May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

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Quote of the Day - With the majority of Fortune 500 companies having domestic partner benefits, it becomes an issue of being able to recruit and retain [employees]. - Jay Fissette
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New Domestic Partner Law to Get Votes & Challenge

California Governor in Residence Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 205 into law last night, guaranteeing two things:

1. A court challenge to the act, which grants certain domestic partner rights, a step closer to removing the differences between gay and married couples; and,

2. More votes to overcome the recall.

The bill applies as well to straight couples that live together who are not married, should they elect to take advantage of the law's benefits. One of those "advantages" inlcudes the obligation to be responsible for their domestic partner's debts. With rights come responsibilities.

Surprisingly, California's law does not go as far as Vermont law, which endorses civil unions.

The Left Coast got left behind on this one.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, September 20, 2003 at 22:34. Comments Closed (0) |

Blawg, Blawg, Blawg - One to Note

Not to steal any thunder from Bag and Baggage's earlier announcment back in late July, but there's an interesting new blog that's popped up into the news again today: Ms. Morality.

You may remember Michelle Quist Mumford, as this article points out. She's a former third-year associate at Millbank Tweed, which got into a row with Ms. [Mumford] Morality when she announced her pregnancy. Ms. Mumford says she was then "ignored, shunned, rejected."

She quit back in April and now completely gone from Millbank's website, she's nonetheless not done with Millbank.

The author of today's news article in American Lawyer, Vivia Chen, writes, "[Mumford] claims she was treated like a 'leper' the moment she announced her pregnancy at the firm." Chen also covered the story back in June, and has an interesting perspective on why some law firms succeed in converting female associates into partners.

I suspect Ms. Mumford would recommend that article to Millbank's managing partner.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, September 19, 2003 at 10:06. Comments Closed (0) |

Number One on the Google Search Engine

Some use the Google search engine as the measure of success for web presence.

If that's the case, then MIPTC is doing pretty good. Run this search for this weblog, and we pop up as number one.

MIPTC has been up and running for just over two months, and you've been making it successful. Thanks!

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, September 18, 2003 at 13:00. Comments Closed (0) |

Patriotism or Capitalism? Or are they the same?

The New York Post, a veritable bastion of legal news, plastered a headline about an old-line New York law firm that committed to remain in lower Manhattan, near ground zero.

The paper quoted Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft LLP signed a lease for 450,000-square-feet of space at One World Financial Center." Cadwalader, first established in 1792, has made an astounding deal.

The firm was awarded a $5.3 million government grant to remain in lower Manhattan, and $1 million over 15 years toward energy costs. Cadwalader is also eligible to receive another $3.4 million to add up to 400 additional jobs over the next five years. In return, the firm committed to a seven-year stay.

Wow.

Here in California, companies are leaving in droves, with some 17% of businesses presently in the state planning to leave. Now we know where some are going.

At least I'm going to call up Bloomberg and find out what kind of deal I can get.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, September 18, 2003 at 09:40. Comments Closed (0) |

Celts Corral Cigars - California Style

California's smoking ban has wound it's way across the country, with New York enacting a similar ban earlier this year.

Now it's crossed the big pond and is set to go into law in Ireland in January 2004. Not all are happy about it, though.

The Irish Independent newspaper (they couldn't have chosen any other name and gotten away with it), notes that the century-old tradition is about to go up in smoke.

Cigar smoking is something of a national pastime in Ireland, with a significant number of female smokers, too. The venerable JJ Fox has been on Grafton Street in Dublin for 122 years, and even Mr. Fox says he needs an exemption from the ban because "we ourselves have to test the cigars to find out if they are a good or bad vintage."

Especially if you have cigars in your humidor from 1948, as JJ Fox does. For me, I'll stick with my favorite style - Cubana cigars, which I haven't been able to find in the U.S.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 at 08:04. Comments Closed (1) |

Hanging Chads and Hanging Voters

Now we wait until March, unless the U.S. Supremes elect (no pun intended) to hear the California gubenatorial challenge. In what is otherwise a wonderful historic lesson in voting processes - extending all the way back to the black and white fava bean method (see "Discussion") in revolutionary times - the Ninth Circuit voted "No" on the recall.

The well-written opinon tracks past history and into the present "disenfrancisement" of California voters given the "antiquated" voting system we now have in place. The 9th Circuit thinks in one place that about 40,000 voters may not have their votes counted, and in another that it may extend to 44% of California counties.

300,000 California voters have already voted.

The three Circuit Judges (the old joke is that there is no "Justice" in the 9th Circuit), then move into legal analysis of the injunction and voting rights.

The beginning section of the opinon contains this colorful gem: "In this case, Plaintiffs allege that the fundamental right to have votes counted in the special recall election is infringed because the pre-scored punchcard voting systems used in some California counties are intractably inflicted with technologic dyscalculia."

Huh? This 37-word sentence says it all. Heck, even I'm afraid to vote now. No wonder they put off the election.

Dyscalculia? Webster's defines it as: "Impairment of the ability to solve mathematical problems, usually resulting from brain dysfunction." That must translate into a difficulty to count votes.

I don't know. Last time I counted something, I started with 1, 2, 3, 4 and kept going. The problem, though, is in the proverbial hanging chad, a la Florida-style. The University of Iowa's Douglas W. Jones provides a lesson in hanging chads from a computer science perspective. But that's not the only issue.

The Supreme Court faces several problems in hearing the case. First, there's hardly enough time to render an opinion (the election was originally scheduled for October 7), second, the Justices came under fire for their involvement between Bush and Gore, and third, there's no hard evidence - only the spectre of prospective harm. MIPTC predicts the Supremes will turn down the opportunity to resolve the dispute because other than the delay, what's the harm?

Even without such a resolution, if our voting system was so flawed, then why didn't California have the disaster that Florida had in the last election (i.e. when we elected Gray Davis)? I don't know who's got the brain dysfunction here, but I don't think it's California voters.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 at 08:05. Comments Closed (1) |

Ahhhnold is Temporarily Terminated

The Ninth Circuit delayed the election for the California Governor in a 66-page opinion.

I haven't read it all yet, but will have some thoughts on it later. The only thing I will note, however, is that on cases taken on certorari by the U.S. Supreme Court, general estimates place the reversal rate of 9th Circuit rulings over 90 percent. The end of the 9th Circuit's opinion gives the California Secretary of State just one week to appeal the decision before the injunction goes into effect.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 15, 2003 at 10:46. Comments Closed (0) |

Diesel Emission Limits Under Study

An internal EPA report recommends tightening the standards for soot emissions. The Washington Times notes that this report may result in stricter standards for diesel emissions.

The standards already in place from the Clinton era address soot emissons below 15 micrograms of soot per cubic meter of air. Although in place since 1997, these standards have been the subject of several challenges.

In the draft report, EPA staff analysis recommends the allowable concentrations be reduced further, possibly as much as 50 percent for the 24-hour standard and 20 percent for the annual average standard.

Bill Kovacs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims that more regulation will cost U.S. businesses between $50 to $150 billon dollars. American Lung Association representatives seemed pleased with the report. The ALA originally criticized the EPA for failing to adopt these tighter standards in 1997.

Glen Kedzie, Assistant General and Environmental Counsel for the American Trucking Association has been leading the fight against tighter standards.

An EPA spokesperson said that the 442-page report was in draft form and had not yet been reviewed by other scientific peers. New regulations are not expected until after 2005.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 15, 2003 at 08:17. Comments Closed (1) |



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