Civil Rights

Righteous-IndignationThe public learned this week that the Judicial Council of the D.C. Circuit dismissed a complaint of judicial misconduct against Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.   The order followed a year-long investigation by Special Counsel Jeffrey Bellin.  The roughly 70-page Report of the Special Committee appears nonpartisan, thorough, and fair.

The complaint stemmed from a lecture Judge Jones gave to the University of Pennsylvania Federalist Society chapter in February 2013.  Among the complainants’ claims was that, during her lecture, Judge Jones suggested she believed that members of certain races were predisposed to commit violent crimes.  With no recording of the event, witnesses disagreed about exactly what she said.  Was she talking about genetic determinism?  Or was she only referring to the objective fact that, for whatever reason, our nation’s prisoners are disproportionately black and Latino?  The subsequent independent investigation concluded that “whatever she said initially, it is clear that Judge Jones used the question-and-answer period to clarify that she did not adhere to such views,” rejecting the complaint’s version of her speech. The D.C. Circuit cleared her of all of the charges of misconduct, including this one.

When the complaint was first filed, I defended Judge Jones. Defending her was relatively easy….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Edith Jones Helped Prove Eric Holder Right: Lessons I Learned About Race After Defending A Judge Accused Of Racism”

Judge Edith Jones

I did not say such things because I have never believed them and have never said them.

– Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit, denying she made offensive comments attributed to her by an ethics complaint. A panel of federal judges dismissed the complaint, but various civil-rights groups and legal ethicists are appealing the dismissal.

It really does get better — and better, and better — for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

This past June, the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), resulting in more-equal treatment of gay and lesbian couples for purposes of federal benefits. Around the country, 15 states and the District of Columbia now issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which bans workplace discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, is closer than ever to passage, having already made it through the Senate by a comfortable margin (64-32, reflecting bipartisan support).

Meanwhile, in the private sector, employers are becoming more and more welcoming of LGBT individuals. That’s the top-line finding of the Human Rights Campaign’s latest Corporate Equality Index — in which law firms are particularly well-represented….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Best Law Firms for LGBT Lawyers”


Late last week, Michael Brown and 24 of his friends and family met at a Charleston, South Carolina restaurant for a farewell party for his cousin. After waiting about two hours for a table, a shift manager at the Wild Wing Cafe told the party to leave. Did I mention these folks were black? Oh, well, they were black. And why weren’t they getting seated?

According to the shift manager, it was because a white patron felt “threatened” by the group, and the manager felt obliged to respect this woman’s delusion by keeping the black diners waiting in the lobby before ultimately kicking them out.

Cue the Chief Justice: “Things have changed in the South.”

Seriously though, so far this ordeal has elicited calls for a boycott, but legal action has been mostly overlooked, which is odd since the story brings back memories of one of the biggest discrimination suits of the last 20 years…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “South Carolina Restaurant Refuses To Serve Black Patrons — Denny’s Redux”

Discriminatory bottle service for old dudes?

* When it comes to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, corporate personhood only goes so far. Religious freedoms apply to human beings, not their businesses, and the Third Circuit agrees. [New York Times]

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector added 2,800 jobs in July after major losses in the two months prior. We’re sure that the eleventy billion members of the class of 2013 will be very pleased. [Am Law Daily]

* Not a Nigerian scam: Biglaw firms in Washington, D.C. — like Covington & Burling, Greenberg Traurig, and Williams Mullen — are busy chasing business in Africa. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* A New Jersey municipal judge faces ethics charges due to his “extra-judicial activities” with an exotic dancer. It seems she appeared before him in his courtroom and in his bed. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* Tawana Brawley, the woman who dragged a New York prosecutor into an elaborate rape hoax (complete with race-baiting), is finally making payments on a defamation verdict. [New York Post]

* “Either I’m a stupid lawyer, or I’m stupid for thinking the court will enforce the rights of guys.” Former Cravath attorney and men’s rights advocate Roy Den Hollander is at it again. [New York Daily News]

* Morehouse College will be the fifth undergraduate school in the nation to publish a law journal. This is basically a case study in what it means to begin law school gunning while in college. [Daily Report]

* Things are pretty dire for New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Not even “that [law grad] who takes pictures of himself in his underwear in the mirror” would vote for him. [Delaware News Journal]

* Julius Chambers, famous civil rights lawyer and former leader of the NAACP LDF, RIP. [NBC News]

425G – Remembered to lift the seat

* First the law school rankings, now urine-based video games? It’s been a whirlwind week of heavy journalism for U.S. News. [U.S. News]

* Did you ask for a diorama of the Supreme Court? Because I did… [Washington Post]

* What do SCOTUSblog and “Girls” share in common? If you guessed that Tom Goldstein spends most of his day at the office naked, you’re (probably) wrong. [Peabody Awards]

* Casinos have systematically driven men out of the bartending and cocktail serving market. They use a fig leaf to protect themselves from Title VII… apparently literally. [Workplace Prof Blog]

* Dartmouth professor Sonu Bedi argues that same-sex marriage is really about the separation of church and state. You say potato, I say egregious denial of basic rights. [Huffington Post]

* UBS trying to get out of an SEC case. Color me surprised. [Dealbreaker]

* Central New Mexico Community College does not want to hear that sex talk. It makes Sol the Suncat sad. [Popehat]

* As mentioned before, there’s a new legal dispute over whether or not Sherlock Holmes has lapsed into the public domain. Alex Heimbach of Slate puts the case under the proverbial magnifying glass. [Slate]

‘They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said… sure, it’s better than going to jail!’

* President Obama nominated Thomas Perez, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, to be the next secretary of labor. Republicans, of course, are all butthurtt, calling this a “needlessly divisive nomination.” [New York Times]

* Let’s get ready to RUMBLE! Be prepared to see some legal heavyweights next week when the Prop 8 and DOMA cases are argued before the Supreme Court, including Paul Clement and Ted Olson. [National Law Journal]

* How appropriate that Justice Scalia should break out the Spanglish for an Arizona voter registration law that requires proof of U.S. citizenship. Our beloved Wise Latina probably wasn’t too thrilled by this. [New York Times]

* To promote pay equity in law firms, the ABA is encouraging bar groups to hold conferences on the topic. The question on everyone’s minds, of course, is whether those conferences are billable. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Law schools aren’t the only places where transparency is lacking. Jeh Johnson, the DOD’s former general counsel, thinks the secrecy swirling around drone strikes is bad for the government. [At War / New York Times]

* The members of Debevoise’s displaced trusts and estates practice team have been picked up by Loeb & Loeb. Enjoy your new home, and your new — presumably lower — compensation package. [Am Law Daily]

* Lindsay Lohan took a plea deal yesterday, and instead of going to jail, she’ll be going to rehab to be kept under lock and key for 90 days. I’d say this is bad for her career, but who are we kidding? [Los Angeles Times]

* Casey Anthony’s trustee just answered my prayers. He wants the ex-MILF to sell her story to pay off her debts. I demand that LiLo be cast in the role! She’s the only one broken enough to pull it off. [Washington Post]

Maybe people in Mississippi should watch this to figure out why the Voting Rights Act is still important.

My mother was born in 1950 in Mississippi. I’ve been to Mississippi. There are still brothers trying to escape to freedom from Mississippi.

Today the big story (at least in liberal circles) is that Mississippi finally officially ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, after two Ole Miss employees saw the movie Lincoln and decided to look into why their state hadn’t officially ratified the amendment. You can’t make that up: Mississippi needed a Spielberg movie to remind them to ratify the amendment banning slavery. I can’t wait till Mississippi sends an expedition to Isla Nublar to check into this whole “dinosaur situation” “Jesus Horse situation.”

You can see why liberals love this story. It’s the perfect deep south story: a tradition of holding people in bondage, slow response times, and incompetence.

And I’d leave it at that.

Except that as the Supreme Court gears up to eviscerate the pre-clearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act, it’s important to remember that not all states are created equal….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “With All Deliberate Speed, Mississippi Officially Ratifies The Thirteenth Amendment”

Later today, Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in President Barack Obama for Obama’s second term as President of the United States. Hopefully they’ll get it right this time.

President Obama, of course, is the first African-American to serve as POTUS. His election and recent reelection show how much progress our nation has made over the years in terms of racial equality and justice.

Much of that progress can be attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the pioneering civil rights leader whose birthday remember today. Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929, and the holiday in his honor is observed on the third Monday of January.

In honor of the holiday, we don’t plan on publishing much (if anything) today. Feel free to scroll back through the archives and read stories you might have missed from last week.

If you’re looking for something to do, you can use today for public service. Look up service projects in your area at MLKDay.gov. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

UPDATE (11:00 AM): As noted in the comments, today’s ceremonial swearing-in will be the second one for President Obama’s second term. He was formally sworn in yesterday “because the official start of his second term landed on Sunday. The Constitution says the president’s term expires on Jan. 20 at noon.”

* Oh mon dieu! Cela ne semble pas bon! As confirmed by The Lawyer, Nixon Peabody will definitely be closing its four-year-old international outpost in Paris, France, leaving the firm with only two offices outside of the United States. Triste. :( [Am Law Daily]

* “I just wanted somebody to pat me on the head.” Aww, all this former Winston & Strawn partner wanted was for someone to tell him he was a good boy, so he helped Kenneth Starr launder money. At least he didn’t get jail time. [New York Law Journal]

* Sorry, lady, but when you work in an HR capacity and you publish tripe about gays not being civil rights victims because they “choose” their lifestyle, the Sixth Circuit will just laugh at your appeal. [National Law Journal]

* At least one law school has gotten the point that tuition is too damn high. Starting next year, Seton Hall Law will allow qualifying first-year students to save about 50 percent on the cost of attendance. [Associated Press]

* What are some benefits of taking a gap year between the completion of your undergraduate degree and law school? Well, for one, you might reconsider your decision to enroll. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Robert Bork, former D.C. Circuit judge and SCOTUS nominee, RIP. [Commentary Magazine]

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