’ Anti-Abortion Law

Professor Sujit Choudhry of the Center for Constitutional Transitions is one of several academics in the field of international and comparative law who are signatories on an amicus curiae brief concerning the improper view of international perspectives on abortion law. The brief, led by Aziza Ahmed, professor at Northeastern University School of Law, supports the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood as co-counsel representing abortion clinics and doctors in a case examining a challenge to a Texas law that bans dilation and evacuation, an otherwise commonly used and safe second trimester abortion procedure. More narrowly, the law seeks to ban the safest, most common method of second-trimester abortions after approximately 15 weeks, and as such Texas is in direct contradiction to the norms recognized in international law. The law was preliminary enjoined by a federal district court as it finds it to be likely unconstitutional. The state of Texas has appealed.

 

States are required by international human rights law to enable access to safe and legal abortion services. In line with this international norm, the global consensus is such that individual nations with legal traditions similar to those of the U.S. lean towards liberalization of abortion access. This reflects an expanding understanding of the close links between abortion access, gender equality and women’s health. Rather than acknowledging this international consensus, Texas presents a misleading and erroneous analysis of foreign law in the support of the state’s aim to pass a law that restricts access to safe abortion care.

 

The brief first elaborates international law as a counterpoint to the comparative analysis on which Texas exclusively relies. It then highlights the flawed methodology as well as the irrelevancy of the points mentioned by the expert witness who introduced comparative law evidence in support of Texas as they do not speak to moral or ethical consensus. Professor Choudhry is among the amici who, as international and comparative law scholars, has an interest in correcting this improper view of international law and Texas’s deeply flawed comparative law analysis.

 

 

Professor Choudhry is internationally recognized as an expert on comparative constitutional law and politics. He has also been a constitutional advisor for over two decades, and his expertise encompasses facilitating public dialogue sessions with civil society groups and other stakeholders, leading stakeholder consultations, performing detailed advisory work with technical experts, training civil servants and bureaucrats, engaging party leaders and parliamentarians, and drafting technical reports and memoranda in the field. Professor Choudhry globally advises on the process of constitution building in a number of countries. He is currently a member of the United Nations Mediation Roster and consultant to the World Bank Institute at the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

 

Choudhry is the founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions that assembles and leads international networks of experts and partners with a global network of multilateral organizations, think tanks, NGOs and universities in order to conduct thematic research projects that offer evidence-based policy options to practitioners. This is part of the Center’s effort to both create as well as mobilize knowledge in support of constitution building.  To date, the Center for Constitutional Transitions has worked with over 50 experts from more than 25 countries. The Center is partnered with with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, whereby Choudhry co-leads three global collaborative research projects. These include Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions, Security Sector Reform and Constitutional Transitions in Emerging Democracies, and Security Sector Oversight: Protecting Democratic Consolidation from Authoritarian Backsliding and Partisan Abuse.

 

Sujit Choudhry is the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law. His previous academic engagements include having been the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University, and the Scholl Chair at the University of Toronto. In his research, he focuses on several comparative constitutional law and politics issues. These include constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics; constitutional design in ethnically divided societies; federalism, decentralization and secession; semi-presidentialism; constitutional courts; official language policy, minority and group rights; bills of rights and proportionality; constitutional design in the context of transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule; constitution building; security sector oversight; and basic methodological questions in the study of comparative constitutional law.

 

His publication record includes over ninety articles, books, book chapters, working papers and reports. Choudhry is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Public Law, the International Advisory Council of the Institute for Integrated Transitions, the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Editorial Board of the Constitutional Court Review, the Editorial Advisory Board for the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law, and is an Honorary Member of the Advisory Council of the Indian Constitutional Law Review.

More information on Sujit Choudhry can be found on his personal website sujitchoudhry.com as well as on LinkedIn, Twitter (@sujit_choudhry), Instagram (@sujitchoudhry) and on Facebook. More information regarding the Center can be found on constitutionaltransitions.com.

Legal Technology Has A Diversity Problem

A recent report has shown that minorities and women are underrepresented in the field of legal technology. The report showed that minorities made up 13.6 percent of the people in the field. Women make up 26.5 percent of the people in the legal tech field. Women make up 50.8 percent of the total population. Minorities make up 38.7 percent of people in America.

Kristan Sunday is the co-founder of Paladin. This is a pro bono management platform. She stated that she did not realize that women and minorities were under-represented in the field. Kristan is also a Latina. She is more concerned about the lack of women in the legal technology field.

Kristan believes that minorities and women who are in the field need to speak out and let their voices be heard. According to ABA Journal, not only are minorities and women under-represented, but many people do not have access to legal services. Eighty-six percent of the low-income people who have legal problems do not have access to any help. In 2005, 80 percent of low-income people did not have access to legal services.

Minorities and women are also under-represented in the entrepreneurial field. Latino founders only make up 2.3 percent of the legal tech founders. Black founders only make up 3.1 percent of the legal tech founders. Middle-Eastern, Indian and Asian make up 21.1 percent of the legal founders.

Kristan stated that increasing opportunities for women and minorities will help more people get into the field. She is doing her part to make sure that everyone is represented in the legal technology field. She will be releasing new data on minorities and women in the legal technology field in the near future. She has raised over $1 million to support her endeavors. There are 269 legal technology companies in the United States.

MS-13 “Child” Gang Member Nabbed at Border

MS-13 was originally formed in Los Angeles as a street gang to protect its members from other street gangs. It’s a horribly violent and brutal international gang that has spread from the Pacific coast of the United States to the Atlantic Coast. It now has a presence in 42 states.

MS-13 prefers machetes and knives to guns for purposes of making an attack more agonizing. The street gang proliferated into Canada, Mexico and Central America. Most members have roots in El Salvador. MS-13 members are known for tattoos covering their bodies, often including their faces. They maintain control of a prison in El Salvador, and it’s reported that guards are so terrified of the prisoners that they won’t enter the prison. It’s guarded from the outside by the Salvadorian Army.

The United States Border Patrol reported that one MS-13 gang member was caught trying to sneak into the United States last week as an unaccompanied child. He was hoping to take advantage of the benefits of United States laws that give unaccompanied minors quick status in the country. The MS-13 member was part of a group of 61 undocumented immigrants that were nabbed in Arizona. Upon being interrogated, the man admitted to being an adult and an MS-13 member. He is from El Salvador and was purportedly trying to leave the gang.

As opposed to children from Mexico, unaccompanied children from El Salvador are given special consideration and treatment. Pursuant to United States immigration laws and policies, an unaccompanied child must be priority processed and released to social workers. Regardless of their unauthorized status of the children, social workers then attempt to match them with sponsors who will support and care for them in the United States.

After deportation proceedings are scheduled for unaccompanied children, most of them just vanish. Some of them simply gravitate into street gangs like MS-13. Others, like the subject apprehended in Arizona are already MS-13 members.

Multistate Bar Exam Scores Reach New Low

In February, a new group of law graduates sat for their respective state bar exams. The results have never been worse. Examiners report that bar exam scores on the Multistate Bar Exam have never been as low as they were for the February 2018 bar exam. They say the average MBE score dropped more than one point.

Even though each state has their own exam rules and scoring guidelines, most states use the Multistate Bar Exam or MBE. The Multistate Bar Exam is a multiple choice test that reveals the test taker’s knowledge of basic legal principles as well as their legal reasoning skills. There are 200 questions on the MBE. States rely on the MBE in order to make their bar exams easier and faster to administer.

States typically combine the MBE with other testing methods. People sitting for the bar exam typically must answer essay questions. There may also be an ethics portion of the test. Each state has their own formula to determine how much weight to give the MBE along with the other portions of the bar in order to determine whether to pass the applicant.

MBE officials say that February test takes did the worst on average of any group that has ever taken the exam. They say that the average score on the MBE for the February 2018 group was a 132.8. They say that last year’s average was a 134.1. The number of test takers was also down. Five percent fewer test takers sat for the exam in February 2018 than took the test in February 2017.

Officials say that even among first-time examinees, average MBE scores fell. They say that last year the average was a 135.3, and the first-time average went down to a 135. Among repeat test takers, the average fell by 1.7 points. Even with a low MBE score, an applicant can still pass the bar exam if they score well in the other test sections. However, the MBE is a major testing component in all of the states that use it.

The drop in MBE scores comes as accrediting agencies continue to debate how law schools should accept students. The American Bar Association says that law schools should only accept students who have a reasonable chance of success in school. They say that too many schools admit students who don’t have a good chance of becoming lawyers. They say that LSAT scores and grade point averages can shed light on an applicant’s aptitude. Others say that open admissions policies encourage diversity and help qualified students have the opportunity to succeed.

 

 

 

Cohen Reveals That Sean Hannity Is a Client

On Monday in a New York federal court, the personal attorney of President Trump was made to reveal that, in addition to representing the president, he has performed legal work for Sean Hannity, who is a TV host on Fox News who outwardly supports the president.

Michael Cohen, who represents the president on a variety of personal matters, was forced by a judge to name Hannity through his own attorney. Watching all this from the gallery was Stormy Daniels, who claims that she was engaged in an adultrous relationship with the president a decade earlier.

Daniels is currently engaged in a separate lawsuit, in which she is disputing a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016, in which — in exchange for $130,000 — she agreed not to discuss the alleged affair, which the president claims never happened. Cohen represented the president in the settlement.

Hannity, who is 56 years old, insists that Cohen has never officially represented him in a legal capacity, nor has he ever paid for his legal services. Though he says that he once did seek confidential legal advice from him. Not only has Hannity strongly and publicly defended the president and his policies on his popular television show, he has also received praise from the president because of it.

Cohen was in court so that he could ask a judge to limit the ability of government prosecutors to review documents that the FBI took from both his home and his office in connection to a criminal investigation relating to possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

The White House is said to be frustrated with the investigation, which has ensnared some of the president’s closest aides.

According to CNN, during the proceedings, Kimba Wood — who is the judge in the case — listened for more than 2 hours to arguments from attorneys representing Cohen, the federal government and the president. She is expected to rule in the case at a later time.

Though on Monday she did rule that federal prosecutors must provide the attorneys representing Cohen copies of all documents that they have seized from Cohen before the next scheduled hearing happens.

Major Prison Fight In South Carolina – 7 Dead

Just short of 2.5 million Americans are locked away in the so-called “big house” – in other words, prison, which houses convicted perpetrators of serious crimes whose sentences last at least one full year.

Unfortunately, the United States of America is home to more prisoners than anywhere else on planet Earth, though that’s not to say that Americans are downright evil. Rather, American culture has dictated for at least the past 40 years that locking people in cells for years at a time is an effective means of rehabilitation.

Either way, whether you’re for or against the extremely high rate of imprisonment and alarming lack of true rehabilitation, here’s an alarming news story that’s certain to scare even the hardest of people.

Widespread prison riots in South Carolina took several lives

At roughly 3:00 a.m. Eastern Savings Time, in the rural, Southeastern state of South Carolina, a massive prison riot broke out at what’s supposed to be a maximum security prison.

Although it might sound as if maximum security prisons would have fewer fits of violence and other illegal activity, it’s actually the other way around; these prisons house the gnarliest criminals in all of the Southeastern United States of America.

Jeff Taillon, an official spokesman for the prison system there in South Carolina, made public the fights that broke out in the wee morning hours at Lee Correctional Institution.

According to TheGuardian.com, a whopping 17 inmates were injured, most of which required immediate medical attention, whereas seven others were found dead upon the arrival of emergency services.

Fortunately, no law enforcement officers or correctional officers are harmed, despite fights that took place from roughly 7:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, April 15, 2018, through roughly 3:00 a.m. on Monday – that’s today – April 16, 2018.

Lee Correctional Institution takes its home in the tiny town of Bishopville, South Carolina. The prison has a history of violence, some major events of which include a 2015 fight that features two correctional officers being non-fatally stabbed.

As recently as February 2018 – just two short months ago – an inmate was convicted of the murder of another ruthless criminal locked away in prison.

It took how long to resolve those fights?

Official reports indicate that law enforcement personnel fought for eight consecutive hours in attempts to stop fighting among prisoners there in Bishopville.

End Citizens United Issues Statement on Retirement of Speaker Paul Ryan

Since its founding in 2015, End Citizens United, a political action committee that is supported through grassroots efforts, has focused its efforts on unseating candidates who are known to be bought and paid for by special interests. As a vociferous and persistent opponent of campaign finance reform, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has been in the organization’s cross hairs since day one. With the 2018 midterm elections looming on the horizon, Ryan threw his party for a loop by announcing his retirement on April 11, 2018. Although he will serve out the rest of his term, the congressman won’t seek reelection in November.

Statement by End Citizens United

End Citizens United, or ECU, didn’t waste any time issuing a press release regarding the senator’s announcement. Later that same day, in fact, the organization issued an official statement about Senator Ryan’s impending retirement. In its release, Tiffany Muller, president of ECU, stated: “As Speaker, Ryan pushed his party to respond to the will of mega-donors and corporations, including an effort to strip health care from tens of millions of Americans and a tax bill that raises taxes on middle class families while giving benefits to the richest Americans.”

Paul Ryan’s Dark Money Track Record

It doesn’t take a lot of sleuthing to figure out why Paul Ryan has been a chief target of ECU since its inception. Ryan started serving as senator for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in 1999, and he quickly aligned himself with big money and special interests. In particular, he has allied himself with the Congressional Leadership Fund, or CLF, a Super PAC that has accepted more than $8 million in dark money–including more than $6 million in 2017 alone. Through these alliances, Ryan has placed top priority on keeping big money and special interests happy while throwing his Wisconsin constituents under the bus.

Again and again, Paul Ryan appeared in the news through the years to vocally oppose any and all efforts in support of campaign finance reform. While in office, he championed a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or ACA–a move that would leave countless of his constituents without health insurance. More recently, Ryan worked tirelessly in support of the $50 million tax reform bill. Given that the passage of the bill was a top priority for Republican mega-donors, it makes sense that it was so important to Ryan. More than half of the benefits derived from the bill would go to the top 1 percent while more than 13 million middle-class Americans would see their taxes go up over the next 10 years.

ECU’s Big Money 20

To understand what a pivotal role Paul Ryan has played in the aftermath of the disastrous 2010 Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision, it helps to understand why ECU has made getting him out of office a top priority. The organization, which was founded in 2015, maintains a list called the Big Money 20. Paul Ryan has held a spot on the list since its inception, and that says a lot.

For a politician to land on ECU’s Big Money 20 list, they must be an incumbent whose voting record reflects that they work for special interests and not for their constituents. Paul Ryan was a natural choice for the list when it was initially developed because his voting record has long reflected a bias toward big money and against hardworking Americans. Besides, Paul Ryan was a major opponent of enacting a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United vs. FEC, and he has consistently voted against campaign finance reform measures throughout his political career–including the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002.

The Race for Paul Ryan’s Seat

ECU had already been gearing up to try to vote Paul Ryan out of office in the 2018 midterm elections. Randy Bryce, the likely Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District seat, had enjoyed support from ECU for some time. Unlike Senator Ryan, Bryce, a former ironworker and U.S. Army veteran, does not accept donations from Super PACs or other dark money sources. Instead, he relies solely on grassroots efforts and an average donation of $25. During the first quarter of 2018, Bryce’s campaign outraised Ryan’s campaign by $1.75 million.

Now that Bryce will no longer be facing the powerful incumbent, he has an even better chance of winning the coveted seat. Winning the seat is just one part of ECU’s overarching effort to turn congress from red to blue during the midterm elections. Although there has been some speculation about who the Republicans will nominate to run for the seat, the filing deadline isn’t until June. As for who will replace Ryan as Speaker of the House, a few names have been floated around lately. They include Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Does ECU Have Paul Ryan Running Scared?

The timing of Ryan’s announcement and impending retirement is interesting. Naturally, Republicans claim that the senator sincerely wishes to retire only so that he can be around more for his family, which includes three teenage children. However, it might also be that Ryan is feeling the heat from efforts of groups like End Citizens United and isn’t up for the kind of work that would be needed to retain the seat for another term. Whatever his true motivations may be, there’s no question that his retirement is a positive development for the country.

Even though Paul Ryan is out of the race in November, ECU will continue to support Randy Bryce in his efforts to win the exiting senator’s coveted seat. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the organization seeks to elect candidates who support campaign finance reform generally and the overturning of Citizens United vs. FEC specifically. Bryce may have an easier time running against someone other than Ryan, but he still faces an uphill battle. The district voted for Trump by a margin of 10 percent in 2016, and it is still regarded as leaning more Republican than Democrat.

Campaign Finance Reform in a Post-Paul Ryan World

As exciting as the news of Paul Ryan’s impending retirement may be for supporters of campaign finance reform, it is far from enough to incite real, lasting change. Since the disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision, which famously argued that corporations are people, the very democracy of the United States has been thrown into jeopardy. More than ever, special interests and dark money hold the strings, and congress people are mere puppets doing their bidding. With any luck, Paul Ryan’s former opponent will emerge victorious in November along with many other campaign finance reform champions, and we will be that much closer to overturning Citizens United once and for all.

Read Next:  End Citizens United Endorses Beto O’Rourke for the Senate

Nun Asks Pope to Intervene in Sale of Convent

A nun who takes exception to the purchase of a former convent has written Pope Francis and asked him to intervene. The buyer who wants to close on the property is pop icon Katy Perry. Sister Rita Callahan is now 80 years old. She maintains that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles wrongly entered into a contract to sell the convent to Perry. It sits on eight acres of land in the Los Feliz area. A purchase price of $14.5 million has been agreed upon, but the Vatican must approve the deal before it can close.

Sister Rita alleges that Archbishop Gomez of the Los Angeles archdiocese “tried to sell our convent to a person whom we do not support.” She went on to state that the remaining nuns in her order “do not agree with her lifestyle that has strayed far from any faith.” Perry maintains that she wants to live on the property with her mother and grandmother.

Callahan, who seeks a meeting with Pope Francis, related that the nuns were promised by Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles “that we would always be taken care of by the archdiocese and we would live out the rest of our lives at the convent.” She wrote further that Archbishop Gomez broke that promise. A spokesperson for the archdiocese told Fox News that the archdiocese denied any broken promises to the five remaining nuns who lived on the property. It has been vacant since 2011 “because it became too costly for the five remaining sisters to maintain and no longer accommodated their physical needs.” Callahan has asked Pope Francis to speak with the Signatora which is “like the U.S. Supreme Court” at the Vatican.

A lower court judge in Los Angeles County has already ruled that the archdiocese has authority to sell the property. Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, who was 89-years-old at the time, collapsed and died at a hearing last month in connection with the case. Callahan wants the property to be sold to a specific developer, trusting that the developer would honor the spirit of the order’s former h

 

 

200 Roosters Incarcerated in Arkansas Jail

Cockfighting is a culture that takes place in the shadows of vacant buildings and warehouses. It’s commonly known as a blood sport. Roosters that are bred and raised for the sole purpose of aggression and fighting are outfitted with nail-like daggers and blades. Then, they’re placed into a small open ring to fight to the death. Cockfighting is more than 6,000 years old, and in the United States, it’s usually accompanied by the illegal sale of alcohol and drugs. Of course, betting is involved too.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Several law enforcement agencies and dozens of officers recently participated in a raid on a cockfight venue on March 17, 2018. It was located in De Queen, AR. Authorities allege that it was an organized operation, and the Associated Press reports that the fights changed locations every week. The investigation reportedly lasted for 18 months. Arrests included both felony and misdemeanor cockfighting violations. Some of those who were arrested were fighting cock owners, and others were spectators. About 200 cocks were taken into custody too. They’re in the same jail as some of the offenders and being cared for by some of the inmates at the Sevier County Jail.

Sheriff Robert Gentry said that the care taking inmates haven’t been charged with any cock fighting offenses. The humans that were charged were from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and as far away as New Jersey. The fighting cocks will be held in Sheriff Gentry’s custody until such time as a judge decides what to do with them.

Workers at neighboring business establishments said that the roosters were noisy. Sevier County Jail inmates are complaining about 4:00 a.m. wake up calls being earlier than usual. None of the fighting cocks are in the general jail population for fear of retaliation. Regardless of the fact that people bet on them, the fighting cocks remain unpaid. Not a single one out of the 200 has been able to post bail.

Trump To Deploy the National Guard to the Mexican Border

President Trump announced that he is deploying the National Guard along the border of Mexico. To make this happen, he has directed the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to work with state governors.

The president called the situation along the border urgent. Trump wants to deploy the National Guard there so as to prevent immigrants from illegally crossing the border. He said that the troops are needed there until more of the border wall can be constructed.

In the aftermath of the president taking office, the numbers of immigrants illegally crossing the Mexican border fell. Many believe that this was because they were afraid of the actions of the new administration. But now, with the amount of crossings beginning to rise once more, the president believes that deploying the National Guard is necessary.

Kirstjen Nielsen, who is the Director of Homeland Security, said that her department has witnessed coming across the border a high level of gang and other criminal activity, as well as illegal drugs and illegal immigration. She further said that all this activity threatens American cities and families. She also believes that it threatens the rule of law.

Many experts believe that the rise in illegal crossings can be attributed mostly to single mothers with small children, and children traveling by themselves, who are coming to this country from Central America to escape dangerous gangs. These gangs have taken over entire neighborhoods in places such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The president wants the National Guard placed along the border to deter these people and make it harder for them to cross the border. He also wants to make it more difficult for immigrants to request asylum.

In spite of the recent increases of immigrants crossing the Mexican border, crossings right now are believed to be at the lowest level in almost 50 years. The ACLU responded to the deployment by saying that the president is trying to make a crisis out of something that actually does not exist.

This is not the first time in recent years that an American president has deployed the National Guard along the Mexican border to curb illegal immigration. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama did the same when they were president.

CPS Supervisor Charged With Drunk Driving

A person who usually supervises CPS cases could use some supervision herself after she pleaded guilty to drunk driving and to resisting a police officer. Paula Lipinski is a CPS supervisor in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. She has worked in the position for several years.

However, she went with friends to a drinking establishment downtown Traverse City. When she went to leave, a bar employee thought that she was intoxicated. The employee allegedly went and stood behind her car to prevent her from leaving. The employee said that she drove about a foot anyways. She then left on foot.

When bar employees summoned law enforcement, the Traverse City Police responded to the scene. They say that Lipinski refused to cooperate with police. They released a short dash cam video that shows her lying on the ground in police custody. Some say that her actions mean that she is unfit to continue to work as a CPS supervisor.

Others say that the matter is more complicated. They say that it doesn’t make sense that bar employees followed Lipinski to her vehicle because she was with a group of friends. They say that bar employees wouldn’t have known that Lipinski planned to drive. Critics also say that it doesn’t make sense that bar employees stood behind the vehicle of a person that they believed to be intoxicated. They say that it doesn’t make sense that bar employees would put themselves in such danger when they could simply call the police.

The Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, Bob Cooney, charged Lipinski with drunk driving and with resisting and obstructing a police officer. Lipinski pleaded no contest to two lesser offenses. The plea of no contest has the same effect as a guilty plea. Lipinski must return for sentencing in April.

Cooney, who is running for judge of the local 86th District Court, told the news that he treats all people the same whether they are a government employee or not. Critics say that isn’t true, because Cooney refused to penalize the sheriff for issuing unlawful ticket incentives for his officers a few years ago. Cooney has won his elections for prosecutor unopposed. He faces challengers for the 86th District judge seat being vacated by retiring judge Thomas Phillips.

Lipinski faces up to one year in jail, fines and probation. She will lose her driver’s license for at least 30 days. There’s no word on whether Lipinski will keep her job as a CPS supervisor.

 

District Court Judge Recommends Trump Mute Twitter Followers Instead Of Blocking Them

Donald Trump isn’t afraid of lawsuits. According to some reports, Trump is a lawsuit junky. He has more than 4,000 lawsuits under his belt. One of the latest suits is all about Trump blocking people from seeing his Twitter feed. Evidently, some of Trump’s non-supporters gave Trump a dose of his own Tweeting medicine, and the president didn’t like it. Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University’s lawyer Katherine Fallow told the Judge Naomi Buchwald Trump’s Twitter account is an official government account that acts like a government forum. Department of Justice lawyer Michael Baer wants the judge to drop the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds. Baer said blocking Twitter followers does not violate the First Amendment. Mr. Baer said Trump is not regulating access to Twitter’s public forum.

U.S. District Judge Buchwald suggested both parties agree to Trump muting followers instead of blocking them. Fallow thought the judge’s idea wasn’t a perfect solution, but it might work for her client. Baer also thought muting is a better solution than waiting for the judge to rule on the case. The judge told both lawyers if they don’t settle the case, they might not like her verdict.

Trump’s Twitter account has more than 50 million followers, but only seven of those followers filed a suit against Trump. It’s safe to say Trump blocked more than seven followers, but no one is saying how many people Trump doesn’t want to hear from on Twitter.

The list of Trump lawsuits is a long one. Trump has real estate suits, tax suits, employment suits and numerous other suits in his lawsuit resume. The latest lawsuit that could make Trump cry uncle is the lawsuit filed in California by an alleged lover. The alleged lover, Stormy Daniels, claims her agreement to stay quiet about her affair with the president before he was president is null and void because Trump didn’t sign the agreement. Trump’s lawyer signed on Trump’s behalf. Trump claims he never had an affair with Daniels even though Trump’s attorney paid her $130,000 right before the 2016 election. That payment may be grounds for more legal action because election rules prohibit that kind of secret transaction.

Lawsuits are an everyday fact of life for Donald Trump. Some people say Trump lives to fight court battles. He has the money, so he can go the distance in these lawsuits, but in many cases, he just settles the suits, and he calls it a win.

 

 

Should Lawyers Be Allowed to Advertise With Fake Awards and Associations?

Is it okay for lawyers to mislead the public with fake bar associations and made up awards? Attorney Richard Breen is stirring the pot with the question as he has started a referral service from a bar association that doesn’t exist. Members of the public believe that they’re getting a reputable referral from a credible source while attorneys pay a subscription service, and they pay directly for each referral. Lawyers who want referrals pay $200 to sign up, and they pay $75 for each case that comes their way.

Credibility has long been a question mark of attorney marketing. Flashy lawyer awards are as much about advertising as they are about actually giving an award. Lawyers often pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege of receiving an award. They receive a plaque to hang in their office and an image to use on their website. They can boast about their award online or in the local newspaper.

Advocacy watchdogs say that it’s false advertising. They say that members of the public don’t know that the awards come with a price. They say the awards might prevent people who need legal representation from finding the lawyer that’s best for them. Watchdogs say that the pay-per-play awards and referral systems amount to fake news.

The organizations that hand out the awards say that’s not the case. They say that they offer the awards to only a limited number of lawyers in their profession. They boast of a thorough vetting process that can sometimes include a phone conversation and ethical checks. Without these safeguards, they say, word would get out that their awards don’t mean anything.

It’s up to each state to create the rules for attorney advertising. Because lawyers are seen as having a great deal of power in society, how attorneys can approach potential clients has long been a matter of discussion and debate. State bar associations want to make sure that the public is protected from feeling harassed, threatened or misled.

One group criticizing paid attorney advertising is the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising. They say that an attorney may not ethically be able to advertise themselves as the best or greatest even if they’ve won an award that says so. An attorney wanting to hold themselves out to the public as the greatest or the best should be able to point to verifiable data that backs up the claim. For now, it’s up to consumers to evaluate what they see and decide what attorney to hire.