Monthly Archives: December 2010

U.S. News: Legal News

Catch up quickly on recent U.S. legal news.

What are the next steps, now that the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Statute has been repealed? And, let’s not forget the DREAM Act, why did it fail? What is the new plan?



If you are wondering how Justice Kagan is settling into her new job, our sources say, she is content.

New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has filed fraud charges against accounting firm Ernst & Young, for helping the now bankrupt financial services firm, Lehman Brothers to conceal its financial status from investors.


World News: Haitian Religious Leaders targeted by frightened believers

In Haiti, Voodoo is a constitutionally protected religion practiced by about half of the population; roughly the same percentage of the population can read. Many citizens lack the degree of education needed to understand the spread of cholera. By contrast, local beliefs about the powers wielded by Voodoo priests are strong and pervasive. As a result, Voodoo priests are becoming scapegoats for the epidemic, because many citizens believe they are using their powers of Witchcraft to spread the disease.

The local police have been unwilling or unable to stop the lynchings, and the Minister of Communications has called for the  implementation of widespread public health education about the spread of cholera, which she believes will bring these killings to an end.

According to the CIA world fact book, the life expectancy for Haitians is about 30 years.

For more  on this topic:

U.S. News: DADT Repealed! DREAM Act defeated.

This weekend in the U.S., many of us celebrated the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the statute that allowed individuals to be discharged from the military for being openly gay. For many, this represents a Presidential promise made by Bill Clinton, that is finally being fulfilled.

Although this is some evidence that President Obama’s sometimes  subtle political techniques,  seem to be working, those supporting the repeal should still be concerned that there is currently no timeline for the process of implementation.

Some might ask, what about our troops, how is this affecting their ability to function on the battlefield. The Marines for one intend to do just what they have always done, they intend to follow orders and to lead the way, but don’t take my word for it. In spite of his own personal opinions regarding the repeal, here’s what General James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps had to say in the New York Times article entitled A How-To Guide for a New Military “the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy.”

While this progressive move by the U.S. government, distinguishes our culture of human rights from that of countries like Uganda, where being openly gay is illegal, the U.S. Senate giveth and the U.S. Senate taketh away.

From NPR, See:

CA News: Prop 8 in the news

Let’s say you have not been following the Prop 8 news, this visual timeline from MSN’s Good News Blog, last updated in August, will help you to get up to speed: Proposition 8: A Timeline

If you are interested in hearing the oral argument on Prop 8 that took place recently on December 06, 2010,  in the San Francisco, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, C-Span is hosting video of the arguments.     Perry v. Schwarzenegger, (Prop. 8 )

NPR has been reporting on Prop 8, and you can read or listen to four recent articles online.

The following article by Karen Grigsby Bates, highlights the attitudes of proponents and opponents of Prop 8, demonstrating  how difficult is has been and continues to be for these opposing groups to negotiate. Their value systems are divergent, and in some cases are rooted in religious and cultural beliefs that cannot be countered with logic. This has meant that the tone of the debates and discussions have been infused with emotion, and rarely is there a meeting of the minds.

In Calif., Prop. 8 Debate Tests Limits Of Tolerance by Karen Grigsby Bates

Also from NPR, Ted Olson, Gay Marriage’s Unlikely Legal Warrior by Nina Totenberg

This story presents an interesting perspective on why a Conservative would want marriage to be more inclusive rather than less. In part, we are reminded that only 40 years ago, President Obama’s parents would have been committing a felony if they had gotten married in Virginia.

Beyond these policy issues are the true legal issues involved in this case, issues such as who has standing, and whether anyone who actually does have standing to defend Prop 8, would even want to. These issues are discussed by Richard Gonzales, and you can read or  listen online to his two recent NPR articles Expect More Legal Twists In Battle Over Prop. 8 and Legal Standing Among Issues In Proposition 8 Appeal.

Should you want to see what one New York Times writer has to say about Prop. 8, check out this Dec 10 editorial, entitled Civil Rights in California, the author’s opinion is that “The proponents of the discriminatory proposition should be granted standing, and they should lose.”

TJ Law Student News: Mock Trial Team takes 3rd place

The TJSL Mock Trial team did extremely well in the seventh Buffalo-Niagara National Mock Trial Competition, placing third in the criminal division.

TJSL 2L Pratik Shah, also won an individual award for best cross examination.

Although this is not a moot court competition, this level of success bodes well for 2011  Moot Court Competitions such as the Roger J. Traynor, California Appellate Moot Court Competition.

In recent years, TJSL students have performed well in Moot Court competitions, one of the 17  factors that indicate law school excellence.


TJ Alumnus News: Mark A. Kutzer, was recently promoted to associate attorney

Alumnus Mark A. Kutzer, holds a J.D. from  TJSL and earned a

certificate in the Pro Bono Honors Program at TJSL. We congratulate him and celebrate his promotion to associate attorney.
For the full story, see:

TJ Alumnus News: Shauna Hill is highlighted for her successful Las Vegas Law Office

Congratulations to TJSL alumnus Shauna Hill, who was recently featured in eBrandz for her success as a small business entrepreneur.  Her hard work and attention to the values of ethical, competent legal representation and personal happiness make her a positive representative of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and we wish her every continued success in her Nevada practice.

For the full story, see:

“I define success as happiness. If you are happy, then you are successful.” eBrandz (Nov. 30 2010).

TJ Alumnus News: TJ Alumnus appointed to IRS Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC)

TJSL alumnus T.J. Turner, Director of income tax research at Vertex Inc., an international company specializing in corporate enterprise tax solutions, has been elected to the ETAAC as of November 23, 2010.

To read the full story, see:

Vertex’s T.J. Turner Appointed to the IRS Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC), Business Wire (Dec, 06 2010).

Legal Mobile Phone Apps

The Dallas Association of Law Librarians (DALL) has collected a list of blog posts that highlight and review legal applications for mobile devices.

The list includes:

  • Two posts from RIPS Law Librarian Blog, one about study aid apps, and NOLO’s free legal dictionary app, and another about e-book reader apps and their current limitations.
  1. Yes, there’s an app for that! February 24, 2010 by jrsowards
  2. Ebooks and Apps in the Legal Realm November 30, 2010 by jwondracek