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Civil Rights

Speech Code for Lawyers?

Free Speech & Election Law, Litigation, and Professional Responsibilities & Legal Education Practice Groups Teleforum Friday, June 03, 01:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

The American Bar Association (ABA) model rules of conduct have long wrestled with regulating the intersection of discrimination and the law of lawyering. The current model rules forbid discrimination in the practice of law only as a comment to the prohibition on lawyer conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. After much discussion and pressure, the ABA has proposed expanding the language to become new model rule 8.4 (g). If enacted, this rule would prohibit (in its own right) discrimination or harassment by a lawyer engaged in the practice of law against a list of protected classes, including ethnicity, gender identity, and marital status. Perhaps anticipating a challenge, the new rule's comment states that the new rule does not apply to non-lawyer conduct or activities protected by the first amendment and also exempts times when references to such protected groups and facts are needed to effectively represent a client. However, this new rule would apply to all conduct at primarily firm and legal events, including firm related social events.

What is discrimination or harassment over socioeconomic status? Since this rule applies to social settings, where is the line to be drawn and what chilling effect might be created? What about free speech and free association? To aid in our understanding, this Teleforum welcomes free speech expert Eugene Volokh of UCLA law who has written extensively on this subject.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Is the FBI Taking a Bite Out of Apple? - Podcast

International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
Justin (Gus) Hurwitz, Jamil N. Jaffer May 27, 2016

In the aftermath of the San Bernadino terrorist attack, the Federal Bureau of Investigations sought the assistance of Apple in its investigation. An Apple phone used by one of the terrorists included a function, which the FBI wanted Apple to defeat, that would automatically delete all stored information after ten failed hacking attempts. Defeating the function would have required Apple employees to write code, which Apple contended amounted to compelled speech. Privacy issues were also asserted, but countered, at least in part, by the fact that the user of the phone was deceased, and the phone was actually owned by a local government. After the FBI used other sources to get the information it sought, Apple moved against the FBI to disclose exactly whether and how it had bypassed the delete function. Our experts discussed this interesting matter and next steps.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Justin (Gus) Hurwitz, Assistant Professor of Law, Nebraska College of Law
  • Jamil N. Jaffer, Adjunct Professor of Law and Director, Homeland and National Security Law Program, George Mason University School of Law and former Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Racial Pretexts in Peremptory Jury Strikes: The Impact of Foster v. Chatman - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Joseph L. Hoffmann May 25, 2016

The Supreme Court issued its 7-1 ruling in Foster v. Chatman on May 23, reversing the Supreme Court of Georgia and remanding the case. Foster was convicted of murder and sentenced to death three decades ago by an all-white jury. The prosecutor struck all of the black jurors and had plans to do so before the voir dire began. The prosecution presented several race-neutral reasons for striking the jurors, and the Georgia courts ruled against the Batson claim. Foster later gained access to the prosecution's jury-selection notes that showed some racial pretext and used them for a renewed Batson claim. The Georgia courts rejected the claim as barred by state res judicata. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority of the court finding that the court did still have jurisdiction and impermissible racial pretext was apparent for at least two of the state's peremptory strikes. Justice Thomas wrote a firm dissent where he doubted the court's jurisdiction. This Teleforum discussed the ramifications of this decision on the future of Batson deference, res judicata, and how this case might affect capital appeals pending throughout the nation.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Joseph L. Hoffmann, Harry Pratter Professor of Law and Director for Strategic Projects, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Disparate Impact: Reducing Innovation in the Workplace? - Event Audio/Video

Fourth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
Gail Heriot, James P. Scanlan, James Sharf, John S. Irving May 20, 2016

The slogan "Personnel is policy" reflects the principle that hiring the right people is one of the most important things that employers do. An employer with an innovative approach to bringing on board the best people has a critical edge over her competition. But the rise of interpretations of federal employment law that basically give the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") veto power over nearly any employment decision means that many creative ideas about hiring will be stillborn. Notably, the EEOC interprets federal civil rights law not just to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, and age, but also on practices that have a "disparate impact" on members of such groups even if the practice is not actually discriminatory.  Because virtually any job qualification has a disparate impact on members of some such group, this interpretation confers extraordinary powers on the EEOC. Disparate impact is widely believed to have led many employers to abandon paper and pencil tests of cognitive ability. More recently, employers have been discouraged from using the Internet to recruit because racial minorities were thought to lack access to the internet relative to members of other racial and ethnic groups. Further, the EEOC also has put pressure on employers to abandon the use of credit and criminal background checks because of their alleged disparate impact on  racial minorities. This panel will discuss how the metastasis of disparate impact has strangled innovative hiring strategies in these areas as well as others and other perverse consequences of disparate impact's growth.

This panel was presented during the Fourth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference on May 17, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Featuring:

  • Hon. Gail Heriot, United States Commission on Civil Rights, and Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law
  • Mr. James Scanlan, Attorney at Law
  • Mr. James Sharf, Sharf & Associates
  • Moderator: Mr. John Irving, Of Counsel, Kirkland & Ellis

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Regulatory Barriers to Innovation - Event Audio/Video

Fourth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
Krishna Juvvadi, Clark Neily, John O'Neill, Peter Pitsch, Maureen K. Ohlhausen May 20, 2016

American technological innovation has given birth to entire new segments of economic activity. The sharing economy alone has given rise to a new class of entrepreneurs, where web platforms enable companies like AirBnB and Uber to allow the peer-to-peer sharing of houses, cars ... even lawn mowers. Connectivity and big data is driving the Internet of Things revolution, where ideas once only seen in science fiction movies (think self-driving cars) may soon become an everyday reality. And all of these innovations have been made possible thanks to the Internet, which, until recently, has benefitted from a light regulatory touch.

Unfortunately, federal and state agencies have not always welcomed innovation and disruption, even when it enhances overall consumer welfare. What can be done to embrace innovation and American leadership? What role should the state and federal governments play as new economies continue to take shape? What role should the FTC play? How will the FCC's current Net Neutrality rules impact growth? These and other issues will be explored.

This panel was presented during the Fourth Annual Executive Branch Review Conference on May 17, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Featuring:

  • Mr. Krishna Juvvadi, Senior Counsel, Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Mr. Clark Neily, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
  • Prof. John O'Neill, Director, School of Hospitality Management, Penn State
  • Mr. Peter Pitsch, Associate General Counsel and Executive Director of Communications Policy, Intel Corporation
  • Moderator: Hon. Maureen Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC