Earlier this week, several prominent LGBT advocacy groups announced that they would no longer support the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination ACT, known as ENDA. If the U.S. House of Representatives passes ENDA, it would create legal safeguards in the workplace for gay, lesbian, and transgendered employees. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund led the move, with the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Transgender Law Center later joining NGLTF’s initial statement. The groups fear that the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hobby Lobby signals a move toward expansive religious exemptions. Consequently, the groups will now focus their efforts on securing rights for the LGBT community like those provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
A few months ago, I wrote about ENDA and why conservative Republicans in the House ought to pass the bill. I pointed to a novel D.C. district court ruling allowing a gay man to move forward with his Title VII employment discrimination claim, based on his status as a homosexual male. I described the differences between Title VII’s religious exemptions for employers and the much broader exemptions provided by ENDA. In my earlier piece, I wrote, “Republican Congress members should think twice about refusing to enact legislation that would provide ENDA’s key protection of religious freedom. If they fail to do so, and the push to expand the scope of Title VII in the courts continues, no such protection will exist.”
Instead of prioritizing religious freedom, social conservatives in Congress have held fast to a strident moral opposition to LGBT rights. Instead of pressing for new, democratically enacted statutory rights, many advocates of LGBT equality will increasingly double-down on judicial re-interpretation of Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause. As each side digs in, the other side digs in deeper. Workable compromises seem fewer….
* “What about devil worshippers?” Justice Scalia may think Satan’s gotten “wilier,” but that doesn’t mean his supporters don’t deserve religious representation in their public meetings. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaker of the House John Boehner says that if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes, tons of lawsuits will be filed — except that hasn’t happened in states with similar laws. Oopsie… [Reuters]
* Judge Shira Scheindlin isn’t going to just sit there and allow herself to be kicked off the stop and frisk case. In a rare move, she asked the Second Circuit to reverse its ruling and reinstate her. Go girl! [Reuters]
* Quinn Emanuel is welcoming a frequent firm-hopper (from Sidley to Clifford Chance to Cleary Gottlieb) into its ranks in D.C. to join Weil defectors Mike Lyle and Eric Lyttle. Best of luck! [Am Law Daily]
* Gibson Dunn scooped up Scott Hammond, a longtime leader of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Query just how large the dangling carrot at the end of the firm’s stick was. [Blog of Legal Times]
* The Supreme Court might have dismissed the Oklahoma abortion case as improvidently granted, but not to worry, because the high court may yet get the chance to abort a woman’s right to choose in this new case from Texas. [New York Times]
* Wherein Justice Scalia seems highly concerned about toupees: yesterday, Supreme Court justices put their fashion sense to the test when trying to determine what ought to count as clothing under the Fair Labor Standards Act. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* The Senate is forging ahead with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but the bill will likely fail in the House because discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is still cool with John Boehner. [CBS News]
* Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate in the NYC mayoral race, apparently has “deep ties” to Gibson Dunn, the firm behind Citizens United. Gather round, conspiracy theorists. [International Business Times]
* An InfiLaw school is changing its name to Arizona Summit Law. How kind to tip law students off to the fact that even if they climb all the way to the top, there’s nowhere to go but down. [National Law Journal]
* I hate crappy customer service as much as the next guy; I just hope UCLA law students from “third world s**tholes” aren’t offended. [Professor Bainbridge]
* Forgive my ignorance, but I don’t see why the right has a problem with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. They know you don’t catch “the gay” from working with gays. I mean, I’m still as straight as an arrow. [Bilerico]
* As long as we’re thinking of giving prosecutors bonuses, let’s also grant them the right of prima nocta over the wives of any men they convict. The latter idea is just as stupid as the former. [Overlawyered]
* While law students suffer in unemployment and tuition continues to spiral upwards, law professors have decided to draw a line in the sand over tenure. In related news, 18 law professors have been hospitalized after attempting to wedge their heads up their own asses. [TaxProf Blog]
* Law school valedictorians are so socially awkward that they need this advice. [Law Riot]
* Hey, Muammar Gaddafi. Bad news bro. The Oscars are over, we’re going to be focusing on stuff again. So, maybe this would be a good time to pack up your stuff and go, before our glamor hangover wears off. [Wall Street Journal]
* Obama’s gay marriage views are still… evolutionary. Tico Almeida looks at how Obama’s rejection of DOMA might affect the fight for a proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). [The Bilerico Project]
* I can’t wait until Marin comes back from vacation and breaks her foot off up in Charlie Sheen’s ass, again. [Slate]
* But be careful when dealing with Sheen. His lawyers know how to write a mean letter. [Radar Online]
* The Mets can’t even figure out how to sell kosher hot dogs. Does Mark Cuban need a special invitation to come save us? [New York Daily News]
* So, ballpark, just how much does an influential business ethicist make these days? And check out the top 10 list of unethical actors (bottom of the page), which includes a few lawyers. [Ethisphere]
* I know it’s not right, but if I was at a conference for First Amendment lawyers, I’d wait until everybody was in the main ballroom and then shout “fire.” I promise I’d do it, and I’d get big laughs too, even from the people who were accidentally trampled. [Underdog]
* The Oscars are over, but the battle for Blawg Review of the Year is just beginning. [Blawg Review]
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