Racism

Last week, I really got my hopes up that something legally interesting would come out of the Paula Deen fiasco. Deen is being sued by a white lady, Lisa Jackson, for sexual harassment and racial discrimination. That lawsuit led to Deen’s disastrous deposition, which so far has cost Deen her show and sponsors.

After the deposition, which her lawyers foolishly allowed her to give, Deen’s lawyers moved to have the case dismissed for lack of standing. They’re arguing that Jackson has no standing to claim racial discrimination because Jackson is white and Deen allegedly said horrible things only about non-whites.

That’s the kind of interesting legal argument one might make before a damaging deposition wrecks your client’s reputation.

And that might be why Deen’s former lawyers will no longer have the opportunity to make it…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paula Deen Finally Gets Some Real Lawyers”

What if this the last ‘reasonable man’ you ever saw?

Like many Americans, I’ve spent the last 24 hours seriously considering the physical and scientific evidence available to support or refute the contentions being made in one of the greatest television events of our time. I’m talking, of course, about Sharknado. Would a tornado carry sharks miles inland, and could those sharks be stopped by a chainsaw-wielding Ian Ziering?

Of course, if they had hired a black actor to kill great white sharks, he’d be on trial for murder now.

Based on our traffic numbers, a lot of you want to talk about the George Zimmerman trial. As closing arguments wrap up today and the case goes to the jury, let’s talk about the legal standards in play. What will the jury actually be trying to decide? We’re talking about the legal standards in Florida, so you know it’s going to be interesting…

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Target’s idea of a Mexican employee.

I just got back from visiting my family in Indiana. While I was out there, I was reminded that while “Naptown” is actually fairly diverse in terms of color, it’s shockingly devoid of religious diversity. There aren’t a lot of Jews in Indianapolis. When I lived in Indy (for 13 months and nine days… not that I was counting), it struck me that people would believe pretty much any Eric Cartman-level stereotype about Jewish people. They all wore pouches with gold coins around their necks? Why not! My classmates would believe almost anything I said about Jewish people — since I was from New York, which is apparently a Zionist capital city. (They’d also believe almost anything I said about living in New York, like “there are underground cites in the subway tunnels” and “radiation levels are higher” there.)

So, here’s a question: would it have been “offensive” if my high school had “Jewish sensitivity day,” and class was all about dispelling really stupid and offensive myths about Jewish people? “Here, class, is a Jewish-American. As we can clearly see, there are no hooves or horns.”

Now, I think the answer to my question is, “Yes! Clearly! It would have been horribly offensive.” But on the other hand, people can be really, really stupid about cultures they haven’t been exposed to.

This question is going to face a California court thanks to a discrimination lawsuit filed by three Hispanic employees at Target. The employees claim, and Target admits, to keeping a list of “minority tips” that’s crazy offensive. But I don’t know, depending on how dumb the white people were that worked at Target, maybe they needed this kind of remedial help?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit Claims Target’s Sensitivity Training Is Just As Racist As Target’s Regular Behavior”

Target: No, just no.

* Thanks to the slow transactional markets in Western Europe, Magic Circle firms like Allen & Overy, Linklaters, and Clifford Chance are struggling to pull a rabbit out of a hat in terms of gross revenue and profits. [Am Law Daily]

* If at first you don’t succeed because of John Ashcroft, try, try again. Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ronnie White is once again being considered for the federal bench in St. Louis. Good luck! [Missouri Lawyers Weekly]

* In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to murder charges. He’s looking at life in prison or the death penalty. [Bloomberg]

* Target, if you’re wondering why you’re getting sued, it’s because of this alleged memo explaining that not all Hispanic employees eat tacos, dance to salsa, and wear sombreros. [Huffington Post]

* “Please don’t be hung” is a solemn prayer that’s only useful to a woman whose case is on re-trial. Ex-Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones’s defamation suit was sent to the jury. [Associated Press]

If you want to see something really racist, check out what her lawyers are saying.

Look, I think the Paula Deen controversy is more theater than news. The only people who need the information that there are still white people in the South who are horribly racist are John Roberts and his band of conservatives. Deen is awful, but I don’t have a lot of spare outrage to waste on a television fry cook.

There is, however, a really interesting and novel legal argument being launched by Paula Deen and her attorneys. I think the argument is arguably just as racist as anything Deen actually said, but that doesn’t mean it’s legally incorrect. Deen’s lawyers are saying that white people, namely the white plaintiff suing Paula Deen, don’t have standing to claim a “hostile work environment” if all Deen did was run around saying awful things about non-whites.

And her lawyers are now using the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, as the basis for their objections…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paula Deen’s New Argument Seems To Be That White People Are Immune To Racism”

Billionaires can get away with a lot because they’re billionaires and can get pretty much whatever they want at any given moment. Except childhood sleds.

Couple billions of dollars with running an eight million person personal fiefdom, and it’s not surprising that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has developed an unhealthy disrespect for any other authority.

Unfortunately for him, there are higher authorities in this world, and Bloomberg may have finally done enough to get the public spanking he’s been courting.

Friday afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg walked once again into the thresher maw that is the legal quagmire of his “stop and frisk” program by declaring that the program, criticized as racial profiling writ large, “stops too many whites.”

Well, Bloomberg is probably right. The program does stop too many whites…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mike Bloomberg Is Right, NYPD Does Stop and Frisk Too Many Whites”

If I’m ever euthanized, it hope it’s as gentle as the way Chief Justice John Roberts put down the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance requirement.

Not the whole act, mind you. The prohibition on any “standard, practice, or procedure” that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color” is still constitutionally permissible. And folks can sue to enforce that.

But the preclearance requbirement is now effectively gone. That’s the rule that the federal government has to approve changes to voting laws in certain jurisdictions that haven’t been so great about race – in that folks registering black people to vote had been murdered in there, or, they’d had really bad records of African-American voter turnout in the past.

Strictly speaking, the preclearance requirement is not gone — it just no longer applies to any jurisdiction in the country any longer. The Court invalidated the method by which it is determined which jurisdictions are subject to preclearance, rather than preclearance itself. So, now no jurisdiction is subject to preclearance — the preclearance formula is gone.

Many people who are concerned about whether black people are allowed to vote think that the preclearance requirement has been an important tool to make sure black people enjoy the right to vote.

Including, it seems, the Chief Justice himself….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Chief Justice Kills Part Of The Voting Rights Act With Kindness (And A Majority Opinion Saying It Is Unconstitutional)”

The liberator… of the South.

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, the South is free at last.

After, man, like decades of having to deal with suspicion and preclearance, man, just because of its 400 year history of slavery and segregation, Chief Justice Roberts held Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional. Section 4 is the section that outlines which states should be covered for “preclearance” by the federal government before they can change their voting laws. Overruling it overturns one of the biggest and most effective weapons against the Jim Crow South.

Section 5, which gives the government the authority to preclear certain states, still survives. The question is kicked back to Congress to update their “decades old” formula.

Let’s look at the opinions…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Rules That Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act Is Unconstitutional”

If you are my age, this is probably the first ‘damsel’ you proactively hoped would not be saved.

* This is interesting, a lawyer for Paula Deen is saying the woman suing the (former) Food Network star has no standing for claiming a racially hostile environment because the plaintiff is white. So… white people can’t get offended by a lunatic running around talking about dancing ni****s? [ABA Journal]

* I was going to say, “I think Indiana Jones would be worse if he had a contract lawyer as a sidekick.” But then I remembered the Steven Spielberg ruined an entire movie because he wanted to bone Kate Capshaw and, yeah, I’d have taken a lawyer sidekick over her any day. [Legal Geeks]

* I’m constantly amazed at how the SCOTUS clerks don’t leak. I mean, the NSA freaking leaked. [Judicial Clerk Review]

* Vance basically means that if you are broke and you’ve been dying to smack your partner’s administrative assistant on the ass, go for it. “Conservatives” think that’s just fine. [Huffington Post]

* Of course you can leave Patton Boggs, just don’t let the door hit you on the way out. [Blog of the Legal Times]

* At this point, you will believe any sentence that starts with: “Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi…” [Dealbreaker]

* After the jump, watch one of George Zimmerman’s defense attorneys, Don West, begin his opening statement in A FREAKING MURDER TRIAL with a failed knock-knock joke

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Place eight metric tons of butter in large mixing bowl.
Add 16 kilos of salt.
Mix in buttermilk, meat product, and two eggs.
Fry in LOW FAT cooking oil.
Liquify.
Inject directly into carotid artery.
Serves one baby.

– Every Paula Deen recipe ever.

By now, many of you have heard about Paula Deen’s ridiculous deposition, in which she basically admitted that she’s a horrible racist who thinks slavery was funny. But since she made a career off of being a random woman who cooks like she thinks heart disease is funny, I already have a hard time taking anything she says seriously enough to be outraged by it.

So, how about this, I won’t act like Paula Deen’s views on a “perfect Southern wedding” speak for all Southerners, and Southerners won’t feel the need to reflexively defend the offensive and racist views of Paula Deen. It’s one thing to live in the South and like butter. It’s another thing to wish for a “bevy of tap dancing little n***ers” at your brother’s Southern wedding….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “And Now We Know Why Paula Deen Always Keeps Her Mouth Full”

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