This UABA Blog page provides information and commentary on issues that are relevant to the organization and its members. Although the blogs are public, comments can only be made by members. If yoiu wish to join the discussion, you are welcome to become a member.
The comments expressed on these blogs represent the opinions of the authors and not that of the UABA.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday limited the ability of U.S. courts to hear civil lawsuits that allege corporate complicity in human rights atrocities committed abroad, but the justices did not agree on how tightly to shut the door. The justices were unanimous in stopping a case filed by about a dozen Nigerians living in the United States. They allege that a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Petroleum, the parent company of Shell Oil, aided and abetted the Nigerian government in torturing and killing people protesting the company’s operations in the Ogoni region in the 1990s. Washington Post - Legal. Read More.
A federal court Tuesday struck down Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy absent a medical emergency. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law violated a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. “Viability” of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks. Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or even earlier. Several of those bans had previously been placed on hold or struck down by other courts. Washington Post - Legal. Read More.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a First Amendment case involving town board meetings in Greece, N.Y., that include prayer. The Supreme Court granted the cert petition (PDF) on Monday, SCOTUSblog reports. It’s reportedly the first time in three decades that the court has taken a case involving the constitutionality of prayer at the opening of a government meeting. According to the New York Times, since 1999 the Greece town board has started public meetings with prayer. A “chaplain of the month” recites the prayer, and the town maintains that people from all faiths, and atheists, are invited to say an opening prayer. ABA Journal. Read More.
A New York man who rented his apartment for a three-day stay ran afoul of the city’s hotel law, an administrative law judge ruled Monday. Hearings for a similar law are pending in San Francisco, CNET News reports. Both matters involve the website Airbnb, a site that connects travelers and people interested in renting their apartments on a short-term basis. In New York it’s illegal to rent an apartment for less than 29 days, Crain’s New York Business reports, but as of May 2013 about 30,000 New Yorkers were signed up as hosts on the service. ABA Journal. Read More.
Don't say they didn't warn you. The Federal Trade Commission sent letters to more than 90 businesses, informing them that they could potentially be in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act when changes to the law go into effect on July 1. The FTC contacted both domestic and foreign companies making mobile apps that may be directed at children under age 13 about revisions to the privacy rule to "help ensure you are aware of those changes and your compliance responsibilities." The two-page letter, signed by Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, is quick to note that the FTC has "not yet evaluated your apps or your company's practices." Instead, the letter serves more as a heads-up about new standards for personal information collected from children. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.
In late January 2012, authorities in Ukraine shut down one of the most notorious websites in the world for illegally downloading films, television shows, and other intellectual property. Police seized 200 servers and more than 6,000 terabytes of data.
It was hailed as major progress in coping with Ukraine's chronic problems in the area of intellectual-property rights. Yet by February 2, 2012, the website was up and running again, reviving suspicions that the organized-crime groups behind such piracy in Ukraine are protected by highly placed officials. Radio Liberty. Read More.
Ukraine does not pose a migration risk for any of the countries of the European Union, deputy foreign minister of Ukraine Andriy Olefirov told press conference "Ukraine - EU: towards a common future". He recalled that the readmission agreement, signed with the European Union, obliges Ukraine to return its own illegal migrants and those, who enter the EU via Ukraine. "At the stage of the agreement completion, the EU did not have confidence that the Ukrainians would not become potential illegal migrants in the EU. What do we have now? Each year, Ukraine, in accordance with the contract, receives not hundreds of thousands, not thousands, but hundreds of foreign citizens," Olefirov said, adding that out of this amount, only one-two persons are citizens of Ukraine. Forum.UA.com. Read More.
Judges confronted with allegations of racial or ethnic bias among jurors are allowed to investigate the claims, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. The opinion created a new exception to case law historically barring judges from questioning jurors about their process. Whether judges can probe racial or ethnic bias among jurors after a verdict is an issue that's divided federal courts, according to the opinion, which was written by Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby. The three-judge panel found a juror's allegation of racist statements made by another juror wasn't evidence of "extraneous influence" on a verdict – a standard for examining juror behavior – but was still serious enough to raise constitutional concerns. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.
Former North Dakota Attorney General Nicholas Spaeth has lost his age discrimination lawsuit against Georgetown University Law Center. A Washington federal judge ruled yesterday that Georgetown presented non-discriminatory reasons – chiefly, Spaeth's lack of academic scholarship – for rejecting his application for a tenure-track teaching job. After a long career practicing law in government and private practice, Spaeth began pursuing law school teaching posts around 2009. He sued Georgetown and five other schools in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after he failed to get an interview through the Association of American Law Schools faculty recruitment conference in 2010. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.
The thorny question of how to calculate restitution to victims of child pornography came back before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last week, with the U.S. Department of Justice defending a proposed formula. Friday's arguments marked the second time the court considered the case of Michael Monzel. Monzel pleaded guilty to one count each of distribution and possession of child pornography. A trial judge ordered Monzel to pay $5,000 to a victim known by the pseudonym "Amy," but on remand from the D.C. Circuit reduced the award to zero, finding the government didn't produce evidence on how much of Amy's losses he caused. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.