For months, Syrian and Russian warplanes have bombed Aleppo, killing and wounding residents. Russian officials have referred to the siege as “diplomacy backed by force.” The US Ambassador to the UN has called it “barbarism.” The US and France have called for a War Crimes investigation, but any meaningful action at the UN has been blocked by Russia’s place on the Security Council. In this Teleforum, two distinguished professors with extensive practical experience examined the status of the siege under the Law of Armed Conflict and International Humanitarian Law.
Prof. Laurie R. Blank, Clinical Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
Michael A. Newton, Professor of the Practice of Law Director, Vanderbilt-in-Venice Program, Vanderbilt University Law School
Ronald Meisburg, former National Labor Relations Board Member and General Counsel, joined us to discuss recent updates to joint employment law. Joint Employment is defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act as a form of employment that “exists when an employee is employed by two (or more) employers such that the employers are responsible, both individually and jointly, to the employee for compliance with a statute.”
This issue has risen to the forefront of labor law as President Obama’s Department of Labor has become more aggressive in his last year and as businesses grapple with the coming of a new administration.
Hon. Ronald Meisburg, Special Counsel, Hunton & Williams
In May, the Department of Labor announced a new overtime regulation, which would require all employers to pay overtime to their salaried employees who make under $47,476 annually. The rule was set to take effect on December 1, 2016. However, 21 states filed suit against the federal government claiming that the rule violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and states’ rights by increasing the overtime threshold, which was $23,660 under the FLSA, so drastically and by setting automatic increases to the threshold every three years. The states argue the rule will decrease full-time employment while increasing unemployment and will burden state governments unlawfully under the 10th Amendment by forcing them to conform to the new regulations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business groups also filed their own suit against the law. The cases were consolidated.
On November 16, Judge Mazzant of the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas heard the states' motion for a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the rule. On November 22, Judge Mazzant granted the states’ motion and issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing the new rule. Solicitor General Lawrence VanDyke, Michael Hancock of Cohen Milstein, and Jesse Panuccio of Foley & Larner LLP joined us to discuss the court's ruling and the future of the overtime rule under the new administration.
Mr. Lawrence Van Dyke, Solicitor General of Nevada
The Federalist Society's Legal Classics Revisited series returns to the writing of Professor Alexander Bickel and his last work, The Morality of Consent. In a July 11, 2016 Teleforum, we discussed Bickel's Least Dangerous Branch. The Morality of Consent is far shorter and was in manuscript form when Bickel died. Based on notes of magazine articles and lectures rather than on the author's plan for a single text, the book is unified by its larger themes rather than a conventional outline.
Professor Bickel viewed the mid-20th century as a time when the American legal system was challenged by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam protests, and a national reaction led by Richard Nixon. Each raised questions about obedience to the law as it existed. These events from generations ago led Bickel to consider the process by which Americans made law and came to accept and obey it. He worked hard to define the paradox presented by civil disobedience which seemed to be established within American law and yet carried the potential to destroy both law and ordered society. Contemporary readers will find the effort instructive and successful, at least in part. But questions remain. Bickel addressed other topics which "touch and concern" his questions, his misgivings, and his faith in the enterprise of Law. Bickel grappled with questions that resist final answers in each chapter of his book, a legal classic worth a visit in our own day.
Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine
James A. Haynes, Former Attorney and Alternate Judge, U.S. Dept of Labor, Employees Compensation Appeals Board
John J. Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP
On October 27th, 2016, on a 3-2 party line vote, the Federal Communications Commission adopted controversial new privacy and data security rules for broadband ISPs. The FCC determined such rules were necessary because its Open Internet Order reclassified broadband providers as Title II common carriers. Prior to this reclassification, broadband ISPs operated under the generally applicable privacy and data security framework set forth by the Federal Trade Commission. However, the FCC’s new rules differ from the FTC’s framework in significant ways. Did the FCC need to adopt these new rules to protect consumers, and if so, why? Are there good reasons for these rules to differ from the FTC’s approach, which governs the rest of the Internet? What will be the practical effect of these new rules on companies, competition, and consumers? What might we see from the courts and Congress on this issue in the future? Our panelists discussed these questions and more in a lively Teleforum.