How Appealing

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

“North Dakota rejects changes to reflect gay marriage ruling”: The Associated Press has a report that begins, “North Dakota’s Republican-led Senate rejected a measure Tuesday that would have changed state law to reflect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex couples have the right to marry.”

Posted at 10:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court Considers Role of Free Speech in Explaining Credit Card Fees”: Adam Liptak of The New York Times has this report.

Robert Barnes of The Washington Post has an article headlined “A tale of bar tabs and deli sandwiches stymies a few Supreme Court justices.”

Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal reports that “Supreme Court Weighs Difference Between a ‘Cash Discount’ and a ‘Surcharge’; Small merchants have challenged a New York law that restricts credit-card surcharges.”

Richard Wolf of USA Today reports that “Supreme Court wrestles with credit card surcharge laws.”

In commentary, online at Bloomberg View, law professor Noah Feldman has an essay titled “Cash Discounts, Credit Surcharges and Free Speech.”

And online at The Wall Street Journal, law professor Todd J. Zywicki and Geoffrey A. Manne have an essay titled “The Constitution Says Nothing About Behavioral Economics: A hair salon tells the Supreme Court that trendy research backs up its right to charge credit-card fees.”

Posted at 9:05 PM by Howard Bashman

Miguel Estrada warns City of Philadelphia that his hourly rate is very expensive: When you live in the Philadelphia region, it’s not every day that the front page of your morning newspaper contains an article featuring Miguel Estrada and the costliness of his legal services. But today was such a day.

In today’s edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tricia L. Nadolny has a front page article headlined “Comcast warns of costly legal battle if Kenney doesn’t veto wage discrimination bill.” The article begins:

Comcast has urged Mayor Kenney to veto a bill that would bar employers from asking job applicants for their salary histories or risk a costly legal challenge.

The legislation, meant to combat wage discrimination, violates the First Amendment, an attorney hired by Comcast argues in a legal memo sent to the city and obtained by the Inquirer.

“While my client and others in the business community who are considering a legal challenge do not want to appear confrontational in any way, it is important to note that a successful challenge … could make the City liable for a substantial award of attorney’s fees,” attorney Miguel Estrada wrote on behalf of Comcast.

As the article later explains:

Among many challenges raised in the 25-page memo, Estrada said the law would violate employers’ First Amendment rights to ask about wage history. He said that to justify such a restriction, the city must prove it would advance its goal of reducing wage discrimination without restricting more speech than necessary.

Lest you wonder whether Miguel Estrada himself wrote the entire 25-page memo, the article contains a quotation from the memo that bears the hallmarks of that trademarked Estrada wit:

[Estrada] argues there is no evidence that asking for salary history perpetuates wage discrimination. Disparities could be due to legitimate factors, including “taking a 10-year absence from the workforce to ‘see the world,’ working fewer hours, or — to state the obvious — being a worse employee,” he said

On a day that one curious First Amendment challenge was argued at the U.S. Supreme Court, it is interesting to wonder how this proposed law implicates a potential employer’s First Amendment rights, when the speech that’s put off-limits is a job applicant’s answer supplying the applicant’s salary history.

As the article reports, David L. Cohen, a former high-powered Philadelphia attorney who now serves as Comcast’s senior executive vice president, engaged Estrada to persuade Philadelphia not to approve this legislation at the risk of costly legal action. Apparently none of Philadelphia’s many fine First Amendment litigators were persuasive and expensive enough to merit the engagement.

In any event, Comcast’s strategy may be working, as this afternoon Tricia L. Nadolny of The Philadelphia Inquirer has an updated article headlined “Confronted by Comcast’s lawsuit threat, Kenney hesitates on wage discrimination bill.”

Posted at 8:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“Jeff Sessions Says Decision Allowing Abortion Deserves Respect And Will Be Followed; Despite calling the federal legalization of abortion ‘one of the worst, colossally erroneous Supreme Court decision of all time,’ Sessions said he would ‘respect’ it”: Ema O’Connor of BuzzFeed News has this report.

And Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed News reports that “Jeff Sessions Denies Racism Allegations; The US attorney general nominee said the ‘caricature’ of him during his failed judicial nomination in 1986 was false.”

Posted at 1:32 PM by Howard Bashman

“The Long Arm of U.S. Law Stretches to Asia”: Online today at Bloomberg View, law professor Noah Feldman has an essay that begins, “U.S. law can reach American sex offenders abroad so long as they haven’t resettled in another country, according to a federal appeals court.”

Posted at 1:05 PM by Howard Bashman

“High court sends New Mexico police shooting lawsuit back to lower court”: Andrew Oxford of The Santa Fe New Mexican has an article that begins, “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday kicked back to a lower court a family’s lawsuit against New Mexico State Police officers involved in a Glorieta man’s shooting death five years ago during an incident in which the officers claim they acted in self-defense.”

Posted at 10:44 AM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in local tribal sovereignty case”: In today’s edition of The Day of New London, Connecticut, Brian Hallenbeck has a front page article that begins, “A Waterford attorney whose tribal sovereignty case the U.S. Supreme Court heard Monday said he was encouraged by the questions the justices posed during oral arguments.”

Agence France-Presse reports that “Top US court hears case that could redefine tribal sovereignty.”

And Brandi Buchman of Courthouse News Service reports that “Justices Weigh Tribal Immunity for Limo Crash.”

Posted at 10:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“US Supreme Court loaded with First Amendment cases: Can you trademark an offensive name or not? Justices to decide.” David Kravets of Ars Technica has this report.

Posted at 8:40 AM by Howard Bashman