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….
Color me disappointed. The parties have reached a settlement in Ku v. Mitchell. We won’t get to hear trial testimony about a law school dean allegedly propositioning students and staff or trying to set up threesomes on a bed with Chinese silk sheets.
Okay, let’s rewind. Last October, Case Western law professor Raymond Ku filed a lawsuit against former Case dean Lawrence Mitchell and against the university. Ku alleged that he suffered retaliation after reporting to university officials that Mitchell had potentially sexually harassed women at the law school, including employees and students. In the wake of the lawsuit, Mitchell took a leave of absence as dean, then resigned the deanship (but remained on the faculty).
Today brings word of the parties settling the case. What are the terms of the settlement, and what do the parties have to say about it?
* The sad truth for those of you banking on Biglaw careers to pay off your loans? You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. [Law School Lemmings]
* The recent study that created a cumulative ranking of law schools based on LSAT scores, employment, and citations has been updated to account for school-funded jobs. No more gaming the system schools. [The Faculty Lounge]
* The next generation wants to change the world. Maybe consider something other than law school. [Law and More]
* The suit between Jerry Only and Danzig (Glenn, not Chris) is heating up with a countersuit. [Metal Sucks]
* Time for another Battle of the Law Firm Bands! This one is in L.A. next Tuesday, July 8, and 11 bands from area law firms and companies are playing, including bands from Latham, Gibson, O’Melveny, and MoFo. It’s for a good cause, so show up. [Family Violence Appellate Project]
Today’s majority cannot resist taking potshots at Abood… but it ignores the petitioners’ invitation to depart from principles of stare decisis. And the essential work in the majority’s opinion comes from its extended (though mistaken) distinction of Abood… not from its gratuitous dicta critiquing Abood’s foundations. That is to the good — or at least better than it might be. The Abood rule is deeply entrenched, and is the foundation for not tens or hundreds, but thousands of contracts between unions and governments across the Nation. Our precedent about precedent, fairly understood and applied, makes it impossible for this Court to reverse that decision.
– Justice Elena Kagan, using her dissent in Harris v. Quinn to shore up the compelling case that Abood cannot be reversed. Which is going to be downright hilarious next term when the Court goes ahead and reverses it.
* You’d think a tax attorney would remember to file a tax return. You’d be wrong. [SF Gate]
* You think you have difficult clients? Try representing a sovereign hellbent on making political hay by contradicting every representation you make in court. [Reuters]
* Dov Charney out at American Apparel. And he seemed like such a nice guy… [Slate]
* The Central Park Five civil rights lawsuit has settled for $40 million — or roughly $1 million for each year the accused spent in prison. [New York Times]
* It’s a bad week for everyone affiliated with the Miami Heat. Now they’re losing to bloggers. [South Florida Lawyers]
* In an unfortunate follow-up, the effort to unionize some lawyers at Bloomberg has fizzled and the primary organizer has been fired with no severance and a baby on the way. Which is surely a complete coincidence and not related to his organizing activity at all. [Fortune]
* Former Delaware Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Berger has resigned and she is not bashful that it’s all to do with being passed over as chief justice in favor of Leo Strine. [Delaware Law Weekly]
* Yale Law grad and former Senior Counsel to the World Bank, Karen Hudes, wants you to understand that JFK was killed over the gold standard and that there’s a species of coneheads in control of the Vatican. We should do a Career Alternatives on her. Video after the jump… [Starship Earth: The Big Picture]
On Wednesday, the EEOC filed an action against United Health Programs of America Inc. and Cost Containment Group, Inc. alleging that the companies infringed the civil rights of its employees by forcing them to be Onionheads. Did you even know that was a thing? It’s like Christianity, if the Bible were written in Comic Sans.
Well, apparently it is, and among the Onionhead religious practices that the EEOC describes are forcing employees “to thank God for their employment” and to tell their bosses “I love you.” This sounds like a typical day in Biglaw. Indeed, a typical Saturday night in Biglaw.
* After receiving an award, a young lawyer blasts legal aid cuts. [Legal Cheek]
* The Daily Show examines the ongoing effort to unionize college football with commentary by Dee Dee Benkie. She’s wrong of course — college football unions would work like professional sports unions representing players who face exactly the same workplace hazards, instead of stereotypical longshoremen — but it’s good to see even an anti-union advocate agreeing that players deserve something more than what they currently get. Video below…. [The Daily Show]
* Vice Media is doing tremendous work exposing injustices. Perhaps they need to look into their own office. (UPDATE: Vice has changed its ways and now pays its interns.) [Capital New York]
* In a comical bout of karma, a landlord sued its blogger resident for alleged defamation. Next thing you know, HUD inspection records come to light. Let’s just say the landlord should be very unhappy that truth is a defense. [Columbus Dispatch]
* Check out the conclusion of ReplyAll’s conversation with John Grisham. [Above the Law]
* Do you think someone is not happy with Jones Foster’s billing practices?
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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.