Category Archives: General

Free Legal Advocacy Training Is Available Online Through NITA

NITA – the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Training, is a nonprofit organization that provides legal advocacy skills training and continuing legal education. Although NITA is well known for its fee-based training seminars and publications, NITA also has free online webcasts in a more condensed format that are available on-demand through its website. These “Studio 71 Webcasts” cover a number of trial advocacy related topics such as handling non-responsive witnesses, family court advocacy, persuasive expert testimony and communications skills for lawyers. For more information and to access these free webcasts, go to the NITA website.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Same Sex Marriage

The United States Supreme Court has issued its opinion regarding same sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court found that the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses require a State to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple, and to recognize same sex marriages performed in other States. The full opinion can be found on the Court’s website here.

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Opinion Upholding the Affordable Care Act Tax Credit Provisions

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in King v. Burwell today, holding that the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits are available to individuals in states with a Federal Health Exchange. Noting that this issue is one of deep economic and political significance, a majority of the Court found that the wording in the Act applying tax credits to insurance purchased from “an Exchange established by the state” was ambiguous. Therefore, the Court looked at the broader structure of the Act to determine the legislative intent.  In so doing the Court found that to apply tax credits only to state-established Exchanges, and not to Federal Exchanges, would destabilize the insurance market, creating the very situation that Congress designed the Act to avoid. The full opinion (including a strongly worded dissent written by Justice Scalia calling the majority opinion “absurd”) can be found here on the Court’s website.


Upcoming Supreme Court Decision About the Affordable Care Act: A Matter of Statutory Interpretation

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks about the Affordable Care Act in the case of King v. Burwell.  The stakes are high, because this decision could invalidate tax benefits for 4.2 million people who have purchased health insurance from federal health exchanges. The legal issue involves the meaning of four words in the ACA statute, which authorize tax benefits for individuals who purchase health insurance in exchanges “established by the State.” Specifically, the question is whether the ACA’s tax benefits apply to insurance purchased from federally-established exchanges in more than half of the states that did not establish their own exchanges. Should the Court base its decision on the plain meaning of the statute, or should the Court consider the legislative intent of Congress? For a more detailed discussion of this issue and the parties’ opposing positions from the SCOTUS Blog, see

New Bill Would Require Federal Government to Respect State Marijuana Laws

A new bill introduced on April 22, 2015 (HR 1940) would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act and require the federal government to respect state laws that have ended prohibitions on marijuana. Under this bill, federal agencies would be required to refrain from prosecuting individuals and businesses who are in compliance with state marijuana laws, such as California’s Compassionate Use Act. For more information about the bill, go to and type HR 1940 in the search box on the home page. You can also use this site to request email updates about developments with the bill, using the “get alerts” link on the page for the bill.

Supreme Court to Hear Argument Regarding Same Sex Marriage This Week

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument on April 28 in four consolidated cases challenging state bans on same sex marriage. The consolidated cases will be decided under the name Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court will be releasing audio of the oral arguments the same day, which will be available through a link on the home page of the Court’s website,  Briefs filed in the case, analysis of the briefs and other commentary about the case can be found on the Court’s blog at


Free Intellectual Property and Licensing Workshop

Intellectual Property and Licensing Workshop

Friday, April 24, 2015 

Host: Kamala Janiyani, UC San Diego

Organizer: San Diego Center for Systems Biology

Interested in Intellectual Property? Attend this free workshop on Intellectual Property and Licensing at the San Diego Center for Systems Biology in La Jolla on Friday, April 24.

This workshop will bring together intellectual property professionals, entrepreneurs, researchers, and students to discuss the recent developments in the area of intellectual property and licensing.

In the first half of the workshop, talks will focus on the challenges of patent reform, recent Supreme Court cases, patent trolls and impact of patent reform on the technology commercialization. Intellectual property experts will share their thoughts on these topics in depth. There will be a short panel discussion to address the questions associated with patent reform and initiatives being taken to improve patent quality.

In the afternoon session, experts will discuss the technology licensing, commercialization, start-ups and contract agreements. Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A session to discuss the topic in depth. Following the talks will be a hands-on patent searching workshop. Personal laptops required.

For more information and to register go to