June 25, 2018

Five First-Ladies (And the Rest of the World) Condemn the Family Separation Policy; Nationwide “Families Belong Together” Marches Scheduled for Saturday, June 30; and Mid-Way Point to the California Bar Exam . . .

Rosalyn Carter, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and even Melania Trump agree on one thing: separating children from parents seeking U.S. asylum is and was wrong. The policy was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on May 2, 2018. In the six weeks that followed, over 2400 children were stripped from their parents’ arms. The youngest children – including toddlers – have been housed at detention facilities dubbed “tender-age” shelters. The policy immediately was condemned worldwide, specifically including a rebuke from the United Nations. Notably, Sessions was called out by his own church. Reports indicate more than 600 United Methodists clergy and layperson filed a formal complaint decrying Session’s role in what was viewed as, inter alia, child abuse. The Trump Administration ended the policy on June 20, 2018. Yet there has been no clear indication as to how the estimated 2400 children will be returned to their parents, some of whom already have been deported to their country of origin.

Ready to March? Nationwide rallies will be held on June 30, 2018 to protest the family separation policy and promote efforts toward a more welcoming immigration policy. #FamiliesBelongTogether. Numerous groups have joined in the effort to send a powerful message that the separated parents and children are part of our worldwide family we call humanity. An affront to the dignity of any one of us – especially those most vulnerable, like our innocent children – is an affront to the dignity and ideals of us all. The main event takes place at 11 a.m. (EST) at Lafayette Square in Washington D.C, across from the White House. Local rallies include those scheduled for DTLA (City Hall); Burbank, Long Beach, Pasadena, and West Hollywood. To find a rally near you, click here.

Let’s also send a little love to our Loyola grads studying for the bar exam. They’re just hitting the midway point in the grueling study period between graduation and the two-day exam at the end of July. Look at the bright side – it’s just one more round of exams, right? Good Luck!!!

June 12, 2018

The Supreme Court Punts on Masterpiece Cakeshop, DOJ Seeks to End University Anti-Bias Programs; and Free Tacos at Taco Bell Tomorrow Thanks to the Golden State Warriors

It must be nearing football season; the Supreme Court punted in terms of ruling in the hotly contested case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm. At issue was whether a baker could decline to sell a wedding case to a same-sex couple because of the baker’s religious beliefs. As such, the case pitted LGBTQ rights against the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court opinion did not squarely address the merits. Rather, the justices found that the baker had not been given a fair hearing by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Anti-LGBTQ activists claimed a broad victory. In celebration, it was reported that a hardware store in Tennessee posted a sign that read: “No Gays Allowed.” But an Arizona Court of Appeals begged to differ. In a case involving “Brush & Nib,” a calligraphy company seeking the right to refuse service to LGBTQ individuals on similar grounds, the Arizona Court of Appeal ruled against the company. In doing so, the appellate court repeatedly cited to powerful dicta in Masterpiece Cakeshop that emphasized the general rule that business owners cannot shut out members of a protected class. Another quote from Masterpiece Cakeshop emphasized how business venders cannot be permitted to impose “community-wide stigma on members of the LGBTQ community.”

The Department of Justice took aim at the University of Michigan and its “bias response policy.” The suit is seen as an effort to pave the way for a Supreme Court showdown as to whether and to what extent public universities can enforce bias prevention policies. The policy at issue at the University of Michigan has the goal of “[c]reating and maintaining a respectful and welcoming environment for all to live, learn and thrive” in the university setting. Students violating the policy can be subjected to graduated levels of discipline, ranging from a reprimand to suspension of expulsion. Among other points, the DOJ faulted the University for failing to provide a concrete definition of “harassing” and “bullying.”

Taco Tuesday? Try Taco Wednesday! Taco Bell will make good on its pledge to give away free Doritos Locos Tacos tomorrow. The promotion stems from the recent NBA championship series, which was won by California’s own Golden State Warriors. Because the Warriors “stole” a game – meaning that they won a game on their opponent’s home court – everyone gets a free taco! The promo lasts from 2-6 p.m. (June 13). If you’re a fan of Taco Bell, you might want to take a break from work – or studying for that pesky bar exam – and score a bite.