Trump Travel Ban Proves Difficult to Defend

A controversial Executive Order signed by United States President Donald Trump is proving to be a very difficult challenge for the legal teams assembled by the White House and the Department of Justice. According to news reports coming from Supreme Court chambers, White House attorneys filed an impassioned, 84-page brief defending the so-called “Muslim ban” in the name of national security.

The Justice Department is playing all available cards as it prepares for Supreme Court hearings that will take place in a couple of months. The Supreme Court allowed the Executive Order to be enacted before heading into recess and returning to hear the case; some legal analysts considered this temporary authorization a Solomonic decision by the highest court in the U.S. since it bolstered the spirits of an embattled President while promising to take time to consider legal options.

By the time the Supreme Court reconvenes, the travel ban will have been in effect long enough to appease Trump. The first attempt at implementing the travel ban ended up in a nationwide kerfuffle at international airports and legal challenges that effectively halted the ban based upon rulings issued by federal and appellate courts.

One of the most significant problems faced by the U.S. Justice Department is that President Trump ran a political campaign that focused on discrimination of immigrants and foreigners; the federal and appellate judges who have thus far sided with plaintiffs truly believe that the first and second versions of the travel ban are in fact “Muslim bans,” and thus can be easily considered to be unconstitutional.

Checks and Balances

Lawyers representing the U.S. government have quite the herculean effort ahead of them if they hope to convince the Supreme Court that President Trump is not the same person he was as a presidential candidate; nonetheless, that is precisely what the brief filed ahead of the hearings aims to convey.

Some legal analysts have already spotted weaknesses in the brief, which claims that appellate courts should not question decisions made by a sitting President with regard to national security. The problem with this specific claim is that this is precisely the way that American democracy is supposed to work insofar as separation of powers and checks and balances. In other words, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches should look after each other and make sure that they uphold the Constitution, particularly when the American people bring matters to court as plaintiffs.

Ref: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39044403

Oregon Set To Ban Cigarette Sales To People Who Are Under The Age Of 21

Kate Brown, who is the governor of Oregon, recently signed a bill that will make it illegal for people who are under the age of 21 to buy cigarettes. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2018. California, Hawaii and New Jersey have the same law. Maine will also raise the smoking age to 21 in 2018.

The bill was approved by the House in March. In July, the bill was approved by the Senate. Kate Brown, who is a Democrat, was pleased to sign the bill.

Kate stated that she hopes that they will be able to reduce the number of young people who smoke. She also hopes that the number of people who smoke will drastically decrease. People who are for this law have stated that addiction rate among Oregons can be reduced. Additionally, they believe that the number of people who suffer from health-related issues due to cigarette smoking can also be decreased.

Diseases that are caused by smoking are among the leading causes of death in Oregon. According to the Oregon Health Authority, 7,000 deaths per year are caused by cigarette smoking. The earlier one starts smoking, the more likely they are to develop health problems due to it. People believe that raising the smoking age can prevent people from becoming addicts.

There are also some people who are against the law. They believe that people who are underage will still continue to buy cigarettes after the smoking age is raised. Some people have also compared this law to the alcohol prohibition, which took place from 1920 to 1933. Many people still brought alcohol during this time. Furthermore, there are some people who believe that this new law will violate personal freedom. They believe that if an 18-year-old can join the military, then they should be able to buy cigarettes.

Sanctuary in the Lone Star State

The issue of the existence of sanctuary cities has been a long-standing issue since the first few days of President Donald Trump’s administration. Since the beginning of the year, cities across the United States have been divided on what actions to take when it comes to sanctuary cities. Some states, like California, have begun the process of passing bills that, according to Jurist “will strengthen protections for undocumented immigrant students in public schools from kindergarten through college by preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from entering a school site without a valid judicial warrant.” Others, like Mississippi and Alabama, have enacted policies that prohibit sanctuary immigration policies and stop funding for sanctuary universities. The state of Texas is no different in this regard, and has become one of many states to face this issue.

The Texas senate approved a bill in February that targets sanctuary cities. The bill requires these cities to comply with federal immigration law. In addition, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that bans sanctuary cities in Texas.

Because of these actions, a case was filed against Senate Bill 4, which is the bill that requires law enforcement to “cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and prohibit local agencies from enforcing policies that bar officers from inquiring as to an individual’s immigration status.” The concern was the state of Texas trying to have Senate Bill 4 declared constitutional before it was scheduled to take effect. The case was promptly dismissed, as the court found that “there was no “justiciable injury” to Texas as there was not yet a challenge to the bill’s constitutionality.” Since there was no injury to be had, the case was rendered as moot and thus dismissed. Time will tell whether this issue will further spread to other states.

Sujit Choudhry’s Address at the Semi-Presidentialism Round-table in Ukraine

On 10th July 2017, top researchers and constitutional experts converged at Kiev, Ukraine to discuss the constitutional challenges that Ukraine is experiencing. The event was hosted by the major think tanks in Ukraine, a global intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the Center for Policy and Legal Reform. Sujit Choudhry adequately utilized the opportunity to speak at the semi-presidentialism roundtable and his remarks are to be implemented soon. The main agenda was on how to improve the governance system considering the semi-presidential system used in Ukraine.

 

Sujit Choudhry recognized the fact that it was privilege reasoning together with the top researchers and constitutional experts from Ukraine. He also pointed out that there has been instability in the governance of Ukraine for the past two decades and it’s mainly attributed to the executive powers and electoral system for the legislature. Other factors that Sujit Choudhry noted were the existence of separation of powers within the dual executive between the Prime minister and the President, weak political parties and the concentration of powers on the presidency. Also contributing to this instability is a poor electoral system for the legislature. He gave recommendations that could be applied for better governance of Ukraine.

Other notable persons who shared the forum with Sujit Choudhry included Thomas Sidelius of Dalarna University and Sumit Bisarya who represented International IDEA. There were other persons who shared the roundtable with Choudhry such as the UN representative of human rights council in Ukraine, Vladimir Vasilenko. The constitutional commission of Ukraine was represented by Sergyi Holovatyi while Viktor Musiaka represented the president in the supreme council of 1996. Also present was Ihor Koliushko who is a former MP and served as an advisor to the President of Ukraine from 2005 to 2006. The list of attendance is endless.

Having lectured in more than 24 countries globally, Sujit Choudhry is popularly known for being a constitutional advisor and he recently released a collection of notable academic contributions and case studies. Besides, classical articles on topics regarding constitutional law are also a part of his release. This book basically recounts examples of constitutional making decision and their outcomes. He also points out stable democracies like Chile are demanding for new constitutions untainted by their difficult and unpromising past. Each modern nation-state finds constitution as a central feature that is vital to its prosperity. It is important to note that a constitution is a backbone of democracy in all the countries and royalties all over the world.

More about constitutional transitions

The constitutional transitions is responsible for the generation and mobilization of knowledge in support of the constitutional building. This is done by assembling and leading international experts who are senior policy practitioners and scholars. The experts also boast of a vast field experience and are sourced from more than 25 countries. The constitutional transition is responsible for the generation of Journal Articles, Opinions, Policy Manual and working reports.

Choudhry had an opportunity to elaborate on changes in constitutional decisions put in place by transitional democracies. He further notes that it becomes a major challenge for leaders elected constitutionally to come up with evidence based policies in to back up the overall constitutional reform process.

 

Who is Sujit Choudhry?

Sujit Choudhry is a Professor of law at the Berkeley School of Law, University of California. He has also served as the dean at this institution. Sujit is an internationally acknowledged authority with an undoubted expertise in comparative constitutional law. Choudhry has an exhaustive experience in the constitution development process. He has been a part of constitution building process in many countries all over the world. Some of the democracies that have been beneficiaries of Choudhry’s expertise are Egypt, Jordan, Nepal, Libya, Sri Lanka Ukraine and Tunisia. He has also conducted several lectures in more than 24 countries. As part of the United Nations Mediator, a service based in United Nation Department of Political Affairs, he has ensured the success of a variety mediation processes in most of the UN member states. Sujit Choudhry also provides consultancy services to the UN Development Program and other the World Bank programs.

 

As the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, he is a part of a great team that supports constitutional building by bringing together and leading interactions consortium of experts. The policy options have proven prudent to decision makers in several sectors such as NGOs, multilateral organizations and global networks all over the world. Currently, Choudhry is working with three global collaborative research projects in the constitutional building process. These projects will produce a series of research outputs and policies that are to be published this year. The projects are,

· Security sector oversight that will ensure the protection of Democratic Consolidation from Partisan abuse and Authoritarian Backsliding.

· Dealing with Territorial Cleavages that exist in Constitutional Transitions.

· Constitutional Transitions and security sector reforms in Emerging democracies.

In addition to the professional competence already highlighted, Professor Choudhry has published more than 90 articles, working papers, reports and book chapters. He has contributed extensively to the Canadian constitutional law. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Institute of Integrated Transitions and the Indian Constitutional Law Review. Choudhry’s research addresses many issues regarding comparative constitutional laws and politics. Constitutional design which forms part of his research also ensure smooth transition from a chaotic conflict to tranquil politics. This constitutional design is characterized into minor categories such as, language policy, bills of rights and proportionality amongst others. All these are encompassed in Sujit’s research documents.

Overall the success of a nation relies on proper constitutional policies and good governance systems. The contribution of professionals like Sujit Choudhry in the success of a state like Ukraine cannot be underrated. A country also needs experienced policy makers to see it through every transitions. In fact, it is such policy makers and advisors to governments that lead to economic prosperity in a sovereign nation. The recommendations by Choudhry and the team of experts will be a great solution to problems facing Ukraine once implemented.

Further reading:

Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry Presents an Analysis of Freedom of Speech

Sujit Choudhry: A Proponent for Peace Through Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law Authority Sujit Choudhry Attends Workshop in Ukraine

 

Tiger Woods Begins First-Offender Program After Convicted DUI

On May 29th, Tiger Woods was arrested in Florida for a suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Wood’s arraignment charge was scheduled for Wednesday, August 9, 2017 but was then moved to October 25, 2017. Woods was not present at the courthouse and no plea was entered by him. When a defendant enters the first-offender program, the state will drop the DUI charge and the defendant must plead guilty to a lesser charge such as reckless driving. Once Woods enters the program, he must complete DUI school, probation, and there will be a ban on alcohol and drug consumption. The first-offender program does not expunge the defendants record, rather it shows up with no guilty conviction. If the defendant fails to complete the program, he will have a second-degree misdemeanor charge on his record. On May 29th, Woods was found sleeping in his 2015 Mercedes Benz on the side of the road. The vehicle was running and the turn signal was left on. Police reported a tail light not working as well as damage to the rear bumper. There were no signs of an accident or any property damage. When police approached Woods, he was unconscious and not wearing a seatbelt. Police woke the defendant up and stated that he was slurring his words. The defendant was cooperative and completed a field sobriety test. When asked if he had been drinking, he said no. Woods claims that he had a reaction to the medication that he has been taking for his back pain. Police performed a breathalyzer test and Woods registered a 0.000, and he also completed a urine test. Woods made a statement on social media stating that he was receiving professional help to manage his medication for back pain as well as his sleep disorder. Woods also announced that he completed an out-of-state private intensive program.

Lawyering: TV Techniques Don’t Work in Real Life

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has affirmed a decision from the trial court that convicted Matthew King, the Breaking Bad replicator, of two counts of money laundering and one count of attempted money laundering. King sought appellate review of the trial court decision based on two arguments: that the Confrontation Clause was violated and that the trial court improperly admitted evidence of his prior conviction.

According to the trial record, King had approached a gentleman, Marcus Terry, at a strip club. Terry had held himself out to be a drug dealer with substantial funds needing laundering. Terry explained that he had drugs shipped in from Mexico, and had others sell the product at the street level. King then proposed two methods to “clean” the money for Terry. First, he would create a sham entertainment corporation, an idea he stole from a Breaking Bad episode. Second, he would funnel money through his legal IOLTA account for Terry. Ultimately, they decided on the IOLTA approach. Putting words into action, Terry brought $20,000 to King, who deposited it into his IOLTA account. King then promised to return it a few thousand dollars at a time. King then made two $2,000 payments to Terry in February and March 2014. Based on that, King was charged with two counts of money laundering and one count of attempted money laundering. He was convicted on all three counts.

In addressing the Confrontation Clause argument, King argued that the trial court improperly admitted recorded conversations between himself and Terry, in that it violated his right to confront the witnesses against him. The Court first looked at whether the statements were offered for the truth of the matter asserted. The Court held that they were not offered for their truth, but rather as a representation of what had been presented and ultimately believed by King. Although it eventually helped establish an element of the offense, it didn’t equate to being offered for the truth of the matter.

In addressing the prior conviction, King argued that the trial court improperly allowed the prosecutor to question him about his prior arrest for cocaine possession. Although, the Court agreed that the information was improperly admitted, the Court held that it was a harmless error. The Court reasoned that the arrest evidence was consistent with King’s own testimony about his history of substance abuse, and that King was not convicted based on his prior cocaine arrest. The Court felt there was sufficient basis in the record to support the conviction, despite this harmless error.

Original Article: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/6th_circuit_upholds_money_laundering_conviction_of_lawyer_who_suggested_bre

 

Supreme Court Throws Out Gender Biased Immigration Law

A new Supreme Court ruling rejects gender bias in determining citizenship for children born to Americans overseas. The ruling threw out an immigration law that treated mothers and fathers differently when it comes to determining the citizenship of their children. The ruling in the Morales-Santana case said that immigration laws must treat both mothers and fathers the same.

The Supreme Court challenge was brought by a man born outside of the United States. Even though he wasn’t born in the United States, he moved to the United States soon after his birth. Later he committed a series of crimes. Because of his criminal convictions, U.S. officials tried to deport him. He replied that they couldn’t deport him, because he’s an American citizen. He argued he was a citizen even though his father didn’t meet the residency requirement.

The law said that in order for a child to receive American citizenship because of their American father, the father must have lived in the United States for at least 10 years. At least 5 of those years have to be after age 14. Mothers, on the other hand, could transmit American citizenship to their child by living in the United States for only one year. Thus, the law treats mothers and fathers differently.

If that rule applied, Morales-Santana wouldn’t have had American citizenship. His father hadn’t met the requirement for living in the United States for 10 years. However, his father had lived in the United States for more than 1 year.

The Supreme Court agreed that the rule was unfair. They ruled that the law treating mothers and fathers differently is sexist. Justice Ginsburg wrote that the law assumes that fathers are generally strangers to their children, while mothers are not. That kind of assumption is unconstitutional and unacceptable, the justices said.

They talked about a scenario where a father acknowledges paternity and raises the child in the United States from birth. Under the law as it was written, that child wouldn’t be an American citizen. They believed that this was unfair. The Supreme Court said that the United States must rewrite the law so that it’s equal to all groups. That includes married parents, unwed fathers and unwed mothers.

Although this law change may help children of unwed fathers born abroad, the ruling didn’t spare Morales-Santana from deportation. The court declined to extend citizenship to Morales-Santana. Instead, they’re applying a five-year residency requirement for all parents going forward. The U.S. government can still pursue deportation for Morales-Santana. The ruling overturns a Court of Appeals opinion that declared Morales-Santana a U.S. citizen.

Read More: https://www.jacksonlewis.com/publication/supreme-court-gender-based-distinctions-immigration-law-violate-equal-protection

Five Key Roles of Legal Aid

Five Key Roles of Legal Aid
Legal aid is the assistance that is given to a person when they need legal help. Legal officers play a great role in the society. Individuals in the legal profession are entrusted to maintain law and order. This is achieved through ensuring that justice is served without fear or favor. Justice ensures that the two parties are satisfied. Legal officers offer different kinds of justice with regards to the cases that they handle. Justice is given in the light of the group that is affected and the issue of justice at hand. The following is a list of different kinds of justice that are offered by legal officers;
• Criminal justice
• Child justice
• Land justice
• Justice for the vulnerable people

The cases that are handled by legal officers involve any issue in the community. The government has introduced policies that highlight the role of legal officers in the society. The policies include;
1. Ensuring justice for people
2. Ensuring legal proceedings in various instances
3. Insulating people against loss.
4. Ensuring that justice is served in all dimensions

Ensuring justice for people
This is the primary objective of all officers in the legal fraternity. They fight to make sure that justice is served. This brings about peace because people get to understand the role of justice in the society. It creates equality. People are able to live in peace and unity with one another. It also ensures that there is a balance in the society.

Ensuring legal proceedings in various instances
Various laws are developed for various processes. These processes include buying a car, buying land, and joining some of the educational institutions. This ensures that the legal proceedings run smoothly. People who embrace legal aid have an easy time acquiring what they need from the right sources.

Insulating people against loss
Involving legal aid when one undertakes various decisions ensures that they are safe from economic loss or emotional loss. An agreement that is signed by individuals who get married at the lawyer’s office is honored by the two parties if they divorce. A will that is written by a person using legal assistance is followed to the end. A legal officer has the power to implement it. This ensures that justice is served in all dimensions. It creates an inclusive society that benefits all members of the society.

Clicking “I Agree” Could be a Big Mistake

Clicking “I Agree” has become a routine activity. It’s necessary to “Agree” to pages of legalese when installing new apps, completing commercial transactions or whenever a website owner chooses. Do very many people actually know what they just agreed to?

Those terms of service could include some strange conditions. Some of the things people have agreed to – probably without knowing it – would make a reasonable person wonder if they really needed this app. Certain ridiculously inclusive terms of service could also make someone wonder about the company’s legal department.

Airbnb

Airbnb is a popular online vacation and apartment rental service. In their terms and conditions, users must agree not to develop, design, manufacture or product missiles or biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. Not only that, but Airbnb wants to be able to run a credit check on users. Are illegal weapons makers generally truthful?

Lyft

This car transportation services promises “a ride whenever you need one.” Users must not count on location data being reliable if precise location information is necessary or if inaccurate location data results in personal injury, death or environmental or property damage. Precise location data would seem to be necessary to use the service.

23andMe

People seem to love genetic testing as a means of learning more about their ancestry. They might be assuming that their DNA will be safeguarded and kept confidential, but customers must agree that their sample can be used in research or potential commercial products without receiving any compensation.

Tinder

Tinder is one of the most popular dating sites, but users are warned that it’s a “buyer beware” service. Tinder performs no criminal background checks or makes any attempt to verify anything said by users. Perform your own checks on anyone you’re interested in.

unroll.me

Unroll.me is a free email service with some attractive features. They are very particular about how users link to their homepage, as detailed in their terms of service. They aren’t as particular about selling user data to Uber.

It would undoubtedly be a great idea for everyone to understand the terms of service that preceded the “I Agree” button, but that’s probably unrealistic. There are too many demands on everyone’s time to read all the fine print before downloading another great app. However, everyone needs to remember that “buyer beware” is alive and well on the internet.

Ref: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/common-website-navigation-mistakes/

Martin Shkreli May Actually Go To Prison

Martin Shkreli had faced a long trial and he may go to prison. Even though he is well known by jacking up medication prices, his prison term will be for something completely unrelated. The courts were more interested at looking back on his history of managing hedge funds

After review of the jury, they court had found Martin Shkreli guilty of securities fraud. This crime can potentially have a 20-year prison sentence, but it is still up in the air on how long he will serve (if he serves any time at all).

Although it was one of the lesser charges, he was caught stealing money from one of his companies in order to reimburse damages for investors. Basically, the jury did see that his intentions were good by making things right for his investors but it was still technically illegal.

What Martin’s legal team had mostly focused on during the trial was by showing how there was no malicious intent with his actions. He also explained how Martin put in a lot of hours and sacrificed from his own personal life in order to make his customers happy. In the end, there were no losses and there were only a few white lies behind it. In the end, a crime was still committed in order for him to turn things around.

An Unbiased Jury?
Considering his reputation as a greedy mastermind that is raising the cost of medications, you would think that the jury would throw the book at him. In fact, the jury was asked if they knew about his involvement in the pharmaceutical industry. If jurors had said yes, they were automatically excluded from the trial. This means that it was unlikely that previous bad press had influenced the outcome.

Shkreli’s Infamous Online Persona
Most of the people following the drama behind Shkreli are likely younger social media users. He constantly acts cocky through Twitter and Facebook. He had even mocked the jurors, the trial and the press with the confidence that he will win the trial. He called it a witch hunt by people who don’t know anything about his industry.

He even has a tight-knit group of followers that watch him live streaming through Youtube throughout the trial. When he was sentenced, he still live streamed from his apartment while drinking beer and cracking jokes about his future prison life.

It still remains to be seen if a jail sentence will be made and for how long.

 

 

 

Karl Heideck Explains: Effects of the Philadelphia Soda Tax

The rates of obesity in America continue to rise, and many public officials are concerned about the consequences this can bring upon society as a whole. Nearly 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese and more than 35% fall into the obese category. Just over 6% of adults in this country are considered extremely obese, and these weight issues are even beginning to trickle down and affect children as young as three years of age.

The implications of overweight and obesity are enormous and impact many areas of life. The healthcare system estimates that millions of tax dollars are spent annually on issues stemming from obesity. It’s clear that we need a solution to this problem. What’s not clear is what that solution should be. Some states have attempted to offset the problems created by obesity by instituting taxes and other penalties on junk food and soda. Philadelphia is one such example, having created a soda tax in the hopes of reducing the rates of obesity and the adverse effects that stem from it.

What is the Philadelphia Soda Tax?

Philadelphia recently became one of the first states to introduce a tax on sugary soft drinks. This tax took full effect early in 2017. What was the idea behind this 1.5 cent per ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks? Many public officials felt this tax would discourage people from purchasing and consuming as much soda, one of the many calorie laden products that have resulted in health issues such as weight gain. The thought was that those who were unable to afford to pay this tax would simply stop buying these products and those who chose to pay the tax anyway would be contributing financially toward offsetting some of the costs associated with the health problems that can result from consuming these beverages. While from the outside it may appear to have been a lofty idea with good intentions, the results have been far from what was intended when this tax was brought about.

How is the Philadelphia Soda Tax Impacting Society?

Armed with good intentions and many supportive citizens, the Philadelphia soda tax was seen as a solution to a growing problem that affects all of us in various ways. However, some unintended effects have already been seen in the short time this tax has been in existence.

First of all, this tax affects the low-income citizens of Philadelphia on a much larger level than other citizens who can simply afford to pay more for these drinks. As it turns out, low-income individuals are the largest consumers of these types of soft drinks. Low-income residents of Philadelphia without their own mode of transportation have no choice but to shop at local stores and pay this tax if they want to continue drinking these beverages.

This tax is also negatively affecting small mom and pop types of grocery stores. These stores are already competing daily with major chains who have much more capital, more power, and more advertising dollars. Small grocery stores are also now seeing a major reduction of sales and income due to customers traveling further away to do their shopping at stores in areas that have no tax on these soft drinks. When these previous customers opt to do their shopping at another store, they don’t just buy their soda from another location. They buy all of their groceries at another large retailer, leaving these small grocery stores struggling with a lack of sales. The lost income can be so large in some cases that these mom and pop stores have no choice but to close their doors permanently. In just two short months after the soda tax was initiated, one large retailer experienced an increase in sales of 20% while a small business owner experienced a loss of revenue of over 30%. These numbers are large enough to lead to the death of a small business, creating horrible ramifications for that business owner and his family.

Last but not least, it is estimated that this well-intended tax will result in a multi-million dollar deficit for the state overall. According to one financial advisor, both a short and long term deficit will be created due to the fact that government officials have not been calculating this tax based on accurate numbers. Government officials based their projected earnings from this tax to be far too high, which in the coming years will result in a deficit that will have to be made up for in other areas.

Keep Reading:  Philadelphia’s Lawsuit against Wells Fargo Explained

Soft Drink Industry Appeal of the Philadelphia Soda Tax

It should come as no surprise that this tax has also negatively affected the soft drink industry. Canada Dry and Pepsi both reported that their Philadelphia branches had laid off as many as 20% of their employees since this tax came about.

Not surprisingly, the soft drink industries are fighting back and attempting to appeal this tax. The litigation involved in this case has made its way to the Supreme Court in an attempt to stop this tax and the affects that have already been seen from it. Supporters of the tax are calling the appeal disappointing and feel that it takes the focus away from the benefits they believe this tax will have for everyone involved in the long run. The outcome remains to be seen as the two sides continue to struggle and those who can travel continue driving to more distant locations to purchase their soft drinks at a lower price.

Who is Karl Heideck?

Karl Heideck is a successful and dedicated Philadelphia attorney with many years of experience in risk management and compliance related issues. A member of the Hire Council since 2015, Karl Heideck provides personal consulting for both large and small businesses on the topics of compliance, product liability, and risk management. In addition to being a successful lawyer and personal advisor, Karl Heideck also operates an educational blog designed to inform the public on topics relating to changes in public policy and other legal news that affects Philadelphia area residents.

Karl Heideck earned his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College in 2003 and went on to earn a law degree from Temple University in 2009. For over a decade, he has filled important roles within the legal field and continues to provide his expertise to helping area business owners and residents.

For more information on Karl Heideck and his legal services in Philadelphia, contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

More Articles by Karl Heideck:
Karl Heideck’s Guide to Pennsylvania Employment Law for Small Businesses

Career Spotlight: Litigation with Karl Heideck

Supreme Court Finds Ban on Offensive Trademarks Unconstitutional

On July 31st, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a federal rule that had prohibited any trademarks deemed to be “disparaging.” The court’s ruling was 8-0 in favor of throwing out the prohibition.

The court case, which is being heralded by proponents as a strong win for free speech, originally focused on a Portland, Oregon based band called The Slants. The Asian-American band had been denied a trademark on its name on the basis that the government believed their name to be disparaging towards Asian individuals. In order to challenge that ruling, The Slants’ band members argued that the prohibition against their name was a violation of their guaranteed constitutional rights to free speech under the First Amendment. In their ruling, the Supreme Court agreed.

It is not only The Slants who stand to benefit from the court’s ruling. The ruling will likely prove beneficial for the Redskins, a National Football League team who took their name in the 1930s but have been recently under criticism by Native American activists due to the racial associations of the word “redskins.” In 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the team’s trademarks, citing that they were disparaging to Native Americans. The team’s dispute against the ruling had been put on hold while The Slants’ case was taking place.

Many individuals had comments to offer based on the ruling. The Redskins’ lawyer, Lisa Blatt, commented to Reuters that the ruling would put an end to the “long-standing dispute with the government” that the team had. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were instrumental in filing the legal papers for The Slants, and they cited the ruling as a true victory for The First Amendment. The ACLU was quick to point out that the government was attempting to protect minorities, but had in fact hurt the Asian-American members of the band.

As for the band, frontman Simon Tam has argued that the name was chosen in order to reclaim slurs often given to Asian people by other races. Moreover, Tam has said that the band wore their name as a “badge of pride” against others’ racial hatred. In a released statement, the band has acknowledge that the ruling has bigger consequences far beyond the band, and they encourage the government to recognize the ability of marginalized communities to determine what’s best for their own lives without government interference.

Resource:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-band-idUSKBN19A1YP

Utah Passes Lowest Legal Limit in the United States

The legal limit used to be a .08 in the vast majority of states. That is, a driver is presumed to be a drunk driver if their bodily alcohol content is at or above a .08 per 210 liters of breath. The move to lower the legal limit to a .08 across the country began in the 1980s and continued until nearly all states enacted the limit by the early 2000s.

Now, the State of Utah is taking it a step further. They’ve enacted the lowest legal limit in the country. The .05 legal limit is set to take effect in 2018. Authorities say that a person can be over the legal limit after as few as just two drinks.

Utah lawmakers say that they’re basing the change on recommendations from federal traffic safety experts. They say that data shows a person’s ability to drive is influenced at as low as a .05. Others say that severe alcoholics that can drink to very high bodily alcohol levels are the drivers who cause most of the actual crashes and fatalities, so the law change is inappropriate.

Consumer groups say that they worry about what the law might do for tourism. They worry that large conference groups are likely to look for other locations because of the law. They worry that families and solo travelers might choose other places for personal vacations because of the change.

Lawmakers are reviewing the changes again to see if they want to make any changes before the law goes into effect. One of the things on the table is the possibility of reduced penalties for lower alcohol levels. Lawmakers also say they want to make sure that collateral consequences such as a driver’s license suspension that typically accompanies a conviction are proportional to the crime.

Utah Highway Patrol Capt. Steve Winward says that there are some that benefit from the new law. He says that ride-sharing services have seen a spike in traffic because many already believe the law is in place. He says that this is a sign that the law is helping drivers make responsible choices.

Legislators say the end goal is to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road. They hope to do that in a way that doesn’t unfairly restrict freedoms or unnecessarily punish drivers. However, they say they’re serious about taking steps to make the roads as safe as possible. If there aren’t any changes, the law goes into effect as written in 2018.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio could go to Jail

A federal judge ruled that former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was guilty of criminal contempt earlier this week. Arpaio had once referred to himself as America’s toughest sheriff and was known for his over-the-edge tactics. He served as the Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona for several years. Arpaio was accused of contempt of continuing to do racial profiling by targeting immigrants in patrols. Judge Susan Bolton of the US District Court passed the verdict in court papers that were signed at the start of the week. Bolton noted that Arpaio was aware of the court order and the policy that detained immigrants should be turned over to federal immigration. The evidence that was presented showed that Arpaio had acted in utter disregard of the order. She wrote that he even went as far as making it public that he would continue to target immigrants racially. He had also abdicated his responsibility by refusing to follow the law.

Arpaio is now 85 years-old. Arpaio mounted a defense saying that the order was not clear enough for him and that it was not his intention to violate it. His defense attorney blamed the lawman’s former attorney for failing to represent him adequately. The attorney had failed to seek clarification from the judge or explain the order to the client. The federal prosecutors in the case argued that the defiance was done intentionally. They believed he did this because he felt that he could get away with it. He could be looking at six months in jail if he is found guilty. The sentencing is scheduled to be done in the first week of October.

Jack and Dennis Wilenchik are Arpaio’s attorneys. They said that their client would appeal the verdict in favor of a jury trial. They said that Bolton had violated the Constitution by failing to read the verdict to Arpaio in court. They also believe that the verdict did not reflect the statements that were made by witnesses in the case. They added that a jury would have ruled in his favor, and that is why they are pushing for a jury trial. The former sheriff became involved in court cases when a class action law suit was filed against him for racial discrimination ten years ago. The group of Latinos that filed the lawsuit made allegations that the sheriff’s policies were unconstitutional. Arpaio believes that the investigations by the Justice Department are a witch hunt and hold no value.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/31/us/arpaio-found-guilty/index.html

 

 

Tony Blair Won’t Have To Fear Prosecution Over Iraq War

Officials in the London High Court ruled that Tony Blair shouldn’t be subjected to war crime charges over actions taken in the 2003 Iraq War. Previously, Iraqi general Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat sought to initiate a private war crimes prosecution against Mr. Blair, but that action has now been blocked.

High Court Justices Say Tony Blair Hasn’t Broken Any Laws

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who serves as the lord chief justice of the high court and senior judge, Justice Ouseley, have declared that there was no applicable law under which Tony Blair could be charged. The justices sought a crime of aggression in compliance with Rabbat’s allegations, but nothing could be found.
In their statement, the two justices acknowledged the recent addition of a crime of aggression to international law, but added that there was no clause to allow for applying the law retroactively.

A Chilcot inquiry determined that the 2003 attack on Iraq was unprovoked and undermined the authority of the United Nations. As a result, the inquiry concluded Tony Blair should be prosecuted.

The purpose of that finding was to force former Prime Minister Tony Blair, former foreign secretary Jack Straw, and former attorney general Lord Goldsmith to answer for their actions in a court of law.

Michael Mansfield QC argues that a law against waging a war of aggression has been implied into English law since the 1940s. He explained that the law had been accepted, when then UK attorney general Sir Hartley Shawcross QC used the concept to prosecute Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.
In response, Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC argued that, until recently, the people of England and Wales were unfamiliar with the concept of a war of aggression law. In effect, Mr. Wright says that makes the desire to prosecute Mr. Blair a “hopeless” claim.

While the high court justices did admit that there should be an allowance for the prosecution of the crime of aggression, there currently isn’t a domestic law of that nature. Instead, the high court left it up to the parliament to establish such a law.

Upon hearing this judgment, Imran Khan, solicitor for Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat, said the high court has indirectly granted immunity to English officials.
“As long as it fails to enact legislation which makes the crime of aggression a domestic criminal offense, any leader can act as he/she chooses knowing that whatever action they take, it can be taken with complete impunity,” said Khan.
Meanwhile, other countries, including Kosovo, Germany, and Serbia, have enacted domestic laws governing war of aggression crimes.