Former Magistrate Denied Reinstatement to Michigan Bar

Nearly a decade after Dennis Mikko lost his bar license and his job as a Michigan court referee, he wants the Michigan State Bar to reinstate him as a practicing attorney. Bar officials denied the request. After a panel review by licensed attorneys, the State Bar of Michigan said that Mikko hasn’t proven that he’s fit to resume practicing law. Mikko appealed the panel’s decision, but officials say the decision is fair.

Mikko was a sitting court referee in Grand Traverse County’s 13th Circuit Court. Officials found inappropriate photos of teenage girls in his office. Mikko said that the images didn’t influence his work. State officials didn’t buy that argument, and they suspended Mikko’s license to practice law. They said the behavior definitely constituted misuse of his position as a court official.

He also fought criminal charges. A judge threw out the charges because he said the photos weren’t criminally offensive. Still, the photos cost Mikko his career.

Mikko used photos of local teenagers along with other lewd photos of teenagers to make a book. He compiled it all into a strange, homemade fiction book of his own making. He also looked at pornography on his work computer and had sexual conversations with a dozen people using his work computer.

After losing his law license, Mikko continued to coach youth soccer. He served a brief suspension, but then local soccer officials reinstated him to referee local games. Mikko says the public shouldn’t worry. Local parents expressed concern that he was working as a referee for youth soccer games, but said they felt powerless to stop it.

Mikko is far from the first Grand Traverse County court official to run into trouble. Judge David Stowe left the bench shortly after his wife’s run-ins with the law. The court declined to remove another sitting family law referee after law enforcement found child pornography on her husband’s computer and marijuana in her home. She continued to make decisions regarding children in Grand Traverse County for years before finally stepping down from her post.

Just in case you thought the 13th Circuit Court has the market cornered on judge misconduct in Grand Traverse County, 86th District Court Judge Thomas Gilbert received a suspension from the bench after getting caught smoking marijuana at a concert. Even so, the District Court isn’t shy about accepting tens of thousands of dollars in grant money with the supposed goal of helping addicts. Citizens charged with a crime in Grand Traverse County can expect to answer to officials in the 86th District and 13th Circuit Courts.

Is Virtual Currency Legislation On Congress’ Agenda?

Based on remarks made recently by Securities and Exchange Chairman Jay Clatyon, the United States Congress may be asked to pass legislation soon that will help regulate various types of virtual currencies, most notably Bitcoin. As these currencies have risen in popularity in recent years, many industry regulators have become concerned about a lack of oversight in this area. These concerns, coupled with recent market losses that have led to Bitcoin losing half its value, have prompted legislators to take a closer look at the issue.

The SEC, working in conjunction with the U.S. Treasury Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is currently examining how new laws regulating virtual currency would impact national and international financial markets. With some banks now refusing to allow customers to use credit cards to purchase Bitcoin, regulators are concerned about such issues as market volatility, investor protections, and the threat of cyber criminals hacking into various virtual currency markets, which could cause chaos in other financial markets.

According to lawmakers, the recent incident involving hackers stealing $530 million from the Japanese bitcoin exchange Coincheck had much to do with the sense of urgency to pass legislation. As the current rules stand, virtual currencies are essentially unregulated, falling into what regulators consider to be cracks that exist between federal and state regulators, the SEC, Treasury Department, and other related agencies.

If legislation is passed on this matter, congressional legislators believe there would be numerous benefits to companies as well as investors. Along with having laws that are much clearer to everyone involved, investors would also have many more protections in place to guard them against cyber thieves. If this occurs, SEC Chairman Clayton and heads of other agencies have said they would be very aggressive in pursuing those who attempt to defraud investors, and would also coordinate efforts with the FBI if there were suspicions of money laundering associated with funding terrorist operations.

According to Chairman Clayton, senators, and other agency heads, if legislation is passed to regulate virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, one concern all agencies will have is funding which will be necessary to hire additional staff. In order to be effective at regulating virtual currencies, the SEC and related agencies will need new personnel to staff trading and markets divisions, cyber crime divisions, and other areas. For additional information on the status of virtual currency legislation, visit Reuters.com.

The Government Shutdown Game is Over for Two Years

Over the past year the United States Congress has played politics with the national operating budget by trying to connect the necessary authorization to other political issues, such as the wall along the Mexico border and extending the DACA program. Both the Democrats and Republicans have apparently realized this is a dangerous game, at least for their careers, and now have averted what President Trump recently said he welcomed.

The needs of the military and the law enforcement community was one of the primary concerns for the agreement according to members of Congress, but there is surely an underlying personal priority in the approval for all congressional members. Unnecessary government workers are commonly off work during a government shutdown, which includes their staffs. The “shutdown” usually merely becomes a short-term suspension from daily operation. Issues such as concerns over North Korea and the renewal of the Iran agreement were also identified.

The fact that 2018 is an election year surely impacted how all Congress members voted, both in the House and Senate, with the House of Representatives approving a budget version first shortly followed by the Senate approval. This means that all members who are running for re-election can claim a victory of sorts on both sides of the aisle. It is surely interesting how both sides of the political duopoly can agree on any measure if it will directly impact their careers, which also leads to the current career politician problem in Washington.

With the manufactured budget crisis behind them, now Congress can focus on doing the people’s work to an extent. If history has taught the U.S citizens anything, it is that the Belt Way operatives always take care of themselves first before any voting decisions are made including what issues will even get a vote. During an election year focus is not so much about ideas in heads as it is about protecting the republican or democrat affiliation of the seat holders, who are ultimately controlled legislative voters.

A two-year budget, which should have been done long ago, will now put Congress back on the regular funding cycle of the government ensuring that pay for all government workers will not be interrupted as well. And, of course, it is in place until the next election cycle of 2020 that will also include a presidential race. Even with the so-called crisis side-stepped and the “can kicking” stopping, it was still vital to develop a time frame where this unnecessary political tool can be used again. The more things change, the more they stay the same in the political power monger game that is Washington D.C.

 

 

 

Nasser Criminal Case Prompting More Investigations

The recent shocking claims by many former United States gymnastics team Olympians against former trainer Dr. Larry Nassar appears it may be just the tip of the iceberg involving what has been happening over the course of the past decade in collegiate gymnastics. The U.S. Olympic Committee has requested an independent third-party to investigate the claims and determine “why this could have gone on for so long” within a sport that utilizes the acrobatic skills of very young and small-frame female athletes. The number of testimonies and the similarity of the accounts have driven much anger among officials and enthusiasts alike, and now New York Sen. Kirsten Gilliland has requested an official U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

The conviction of Nasser has also triggered the resignation of Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon, which is where Dr. Nasser was employed for many years. If the former university president knew about the activity and failed to act, the university could be liable for extensive legal action as well as criminal charges for complicity if other university employees were aware and assisted in the cover up. With the winter Olympics just around the corner, there will assuredly be more focus on the sexual abuse predicament for the female U.S. Gymnastics Team as the games play out this year.

The victims obviously felt powerless to approach authorities concerning Nasser’s actions during his employment tenure, which also prompts questions concerning those in charge who are responsible for Nassar’s criminal behavior. The fact that the university president was the first to resign from a potential list of other officials who were aware of the issue suggests that more resignations and arrests may be forthcoming, especially if the DOJ does as Gilliland requests.

The NCAA infractions committee has also announced they will conduct an official investigation into the claims, but this too could present problems because there are reports that the NCAA president was told in 2010 that the sex abuse cases were actually happening and the university was avoiding addressing the problem.

It is becoming clear that a Department of Justice investigation coming on the heals of the recent shoe company payoffs for certain college player’s families could put an even larger lens on this problem, including the general manner in which the NCAA operates regarding illegal behavior within the collegiate sports industry. Indeed, if the DOJ steps in, the tip of the iceberg may just be emerging.

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/03/politics/gillibrand-usoc-doj-investigation/index.html

End Citizens United Endorses Beto O’Rourke for the Senate

End Citizens United released a poll, and the group found that their candidate Beto O’Rourke is only trailing Senator Ted Cruz by 45-37 percent. According to the Cruz campaign’s polling, Senator Cruz is ahead by 52-34 percent.

End Citizens United’s goal is to end the stranglehold that “Big Money” has on Washington, D.C., and candidate Beto O’Rourke is someone whom the group can support because he refuses to take money that corporate political action committees offer him. People behind End Citizens United have made it their mission to support candidates in this year’s congressional races who repudiate large donations from large corporations.

End Citizens United was created on March 1, 2015 because of the disastrous Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. That decision declared that “corporations are people” and allowed special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on America’s elections without the need for transparency. This made it possible for large donors to have an unreasonable amount of influence on our elections.

End Citizens United Endorses Beto O’Rourke for the Senate
Beto O’Rourke – U.S. Representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district

O’Rourke is currently a congressman from El Paso, and he is the first person that End Citizens United is endorsing this year. He could have also received an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, but he chose not to attend the group’s convention this year, so he lost the endorsement.

This year, Republicans hold 51 of 100 seats in the Senate. Ordinarily, the party that is not in power gains more seats in mid-term elections than the party in power, but it doesn’t look like this will be the case for the Democrat Party this year.

There are 34 elections scheduled for 2018, and the Democrats must defend 24 of them. This includes the two independent seats that caucus with the Democrats, and they are located in states President Donald Trump won in 2016. Republicans need to defend eight of these seats, and one of them is located in Texas, a state that voted for Trump by nine percentage points.

Ted Cruz isn’t being taken seriously by anybody, and Democrats now have hope because a Democrat won the Alabama election in December against a Republican candidate who was plagued by scandal.

In the End Citizens United poll, 38 percent of voters were in favor of Cruz, but 49 were not. Unfortunately, 61 percent of those polled had never heard O’Rourke’s name before. Only 20 percent of the voters were in favor of him, and 19 percent were not.

When asked whether they would support a candidate who vowed never to take large donations from corporate entities, 63 percent of respondents said that they would support the candidate. After respondents heard that O’Rourke stated that he would never accept money from corporate entities, he tied with Cruz at 43-41 percent.

Beto O’Rourke has said that he wants most of his donations to come from the state of Texas. He doesn’t particularly want Super Political Action Committees to contribute to his campaign.

End Citizens United is a political action committee that wants to encourage campaign finance reform, and it wants to do this by helping candidates get elected who propose to support legislation that will change the way that campaigns are financed. ECU obtains a majority of its donations from small donors. In fact, the average donation is just $14.

Last election cycle, the group raised $25 million for the candidates it supported, but this year, it planned to raise $35 million to support challengers in the “Big Money 20” races this year. The Big Money 20 is senators and representatives who accept money from large corporate donors and special interest groups. In Texas, the group received donations from 157,000 people. Most of Ted Cruz’s donors are also from Texas, and these supporters donated $5.7 million to his campaign. In contrast, O’Rourke only received $2.9 million.

Learn More: Democratic PAC End Citizens United names ‘Big Money 20’ targets for 2018

In 2009, a Public Policy Polling survey showed that U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison had 56 percent of the vote and that Governor Rick Perry only had 31 percent. A report by Rasmussen showed very different results. In the Rasmussen poll, Perry had 56 percent of the vote while Hutchison had 36 percent, and he went on to win the contest. Public Policy Polling has done another poll, and experts are taking the results with a grain of salt. The poll has O’Rourke behind Cruz by eight points, but these results are similar to the results obtained by other surveys.

ECU paid for the poll, and the questions were worded in such a way so that Beto O’Rourke would be favored, but he only beat Cruz by two points. None of the other polls are indicating that O’Rourke has a chance of beating Cruz. However, Cruz is not seen favorably by the voters, and it is believed that he could lose because of his prior loss during the 2016 primary race for President of the United States.

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund also announced its support for Beto O’Rourke.

Attorney’s Bill Amounts to Racketeering

When is an attorney’s litigation tactic so outrageous that it’s criminal? One jury said that an attorney made the litigation so costly to the other client that it amounted to civil racketeering. They say the attorney made the custody matter unreasonably long and expensive. They said that it was unfair and even criminal that the attorney took advantage of his position as an attorney in order to make litigation costly. In addition to damages, the jury awarded the victim special damages totaling $243,000.

The attorney, Millard Farmer, represented the victim’s ex-wife in a custody matter. The victim is the opposing party, the ex-spouse and father involved in the case. The jury said that Farmer used his position in order to stir up conflict.

Rather than simply represent his client and work towards a resolution of the case, the attorney tried to keep the litigation going and make it expensive in order to force the other side to give in. Accusers say that Farmer even had a word for it – conflictineering. They say that stirring up conflict was Farmer’s litigation tactic. Farmer said the tactic was fair, and that he was only trying to expose the other side’s immorality.

In addition to trying to keep the litigation going as an offensive strategy, the attorney also allegedly tried to bribe a judge. Court records say he also tried intimidating a court officer. Allegedly, the attorney filed court motions against the court recorder involved in the case. He then promised the court recorder that he’d dismiss the case against her if she got the judge to resign from the case.

Authorities say that he also tried to anger witnesses. He made accusations against them that weren’t founded and threatened to sue them if they didn’t do what he wanted. In at least one case, he made an unfounded complaint against a witnesses’ professional license. He allegedly made false statements against the opposing party and his wife that he knew would likely hurt their professional reputations.

Farmer maintains his innocence. He says that he was just doing his job in order to represent his client. He said the racketeering charge was retaliation because he did his job representing his client. He said he took the case pro bono because it was unfair that the other party had so much money to spend on the case. Officials say they offered to drop the racketeering charge if Farmer agreed to resign his law license, and he refused.

Laura Wasser Reveals Top Reason That Celebrities Get Divorced

Many people do not care when celebrities decide to end their marriage. It happens so often that many people do not pay attention to it. However, many people are curious to know about what will happen after they get divorced. They want also want to know what caused the divorce.

Many people would be surprised to know that celebrities are not that different from us. Laura Wesser is an attorney whose practices focuses on family law. She has represented Jennifer Garner, Kim Kardashian and Angelina Jolie in divorce court. She stated that the top reason that celebrities get divorced is because they grow apart.

On people.com, Laura stated that celebrities do not always admit this, but this is the top reason that people split up. Money problems and adulterous affairs are some of the things that contribute to divorce. However, the underlying cause is that the couple is no longer on the same page.

Laura stated that the natural evolution of the couple is the reason that they grow apart. In many cases, a breakdown in communication is one of the reasons that couples split up. She stated that in order to maintain a successful relationship, you have to communicate with your partner.

Laura stated that even if you do not have a prenuptial agreement, there are things that you need to discuss with your partner. What religion will my children have? Will your parents live with us when they get old? When will we retire? Are you going to go back to work after having children? Will my children go to private or public school? Those are important things for people to discuss.

Laura also has advice for people who are going through a divorce. She stated that you should look at divorce as a business relationship. You have to leave the emotions out of it. You also have to figure out what is best for the both of you.

Federal Judge Strongly Admonished Florida Governor Over Voting Rights

United States District Judge Mark Walker issued a very strong opinion against Florida Governor Rick Scott and his insistence upon maintaining an Office of Executive Clemency that decides whether convicted felons should be allowed to vote. Judge Walker was very clear and firm in his opinion, which he construed as a violation of the First and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.

Florida is one of four states that do not allow convicted felons to exercise their right to vote after being released from prison unless they go through a restoration process. In general, those who are incarcerated are not allowed to participate in elections; however, 46 states restore this right as soon as a sentence is completed. In Virginia, Kentucky and Iowa, this process consists of an application and confirmation; in Florida, however, the Office of Executive Clemency is known to drag cases along for years and issue very few approvals, thereby infringing upon the rights of individuals to participate in the democratic process.

Judge Walker described the process in Florida as a nonsensical and onerous exercise in disenfranchisement. One of the salient issues in this process is that the Office of the Governor has veto power, which is routinely applied, which has prevented hundreds of thousands of people from voting over many decades. The judge has looked at the way that Florida officials conduct the process, and he described it as extremely unconstitutional.

As of 2018, more than a million residents of Florida are not allowed to vote, and in some cases they are not allowed to hold certain professional licenses in the notarial, real estate, mortgage, and finance fields.

In meetings convened to review clemency cases, Governor Scott has stated to the panel that they can do anything that they wanted with regard to review and approval of applications; this display of arbitrary behavior did not sit well with Judge Walker, particularly when at another meeting the Governor approved an application from a former felon who admitted to have skirted the process to vote for Scott in 2010.

A spokesman for Governor Scott suggested that an appeal may be in the works, but legal analysts believe that such a move may not get too far in appellate court and it will certainly fizzle out before the U.S. Supreme Court should the Florida Attorney General decide to continue fighting. Voting rights advocates are closely watching this case and may sue the state if it does not acknowledge the opinion of Judge Walker.

Attorney Laura Wesser Shares Her Craziest Breakup Story

Laura Wesser is a 49-year-old divorce attorney. She had worked with several celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Garner and Brittney Spears. She had also handled a lot of divorce drama including fights and water glasses being thrown. Laura has also created her own website called itsovereasy. This website is focused on helping people get over their divorce.

Laura also shared the details of the craziest divorce she has ever had to deal with. There was a divorcing couple whose children were all grown. However, they shared a cat. After the couple split up, the wife moved into a lavish condo. When the couple split up, they shared custody of the cat. The cat spent was with the mom for three days. After that, it was with the dad for three days.

However, things changed when the mom started dating again. The husband was obviously not happy about the wife having a new boyfriend. The ex-husband gave the cat a laxative, and it ended up having diarrhea. Laura she stated that she felt bad for the cat. She also stated that she now understands why the wife left the husband.

One of the reasons that Laura is a sought-after attorney is because she tries to make it easier for people to go through a divorce. Her goal is to keep the divorce out of court and help it go smoothly. Additionally, mediation is the preferred way to handle a divorce. Laura said that mediation makes sense because it saves time and money.

Laura hopes that the tips she has on her website will make her job easier. She stated that people date online, shop online and bank online. It just makes sense for them to go online to look for legal advice. Laura’s website also guides people through the legal steps involved in getting a divorce.

 

Amongst Sexual Abuse Allegations, Harvey Weinstein’s Former Assistant Files Suit

Harvey Weinstein is an American Oscar-winning film producer best known for movies like Shakespeare in Love, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Gangs of New York. In late October 2017, multiple women began coming forward accusing Weinstein of sexual abuse. The allegations have gotten so extensive that there are now over 90 women claiming Weinstein has sexually abused or harassed them in some manner. As a result, Weinstein is facing several lawsuits (Pumphrey, 2018).

On January 25th 2018, Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant, Sandeep Rehal, filed her own sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Her lawsuit claims that she was forced to work for over 2 years “…in a pervasive and severe sexually hostile work environment…” that was “…defined by endless offensive, degrading, and sexually harassing actions, statements, and touching at the hands of her boss, Harvey Weinstein,” (Rehal vs Weinstein et. al, 2018).

The claims in the lawsuit are extended through not only Weinstein, but also through to his company, his company’s head of human resources and his brother. Rehal claims that Weinstein’s inappropriate sexual behavior towards her and other women was common knowledge throughout the company including management. She also claims that his brother, Robert Weinstein, aided and abetted Harvey Weinstein’s creation of a sexually hostile work environment (Rehal vs Weinstein et. al, 2018). The lawsuit goes on to claim that Rehal was required in her job duties to prep for and clean up after Weinstein’s sexual encounters, take weekly dictation of emails from him while he was nude, and endure a myriad of inappropriate touching instances where he would rub her thighs and butt or press himself against her. She was also instructed to maintain his supply of Caverject injections for his erectile dysfunction.

As a result of enduring this sexually hostile work environment, Rehal claims that she has suffered and is still suffering from severe emotional distress, depression, anxiety, humiliation and loss of self-esteem (Rolling Stone, 2018).

Weinstein’s Lawyer To McGowan: “A Bold Lie”

One of Weinstein’s lawyers has called the actress accusing him of rape a liar. Rose McGowan had recently come forward with these rape accusations against Harvey Weinstein, a former producer in Hollywood. His attorney wrote in a recent statement that McGowan is lying and only trying to ruin his name to promote her own new book called “Brave.”

In her book, McGowan says she details all of the allegations against the former producer that she recently made. However, she did say that she doesn’t name him specifically in her new memoir. In the book she notes that the “producer” had forced himself on her during a business meeting they were having during the Sundance Film Festival back in 1997. In exchange for not pursuing legal action, Weinstein and McGowan had reached a settlement in the amount of $100,000. After some time, The New Yorker had obtained a copy of the settlement and released it.

This turned out the be just the beginning of what many are referring to as the “Harvey Weinstein Scandal.” After her accusation, many more women started to come out with their own accusations against the former producer. This eventually sparked the popular movements of “Time’s Up” and “#MeToo.” Aside from the victims themselves coming out, other women started to come out to support those who have had the courage to speak up against the sexual abuse and harassment from Weinstein and other actors and producers as well.

During the Golden Globes recently, many attendees wore black in their support of banding together for anyone who has found themselves being a victim of sexual misconduct. During the Grammy Awards, attendees wore white roses with their outfits to show the same support for the movements.

In the statement from Weinstein’s attorney, he stated that himself and the other lawyers who are representing Harvey are all refraining from publicly criticizing any of the women who are coming out with these allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Weinstein. This is in spite of the fact that they claim to have a lot of evidence that would fully demonstrate that these claims are all completely false.

The lawyer also states that they have two other witnesses that can corroborate with Weinstein’s position on the false accusations. The statement had been released through a crisis management firm called Sitrick & Company. The statement also includes many photographs of both McGowan and Weinstein looking very cordial with each other during an industry event that took place back in 2005. Late Tuesday evening, McGowan had ultimately decided to call Weinstein out by name. She had originally refused to do so and changed her mind.

Legal-related news article for our website

NERA, a global consulting firm of economic experts who study, report, strategize, and provide recommendations on economic and financial issues, has been analyzing trends in securities class action lawsuits for almost three decades. The New York-based firm issued its 25th annual report on securities class action litigation, where they found a decrease in settlement money amongst higher levels of lawsuits.

NERA’s “Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2017 Full-Year Review” found that the settlement value of U.S. class action lawsuits making accusations of fraud and other securities law violations has tremendously declined. On the other hand, the number of the lawsuits being filed has skyrocketed to over one per day in the U.S.

Previous 2016 data showed 300 shareholder lawsuits involving accusations against a company for concealing negative news or making misleading or false statements. This number rose 44% in 2017, which is the highest it’s been since the 1995 Private Securities Litigation Reform Act took affect to curb frivolous lawsuits. Almost 200 of the lawsuits were in regard to objectionable mergers, which was double the number from last year.

The number of pending federal cases in 2017 was up 41% from 2011 and 12% from 2016. However, case resolution was also record-breaking, with a 40% dismissal rate and 30% settlement rate.

Settlements not related to merger cases rose from 113 the year before to 148 this year. However, the average settlement was under $25 million a piece. Last year the number of dismissals was 146. This year it’s a record 205.

Brian Lutz, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, told Reuters that the increase may be due to what he calls “smaller cases” that are lacking in quality. Many of these lawsuits lack sufficient evidence and are either settled for pennies on the dollar or dismissed entirely.

There were 195 traditional securities class actions in 2016, 44 of which were companies outside the U.S. This year that number was 216, with 55 being non-U.S. companies. NERA points out that these lawsuits often followed regulatory probes or weak financial showings.

Attorney fees and expenses for plaintiffs in such lawsuits dropped almost 70% to $467 million, which was a number not seen so low since 2004.

The largest settlement ever remains the 2006 Enron Corp collapse settlement of $7.2 billion. The largest settlement last year was $210 million over Salix Pharmaceuticals misrepresenting inventory levels. NERA noted that 2017 was the first in almost twenty years that didn’t have a settlement of $250 million or more.

Equality Debate Rages as Transgender Student Denied Locker Room Access

The debate about gender equality and educational rights continues as an Illinois judge ruled that a Chicago transgender student can’t have open access to use the girl’s locker room at school. Instead, the student has to use a private area for changing inside the locker room. Judge Thomas Allen of Cook County heard the case.

The student attends Palatine High School. Her lawyers asked for a preliminary injunction in the case that would permit the student full use of the locker room until the case could be heard for a final decision. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed the lawsuit on the student’s behalf. The judge says that there’s no need for a preliminary injunction, because there’s no irreparable harm in waiting for a decision at the end of the case.

The Chicago case is one of a number of cases that have emerged challenging gender equality in education. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded policies that Barack Obama’s administration put in place regarding transgender students in schools. In the Chicago case, school district policy allows transgender students to use the locker room of the gender they prefer. However, the policy also requires transgender students to use a separate, private changing area.

The transgender student says that they only want to be “accepted.” The student says she’s insisting only on equal treatment compared to others at her school. She says that having to use a private changing area makes her late to class and even hurts her grade. She says when she’s accepted for who she is, her grades improve and she’s happier.

The school superintendent says that it’s a tough issue. He says that they want to provide access for all students based on gender identity. They also want to protect the privacy of all of their students. The superintendent says that they have to balance both issues. They say asking transgender students to use private changing stalls is the correct balance for everyone involved.

Gender equity groups say it amounts to discrimination. They say they aren’t asking for male students to have unrestricted access to the girl’s locker room. They say they’re only asking for everyone who identifies as female to have the same access. If the transgender student has to use a private changing area, they say, all students should have to change in private areas. Equality groups say that they’re still considering what to do in light of the judge’s decision.

Court Says Immigrant Child Has No Right to Legal Counsel in Hearings

On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that a child of a parent who is living in the United States illegally has no constitutional right to a court-appointed counsel in an immigration hearing.

The ruling upheld the deportation proceedings against a boy from Honduras, who along with his mother had come to America as a 13 year old in 2014, in order to flee gang violence in his homeland. During the deportation hearing in immigration court the boy had no legal counsel.

The three-judge 9th Circuit Court panel said that extending the right for a free-of-charge court-appointed counsel to accompanied immigrant minors would require an act of Congress.

While defendants in criminal cases have long had a constitutionally guaranteed right to an court-appointed lawyer, as a general rule the same does not apply for defendants in deportation proceedings, regardless of their age or other circumstances. But supporters of immigrant rights strongly believe that there should be an exception for young children.

Ahilan Arulanantham, who is not only representing the boy but who is also the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, has said that he will request a review of the court’s ruling. He further said that the decision means that defenseless and vulnerable children would have to go up against highly trained government attorneys in immigration hearings, and that this would lead to the deportation of countless children to dangerous countries.

What the Circuit Court panel didn’t say in their “narrow” ruling is whether an unaccompanied immigrant child would have a right to a court-appointed attorney in an immigration hearing. Judge John Owens, who is on the panel and who ruled against the boy, said that if such a case came before the panel, the panel might rule differently.

The U.S. Department of Justice has yet to comment on the ruling, which has come just as the Trump Administration is attempting to make changes to deportation proceedings, so as to speed them up.

 

 

President Trump Gives Dreamers a Path to Citizenship and Asks for Change to Immigration Policy

President Trump is extending a welcoming hand to the 1.8 million youngsters currently classified as illegal immigrants. At the same time, President Trump is also calling on the Department of Homeland Security and Congressmen from both sides of the aisle to get tough on legal immigration programs. For the past year, Trump has been hammering on the idea that immigration should be merit-based and not simply a lottery.

Dreamers are technically children who were brought to the United States illegally. President Obama had a policy of deferred action, hence DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Under President Obama, dreamers were protected against the threat of deportation. Some Republicans factions viewed President Obama’s ostensibly compassionate move to bar mass deportations through the cynical lens of Obama trying to score more votes for Democrats.

President Trump’s recent dealmaking gambit comes to serious concessions from Democrats, though. The Democratic Party led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer conceded a few things in order to put a stay on deportation for millions of dreamers. Among the concessions were a requirement that would mean a sharp reduction in family sponsorship of immigrants and much more robust border security.

The latter may not be as controversial as previously thought since many Democrats concede that something needs to be done about our porous Southern border with Mexico. Democrats have been loathe to grant President Trump his campaign promise of a border wall because of logistical problems with implementation and the high cost of erecting a thirty-foot high wall spanning over 2,000 miles on the United States’ Southern border.

Surprisingly, both Democratic-leaning pro-immigration factions and conservative groups howled at the outcome of Trump’s dealmaking. Both sides averred that the concessions made across the aisle were antithetical to ideological principles. The Democratic-leaning groups say that the deal is a poor quid pro quo because of what it portends for the immigration system moving forward while right-leaning groups say that the current deal brokered between Democrats and Republicans is nothing more than amnesty for immigrants here illegally.

Congressman Lujan Grisham, head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, argued that dreamers are now being used as bargaining chips and a means for fulfilling Trump’s campaign promise to shore up support for American workers. The sweeping immigration reform brokered between Democrats and Republicans is set to come up for vote in a few weeks. Nine Democratic votes are needed to pass the measure.