May 11, 2018

DACA Vote Coming Soon; Net Neutrality; and Congrats on Finishing Finals!

A group of Republican congressional representatives have defied party leadership by circulating a petition that would require four bills on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to be brought to the floor for a vote. (Normally, bills must be approved and put forward by the Speaker of the House.) Those pushing for the vote include Representative Jeff Denham of California, Representative Will Hurd of Texas, and Florida Representatives Mario Diaz-Balert and Carlos Curbelo. On a different front, a new lawsuit filed in Texas is seen as seeking a fast-track to the United States Supreme Court by creating a circuit split over the issue of whether DACA can be rescinded by executive order. Currently, three circuit court judges have issued nation-wide injunctions ensuring that DACA protections stay in place. The new law suit, which was filed by attorney generals of Texas and six other states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia -- seeks the opposite result.

Net neutrality isn’t dead . . . yet. Senator Edward Markey announced that a group of senators have utilized the Congressional Review Act to force a vote on the widely unpopular recently enacted FCC regulations peeling back other regulations that ensured equal access. Markey declared: “This is a fight for the internet.” Early reports suggest the vote might be extremely close. Fifty senators are said to favor reversal, meaning one additional vote is necessary to send the bill to the House of Representatives. A number of companies have issued “red alerts” on their websites urging visitors to voice support to overturn the new FCC regulations, including, among others, Tinder, Tumbler, and TripAdvisor. Congress has limited time to act, so do consider getting involved. #NetNeutrality.

And on a more local note, are you all feeling a bit relieved right now? Congrats to all LLS students for finishing up finals! Schools out for summer? Well, not exactly. Our first-years are toiling away on the annual Write-On Competition for Loyola’s prestigious law review and journals. Hang in there and Good luck!

April 26, 2018

Another Court Victory for DACA, More Efforts to Legalize Marijuana, and Denim-Day at Loyola

Judge John Bates joined two other federal judges in keeping DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in place. Judge Bates went one step further and ordered that the program must accept new applications. Notably, Judge Bates’ ruling was a judgment on the merits, meaning that if the order is not changed, it permanently goes into effect, subject to appeal. To provide the DHS additional time to better justify the decision to rescind DACA, Judge Bates stayed his order for ninety days. The two prior rulings preliminarily mandating nation-wide continuation of DACA came from the Second and Ninth Circuits. Click here  to read Judge Bates' opinion.   

Senator Chuck Schumer announced plans to introduce a new Senate bill that would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, which would formally leave it up to the states to determine whether marijuana is illegal. Currently, the majority of states permit use of marijuana for health purposes. Nine states, along with the District of Columbia permit recreational use. The bill likely will be supported by former House Majority Leader John Boehner, who recently announced he had reversed his stance against legalization of marijuana and had joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, one of the many companies the cannabis industry. The bill also likely will find support from the “Cannabis Caucus,” a bi-partisan group formed by four members of Congress to end federal interference with state laws permitting use of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes.

Loyola supported this year’s Denim-Day, a 19-year campaign run by Peace Over Violence to call attention and honor Sexual Violence Awareness Month. The campaign was a response to a ruling by the Supreme Court of Italy that overturned a rape conviction because the victim had been wearing tight jeans, thereby suggesting she must have assisted her assailant in removing her jeans. The next day, female members of the Italian parliament showed their support for the victim by wearing jeans to work. And Denim Day was launched. Per the organizers, the goal is provide a “visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.”