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Neutral Panels No Panacea for Gerrymandering Ills

April 4, 2019, 11:28 AM

The Supreme Court’s newest justices—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—pointed to independent redistricting commissions as a way for the court to continue to stay out of contentious partisan gerrymandering fights.

  • Neutral Solution: The justices have struggled for decades to come up with a way to police partisan gerrymandering, but have so far failed to do so.

  • No Panacea: But these commissions—which move redistricting out of the hands of legislators and into bipartisan or nonpartisan commissions—might not be the solution the justices hope for. Kimberly Robinson reports.

Ex-Big Law Lawyer Proposes Big Law Tax

Lori Lightfoot, Chicago mayor-elect and former Mayer Brown partner recently proposed that large law firms and professional services firms in the Windy City be subject to a special tax that would help the city repair fiscal issues.

  • Hard to Implement: Lightfoot’s proposal, if it is ever implemented, would likely irk Big Law attorneys in a city full of them, and it also could be very tricky to put into practice.

  • Big Revenue: Despite the complexities, the mayor-to-be believes taxing firm transactions could be a real fix. “Putting a small fee on the invoices they send their clients will barely be noticed, but yet could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue,” she said in a radio interview. Melissa Heelan Stanzione has the story.

Altman Considered Post-Nuclear Option

Podhurst Orseck partner and federal district court nominee Roy Altman is headed to a confirmation vote today. He’s the first Trump nominee to be considered under a Senate rules change to speed consideration of judicial appointments.

  • Federalist, Prosecutor: Altman is a member of the Federalist Society, an organization of conservatives and libertarians, and won 30 criminal cases as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida, where he’d sit as a judge.

  • More Coming: A wave of district nominees is now expected to start moving through the Senate under the new rules, with President Trump having named 55 more. Patrick Gregory is following.

Jones Day Accused of Discrimination, Pay Bias

Jones Day has been caught in the wave of gender bias allegations against premier law firms after six women filed a lawsuit accusing it of systemic discrimination against its female associates. The women allege in their proposed class and collective action that bias and retaliation runs rampant at Jones Day because of its “black box” compensation system and the high level of control exercised by its managing partner, Porter Wells and Robert Iafolla report.

  • Firm v. Firm: The women are represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp, a plaintiff-side firm that has brought similar gender bias lawsuits against Morrison & Foerster, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Proskauer Rose and other law firms.

  • Bias Endemic in Big Law? “The cases you see filed are the tip of the iceberg,” a Sanford Heisler attorney said. “There are other cases that were resolved before a public filing.”

Gorsuch Book to Address Confirmation Fight

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch will release a book in September. “A Republic, If You Can Keep It” will reflect on, among other things, his contentious confirmation.

  • Two Earlier Books: Gorsuch, who previously wrote two books before ascending to the high court, joins a number of his colleagues who have authored memoirs while a justice, often bringing in six-figure royalties.

  • Far Behind Douglas: The most prolific justice was William O. Douglas, who wrote 51 books in his lifetime. Greg Stohr, Patrick Gregory, and Kimberly Robinson have the story.

SUPREME COURT

Deep Dive (PODCAST): Thomas Speaks!
Cases and Controversies is adding a new, reoccurring segment to the high court podcast. In these Deep Dive episodes, Bloomberg Law reporters and their guests will recap the major developments from the previous Supreme Court sitting, focusing on notable orders, important opinions, and significant oral arguments.

DirecTV Customers Stuck With Arbitration After SCOTUS Trip
DirecTV Inc. will keep consumer claims in a long-running case over termination fees out of court after a California appeals court dismissed the consumers’ appeal.

SCOTUS Asked to Hear $30M Suit by Feds Over Findlay Pension
Companies connected to defunct auto parts maker Findlay Industries asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision that would allow them to be liable for $30 million in Findlay’s pension liabilities.

EYE ON THE BENCH

Even With Changes McConnell May Struggle to Fill Trump Team
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s plan to more quickly fill administration jobs is unlikely to clear a confirmation logjam aggravated by longtime vacancies and the turnover of high-level political appointees.

LEGAL PROFESSION

Jones Day Accused by Female Attorneys of Sex Bias, Unequal Pay
Six women say they will file a lawsuit against international law firm Jones Day accusing it of systemic discrimination against its female associates by way of lower pay and narrowed career opportunities.

Ohio Judge Reprimanded for Hearing Cases He Once Litigated
Probate Judge Robert Nathaniel Rusu Jr. committed misconduct by hearing multiple cases in which he was previously the attorney of record and failing to notify clients after his judicial appointment that he was terminating his representation, the Ohio Supreme Court said.

Texas Lawyer May Face Discipline for Threats to Medical Providers
A Texas attorney may face professional discipline for threats he made to medical providers, a state appeals court ruled.

CASE ALERT

First Parent to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scandal
The first of 33 parents charged in the U.S. college admissions scandal said he intended to plead guilty as at least two other parents said they are in talks with prosecutors.

Puerto Rico Telecom Bid-Rigger Must Pay Restitution
A restitution award of about $408,000 against a Puerto Rico man convicted of steering a government contract to a co-conspirator isn’t excessive, the First Circuit ruled.

Warrant Not Needed to Search Crawlspace After Hostage Situation
The arsenal of guns found in the crawlspace of Willie Cooks’s house after he was captured following a hostage situation didn’t need to be suppressed in his trial, the Eleventh Circuit said.

No Remedy for Defendant After Government Reneged on Plea Deal
A defendant claiming the government didn’t uphold its end of a plea deal when it refused to authorize a sentence below the statutory minimum didn’t show the decision was made in bad faith, the Tenth Circuit said.

Double Jeopardy Not Violated by Mistrial Over Prosecutor Injury
A Minnesota man’s retrial and conviction for sexual assault, two months after a mistrial caused by a prosecutor’s back injury, didn’t violate his constitutional right not to face double jeopardy.

Drug Use Confession Not Self-Incrimination at Revocation Hearing
A man’s statement to his probation officer that he was using methamphetamines was properly used to revoke his supervised release, the Fourth Circuit said.

Kentucky’s Top Lawyer Wants Threat to Abortion Rights Ended
A ruling prohibiting Kentucky from enforcing a law requiring abortion clinics to have emergency care agreements with hospitals and ambulance companies must be upheld, the state’s top lawyer says.

Catholic School Challenges Cleveland Suburb’s Ban on Gender Bias
A Catholic high school has brought a constitutional challenge to an Ohio city ordinance barring discrimination in employment and public accommodations based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

PRACTITIONER INSIGHTS

INSIGHT: Stanford Ponzi Scheme Ruling Limits Defenses to Fraudulent Transfer Actions
A court decision requiring an investor in R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme to return repayment of its investment—not just its profits—shows fraudulent transfer law can be harsh. Akerman partner Michael Napoli provides guidance for investors to help protect themselves.

INSIGHT: Avoiding Women Is No #MeToo Answer—Good Training, Messaging Is
Since the #MeToo movement started, employers are working to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct, but now many men may feel at risk and avoid women altogether. Jonathan Segal of Duane Morris offers training and messaging tips for employers to ease the anxiety some men feel in the workplace.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Stalled Trump Nominations Get ‘Nuclear’ Push From McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell deployed the so-called “nuclear option” Wednesday by changing the Republican-controlled chamber’s rules to speed approval of President Donald Trump’s nominees who have been slow-walked by Democrats.

Democrats Vote to Demand Mueller’s Full Report, Setting Up Clash
House Democrats voted Wednesday to authorize a subpoena demanding that Attorney General William Barr turn over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full Russia report and all the evidence behind it, potentially touching off a legal clash that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

To Pry Open Trump Secrets, Democrats Add a Onetime Secret-Keeper
Douglas N. Letter spent four decades defending presidential power and secrecy at the Justice Department. Now he’s the architect of the House of Representatives’ legal strategy to force the Trump administration to cooperate with congressional investigators.

WORKFLOWS


Cooley added tax lawyer Jeffrey Tolin as a partner in New York from Hogan Lovells | McGuireWoods hired Deepak Reddy as a partner in New York from Winston & Strawn | Ballard Spahr has rehired Kim Phan to the firm’s Privacy and Data Security Group in Washington | Orrick announced that Vincent Casey has returned to the firm’s Energy & Infrastructure Group in New York from Ashurst | Littler added Megan I. Brennan as of counsel to Minneapolis from Cargill | Eversheds Sutherland announced that Eric J. Coffill has returned as senior counsel to the State and Local Tax (SALT) Practice in Sacramento | Blank Rome added partners Mitchell M. Brand and Harris J. Diamond to the Finance, Restructuring, and Bankruptcy group in New York from Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP | Alston & Bird hired senior trial attorney Terance “Tery” Gonsalves as a partner in Atlanta from Steptoe & Johnson LLP | Dykema said that Thomas H. Hutchinson rejoined its Litigation Department in Los Angeles from Veatch Carlson | Winston & Strawn added Jason Goldstein as a partner in New York from DLA Piper.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com; Jessie Kokrda Kamens in Washington at Jessie Kokrda Kamens;Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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