ACSBlog

  • February 7, 2014

    by Nicholas Alexiou

    Fernando A. Bohorquez, Jr., long-time Chair of the ACS New York Lawyer Chapter, was nominated this week by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve as a member of the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board. If confirmed by the New York City Counsel, Bohorquez would serve a six-year term on the Board, which is the ethics board for New York City and is charged with interpreting and enforcing the city’s: Conflicts of Interest Law, Annual Disclosure Law and Lobbyist Gift Law.

    A partner in the New York office of BakerHostetler, Bohorquez (pictured) has led the New York Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society for years. During that time, he has been critical in the development of numerous educational activities that have helped the American Constitution Society grow its nationwide network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals. As an example, in October 2012, Bohorquez moderated an event in which two newly appointed federal district court judges, The Honorable Alison J. Nathan and The Honorable Edgardo Ramos, discussed their path to the federal bench.

    Mayor de Blasio said of Bohorquez and fellow Board nominee Richard Briffault, “[t]hey are committed to fairness and to protecting the people of this city. I have no doubt they will ensure this government lives up to the highest standards.”

    [image via BakerHostetler]

  • February 7, 2014
     
    On February 5, President Obama announced five judicial nominees. They were:
    Cheryl Ann Krause to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
     
    Judy Beth Bloom to the Southern District of Florida,
     
    Paul G. Byron to the Middle District of Florida,
     
    Darrin P. Gayles to the Southern District of Florida, and
     
    Carlos Eduardo Mendoza to the Middle District of Florida.
     
    If confirmed, Darrin Gayles would be the first openly gay African American man to serve as a federal judge. The White House released a new report, “This is the First Time Our Judicial Pool Has Been This Diverse,” highlighting the administration’s work to diversify the federal bench.
     
    Despite the push to highlight the administration’s diverse judicial nominees, senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday to discuss ongoing concerns over the lack of diverse nominees for Georgia courts. Earlier in the week, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced his agreement with the CBC’s concerns.
     
    On February 6, three judicial nominees were voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and reported to the full Senate after being held over the week before. They join 29 other nominees for a total of 32 judicial nominees waiting for action on the Senate floor. The nominees reported out of Committee were:
    Indira Talwani, District of Massachusetts,
     
    James D. Peterson, Western District of Wisconsin, and
     
    Nancy J. Rosenstengel, Southern District of Illinois.
     
  • February 7, 2014
     
    The New York Times editorial board cited an amicus brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores authored by Frederick Mark Gedicks, Faculty Advisor for the Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School ACS Student Chapter. The paper calls for the Court to recognize the Establishment Clause’s precedent in the lawsuit against the Obama administration. Gedicks also authored an ACS Issue Brief examining the challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception policy and laid out an argument against granting religious exemptions to for-profit corporations on ACSblog.
     
    Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, released a statement praising the Senate Judiciary Committee for its favorable report of Debo Adegbile to be the Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. In the statement, Ifill says Adegbile “has precisely the type of broad civil rights experience that is required at this pivotal moment in our country.”
     
    Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that required federal review of voting laws in states with a history of voter discrimination. Adam Ragusea of NPR reports from Macon, Georgia on the repercussions felt by the city’s minority voters.
     
    Human Rights Watch explores the legal and ethical implications of a growing trend among probation companies to “act more like abusive debt collectors than probation officers.”
     
    The Honorable Robert L. Carter is in the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s “Black History Month Spotlight.”
  • February 6, 2014
     
    Writing for The Huffington Post, distinguished George Washington University Law School Prof. Alan B. Morrison and co-author Adam A. Marshall argue in favor of the National Popular Vote (NPV) movement. In his article, Morrison—a faculty advisor to the ACS Student Chapter at GWU—explains why the current state of the Electoral College is a major deficit to American democracy and how the NPV movement would facilitate a more representative voting system.
     
    Writing for SCOTUSblog, Jody Freeman explains why the greenhouse gas cases pending at the U.S. Supreme Court will have little impact on the EPA and the government’s ability to regulate emissions.
     
    The Associated Press reports on the developing case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that has Utah state attorneys insisting that same-sex marriage will devalue the family structure and lead to economic crisis.
     
    David H. Gans of Slate breaks down Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit against the Obama administration to reveal why, when it comes to the free exercise of religion, most corporations are sitting this one out.
     
    At the blog of Legal Times, Todd Ruger notes the diversity of President Obama’s judicial nominees.

     

  • February 5, 2014
     
    JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay the U.S. government $614 million to settle its defective loan case. Announced Tuesday, the deal settles claims stemming from JPMorgan’s approval of unqualified home mortgage loans since 2002. NPR reports on the legal ramifications being felt by the world’s biggest banks.
     
    The U.S. Department of Transportation is designing new “Vehicle to Vehicle” communication technology that would help prevent traffic accidents. Reporting for the ACLU’s Blog of Rights, Jay Stanley discusses the privacy implications surrounding the new technology.
     
    Herbert Smulls, a convicted inmate in Missouri, was executed before his final stay was denied last week by the U.S. Supreme Court. Andrew Cohen at The Atlantic reports on what went wrong and reveals a “breach in ethics and in the law.”
     
    Daphne Eviatar at Just Security addresses the issues surrounding drone technology and what must be done to guarantee that its use remains within the law.
     
    Writing for The Root, Henry Louis Gates Jr. provides a brief history of Black History Month and its founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.