Last night we tuned into a very interesting (albeit somewhat depressing) conference call, Staying Competitive During an Economic Downturn, sponsored by the National LGBT Bar Association. Three experts provided their thoughts on the current legal job market and advice for navigating it:
Robert Depew. A Managing Director in Major, Lindsey & Africa’s San Francisco office, Depew helps lawyers evaluate career alternatives and places attorneys at top tier law firms and select in-house positions in the Bay Area.
Christopher LaFon. As director of recruiting at Kelly Law Registry, one of the nation’s largest job placement firms, LaFon builds careers and aids in career transitions for attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals.
James Leipold. The Executive Director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), Leipold helms the legal profession’s leading association dedicated to research, education and career development.
When will the legal economy return to normal? What can laid-off lawyers do while they wait for recovery? Is there any hope, for any of us?
Find out the views of the experts, after the jump.
The AP is reporting that the New Hampshire state legislature has passed a gay marriage law that the governor will likely sign:
Gov. John Lynch is expected to sign [the proposed legislation] into law later Wednesday. It would make New Hampshire the sixth state to allow gays to marry. The bill would expand religious protections that Lynch says are needed to win his signature.
Lynch said he would veto gay marriage if the law didn’t clearly spell out that churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate or provide other services.
So, soon you can add New Hampshire to the list of states that allow gay marriage. The current members are: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa.
Is there a warm weather state willing to take the plunge? C’mon Florida. C’mon moderate Governor Charlie Crist. You know you want to. Update: Okay, so Florida has a constitutional amendment explicitly prohibiting gay marriage. Can anyone nominate a different warm weather state? Somehow I don’t think Mississippi will be leading the charge here. New Hampshire Legislature advances gay marriage [AP]
Reports have circulated that two gay students at Washington and Lee University’s School of Law in Lexington, Va., were attacked in separate incidents late last month.
Brian Dunkel, 27, was attacked by another law school student on his way home on the morning of March 25, according to Lexington police reports….
Dunkel, who filed the report, was walking to his home on Main Street and was jumped from behind by Todd Harper Lindsey, 26, who put him in a chokehold and wrestled him to the ground, police said. Dunkel was able to get away unharmed.
A separate student claimed that she was subjected to anti-gay slurs at the same party Dunkel attended before he was jumped. The students alleged that Washington & Lee administrators were “unresponsive” to the problems of gay students.
Such problems may persist to the present. Today, Washington & Lee law school dean Rodney A. Smolla sent an email to the entire law school community about complaints of “verbal misconduct,” allegedly directed against minorities, that were raised this past semester.
Details after the jump.
The California Supreme Court might have upheld Proposition 8, but those who are trying to use the courts to promulgate a notion of fundamental fairness for gays and lesbians are not done. In fact, the battle has just begun:
In a bold move that takes a new approach to achieving marriage equality, two attorneys who argued opposing sides of the 2000 Bush v. Gore lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court have filed a challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court, …
Theodore B. Olson, the U.S. solicitor general from 2001 to 2004 under President George W. Bush, and David Boies, a high-profile trial lawyer who argued on behalf of former vice president Al Gore, filed the suit May 22 in U.S. district court on behalf of two California gay couples
This is like Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto joining forces to stop the federal government, only if the movie was any good.
But will it work? ABC News has this quote from Mr. Olson:
Olson said that recent US Supreme Court rulings “make it clear that individuals are entitled to be treated equally under the Constitution. I’m reasonably confident that this is the right time for these [injustices] to be vindicated.”
In about 15 minutes or so, the California Supreme Court will issue its decision in three cases challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state. The decision will be posted on the court’s website at 10 a.m. Pacific time (or 1 p.m. Eastern time). We’re putting up this post now, to get the discussion going, and then we’ll update once the decision comes in. Update (1:10 PM): The court’s website is still down, but there’s this from the San Francisco Chronicle: “The California Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8 by a 6-1 vote but ruled that the same sex marriages performed last year can stand.” Update (1:15 PM): The Los Angeles Times has this write-up, which notes:
The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8′s ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law.
The decision virtually ensures another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gays. Gay rights activists say they may ask voters to repeal the marriage ban as early as next year, and opponents have pledged to fight any such effort. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote.
Although the court split 6-1 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the justices were unanimous in deciding to keep intact the marriages of as many as 18,000 gay couples who exchanged vows before the election. The marriages began last June, after a 4-3 state high court ruling striking down the marriage ban last May….
Only Justice Carlos R. Moreno, the court’s sole Democrat, wanted Proposition 8 struck down as an illegal constitutional revision.
So much for Justice Moreno as a possible U.S. Supreme Court justice (although, having missed out on the Souter seat, he’ll probably be too old anyway when the next vacancy comes up). Update (1:20 PM): Here is a link to the court’s opinion (PDF).
Background and links about the case, after the jump.
The state of New Jersey has reached a settlement with the popular online dating website, eHarmony. Under the settlement, eHarmony agrees to provide its proprietary online matching service to same sex singles.
In return, the state of New Jersey will not pursue a civil rights action against eHarmony that the state would surely win:
The company also agrees to ensure that same-sex users are matched via the same or equivalent technology as that used for heterosexual match-seekers, agrees to charge same-sex users the same fees, and agrees to offer the same service quality and terms of service as heterosexuals.
Unless somebody wants to argue that eHarmony is a religious institution, I think the law is pretty clear on this one.
More information about the settlement after the jump.
Thanks to the voters of California, we now live in a time where previously granted rights can be snatched away from law abiding citizens on the strength of majoritarian domination.
If you didn’t think that was going to spark a whole bunch of legal arguments (on both sides of the issue), you’ve never been oppressed by an otherwise “free” society.
So, let’s take a look at all the crazy things dribbling out of California right now. For my money, here’s the most ludicrous argument:
If opposition to same-sex marriage is to be understood as pure bigotry, then no accommodation for religious believers will be made. This is what people have got to understand is at stake in this conflict. It is not a scare tactic, or a made-up charge: there really will be a substantial effect on traditional churches, synagogues, mosques and religious institutions if gay marriage is constitutionalized.
As usual, the argument ends there. People like to talk about the “substantial effect” on religious institutions, without naming one concrete effect. See, in this country, we have civil marriages and religious marriages. I’ve yet to talk to a supporter of gay marriage who wants to the state to force a priest or a reverend or a rabbi to perform a gay marriage in a house of worship. Heck, in the Catholic church at least, you can’t get straight-married by a priest in a church unless you submit yourself to hours of religious indoctrination and lie about your relationship with contraceptives.
(Christ, did I just say that out loud? Now I have to go to confessional again before Christmas. Damnit.)
Nobody is going to mess with the right of religious people to “not condone the gay lifestyle.” America reads you loud and clear. You’re not gay, you have a huge penis, and that one time in college you were just really drunk. The private feelings of religious people towards gay people are strictly between religious people and their Jesus (who preached a lot about love and tolerance, but whatever).
The impact of gay marriage on the 1st Amendment is nil. As many (many, many) people have pointed out: if you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get gay married. Thank God we have an entire constitutional amendment that allows churches to marry whomever the hell they want to without interference from the state. It’s a good thing that all gay rights advocates want is for gays and lesbians to have a legal bond commensurate with what straight people can achieve on a pirate ship.
Okay, but the 1st Amendment argument against gay marriage is a total red herring. After the jump, California drags us into some more complicated legal issues.
California may have let pesky voters take away the rights of gays and lesbians to have state marriages, but clearly Connecticut wants no part of “National Lampoon’s Mystic Vacation: Meet Mr. & Mr. Griswold.”
Last month, we reported that the Connecticut high court upheld gay marriage. Today, a New Haven Superior Court judge ruled that gay couples could come pick up their marriage licenses:
“Today is historic legally and culturally and socially,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who was attending the hearing. “My office vigorously defended state law, including the civil unions statute, but we have to put aside our past positions and personal opinions to make sure the law is vigorously enforced and defended and the court’s decision is implemented as smoothly as possible.”
New Haven and judicial fiat. Some things just belong together.
Meanwhile, back in LaLa Land, 52.5% of voters mumbled something about an activist God before Connecticut jurists stopped listening.
Welcome to Connecticut: home to the WWE, ESPN, and Gay Marriage.
The Christian Legal Society had their big conference in Washington, DC, but not all of the participants walked away feeling good about the direction of the organization. One tipster reports:
I attended the CLS conference in Washington and was surprised and disappointed by its focus on the culture wars. The law student portion of the conference turned out to be two things. 1. It was a pity party for how Christian groups are so oppressed. (Right, because Jesus’ disciples thought following him was the ticket to getting on Law Review and SBA. Ummm. See Acts 1:1-28:30.) 2. The focus was an “us against them” rallying cry back to the culture war. There was much talk about the “Membership Statement of Faith and Sexual Morality Standards” that CLS chapter board members apparently have to sign, but nothing about compassion and caring that is supposed to mark Christians. See Matthew 25:35-46. At least for those of us who walked out in disgust, it was a very sad thing to witness.
In a follow up email sent yesterday, the Director of the Center for Law & Religious Freedom Christian Legal Society emphasized CLS’s “non-discrimination” policies:
As you will recall, I made a short presentation during the NSLC on Saturday afternoon. I distributed hard copies of the Q&A we prepared regarding the application of nondiscrimination policies to CLS law school chapters. For your convenience, I’ve attached an electronic copy to this email. …
Are you having any difficulties on your campus? Does your law school forbid student groups — even religious ones like CLS — from “discriminating” on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or gender identity?
Please let me know. I’d very much appreciate hearing from you. And please let me know if there is anything that the CLS Center can do to serve you.
Blessings in Christ.
How the Christian Legal Society interprets anti-discrimination after the jump.
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The Trust Women conference is an influential gathering that brings together global corporations, lawyers and pioneers in the field of women’s rights. Unlike many other events, Trust Women delegates take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women to know and defend their rights.
This year, the Trust Women conference will take place 18-19 November in London. From women’s economic empowerment to slavery in the supply chain and child labour, this year’s agenda is strong and powerful. Speakers include Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking and many other influential leaders. Find out more about Trust Women here.