In the latest issue of Supreme Court Brief, NLJ's newsletter on the high court, we reported on a recent panel discussion of transparency issues facing the justices, including -- but not confined to -- camera access to court proceedings. One speaker, former appeals court judge Kenneth Starr, urged the justices to "grow an extra layer of skin" and allow cameras in. Also, we delved into the last-minute switch in lawyers arguing before the court in a high-profile Michigan affirmative action case October 15. Plus, a look at a brief in a case being argued next week that defends the role that states play in antitrust litigation. Our next issue will be emailed to subscribers on November 4, when the justices return to the bench for their next cycle of arguments.
On the eve of trial, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. has settled with a former partner who accused the consulting firm of gender discrimination.
The trial was scheduled to start today in District of Columbia Superior Court. On Oct. 23, Booz Allen and plaintiff Molly Finn told the judge they had reached a settlement. The terms of the agreement are confidential, according to a Booz Allen spokesman.
Booz Allen is facing two other gender discrimination lawsuits still pending in Superior Court. Both cases mirror Finn's claims that the company pushed out women before they reached top leadership positions, an allegation Booz Allen has denied.
The Supreme Court's four female justices are joined together in a new portrait unveiled today at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. Famed portraitist Nelson Shanks, who painted the life-sized work, was on hand this morning as the press was given a first glimpse.
A seated Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, seen standing behind her, look somber, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, seated next to O'Connor, and Justice Elena Kagan, standing next to Sotomayor, have faint smiles. They are wearing their black robes, with differing neckwear that accurately reflects their preferences.
The four justices have not yet seen the portrait, but will tonight -- along with some of their colleagues -- at a private event at the gallery.
A former legal secretary at Latham & Watkins can move ahead with part of her pregnancy discrimination suit against the firm, a Washington federal district judge
Demetria Peart, who worked at Latham from April 2007 until January 2008, claimed she was fired because the firm didn't want to accommodate her pregnancy. The firm asked U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer to dismiss the case, arguing, among other things, that Peart failed to meet the minimum legal standards to support her claims.
Collyer will allow Peart to proceed with her claim that Latham violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which includes pregnancy discrimination. The judge agreed with Latham that Peart couldn't make a hostile work environment claim under the law.
opinion heavily trafficked with driving-related puns, a Washington federal judge ruled today that a legal challenge to the growing number of digital billboards along highways across the country could move forward.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg found Scenic America, a nonprofit that advocates for preserving the country's "visual character," met the early threshold for challenging Federal Highway Administration rules that made it easier to get approval for digital billboards.
"Scenic America has standing to challenge the Guidance because its case is fueled by concrete harm to the organization’s programs," Boasberg wrote. "And because the Guidance is the end of the road for [Federal Highway Administration] decisionmaking on this matter, it constitutes final agency action. The Court accordingly declines to take either exit proposed by Defendants and Intervenor and orders that the case should speed on to its next turn."
Lawyers for the producer of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus want the animal rights groups that unsuccessfully sued the circus to pay more than $25 million in legal fees.
It's been more than a decade since the animal rights groups brought claims against producer Feld Entertainment Inc., accusing the circus of abusing its Asian elephants. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan entered a judgment against the animal rights groups in 2009 and granted Feld's request to recoup its legal fees in March.
court filings yesterday, Feld said it was seeking fees for the nearly 50,000 hours its lawyers spent working on the case from 2000 through March 2013. Feld's lead counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright, formerly Fulbright & Jaworski, reported billing more than 41,000 hours since late 2005 valued at $22.6 million.
A challenge by a group of individuals and businesses to the IRS' enforcement of a provision of the federal health care law survived the government's attempt to dismiss the case, but a judge denied the plaintiffs' bid for an early injunction blocking the regulation at issue.
U.S. District Senior Judge Paul Friedman today denied the government's request to dismiss the case, which was based on an argument that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. The judge also denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, finding they failed to show at this stage of the case they were likely to succeed on the merits or face "irreparable" harm without an immediate order.
Jones Day partner Michael Carvin, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, declined to say after today's hearing whether the challengers planned to appeal the ruling on the injunction. Carvin said the plaintiffs' priority was getting a final decision from the court on the merits of their claims as quickly as possible.
A group of individuals and small businesses today asked a federal judge to block the IRS from enforcing a tax credit provision of the Obama administration's health care law. The plaintiffs argue the Internal Revenue Service is expanding the Affordable Care Act's reach in violation of the law’s own language.
At issue are federal tax credits for individuals who would otherwise be exempt from the law because of their low income. At a hearing this morning in Washington federal district court, the challengers, represented by Jones Day's Michael Carvin, said the IRS wrongly interpreted the law to say the tax credits could go to residents in states that did not set up health care exchanges.
The IRS regulation, Carvin said, makes certain individuals in those states—and potentially their employers-subject to the law's penalties for not complying with insurance requirements.
A life-sized painting of the Supreme Court’s four female justices is due to be unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. on October 28 in an invitation-only ceremony that the entire court is expected to attend.
Renowned portraitist Nelson Shanks painted the work last year under commission from the gallery. His past subjects have included Bill Clinton, Princess Diana, Pope John Paul II and Luciano Pavarotti.
“It was a great opportunity to do a group portrait of four different personalities,” said Shanks in a phone interview. Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan participated in two sittings, one of which lasted more than four hours, Shanks said. With the frame, which was built this year, Shanks said the painting is "huge," measuring roughly 10 feet tall.
Lawyers for detainees at Guantánamo Bay are fighting the U.S. Department of Justice's attempt to push back filing deadlines because of the government shutdown. The detainees' lawyers say the case, a dispute over access to counsel, is too important to delay.
The government is appealing a federal district judge's order from July blocking the U.S. Department of Defense from requiring detainees to undergo groin searches before meeting with lawyers. U.S. District Senior Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington found the search policy was designed to actively discourage detainees from communicating with their lawyers.
On October 11, the
government asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to extend its deadline for a brief due October 22, citing the Justice Department's limited operations during the shutdown. Today, lawyers for the detainees
replied that they would agree to push back the deadline by a few days, but not to the degree the government wanted.