May 2018 Archives

BY EMMA PLATOFF

Texas law prohibits employment discrimination based on a host of factors, including sex, race, religion and disability. But there's no express protection for LGBTQ employees

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Stacy Bailey has been employed as an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School for a decade, but she hasn't been in the classroom since September.

Instead, she's in limbo: She isn't fired -- her contract with the district has even been renewed -- but she's not working.

Mansfield ISD in North Texas put Bailey on paid administrative leave at the start of this school year, following complaints from a parent that she was "promoting the 'homosexual agenda'" by showing her class a photo of her and her now-wife, Julie Vazquez, as well as mentioning that the artist Jasper Johns had a partner, another artist Robert Rauschenberg, Bailey claims in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month.

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 Security Summit: Scammers Pose as Tax Pro Associations

The IRS and its state and industry Security Summit partners alert tax practitioners to a new phishing scheme in which cyber criminals pose as state accounting and tax professional associations. A number of tax professionals have reported to the IRS they have received emails attempting to trick them into disclosing email usernames and passwords.

Cybercriminals specifically targeted tax professionals in Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina and Canada. One awkwardly worded phishing email states: "We kindly request that you follow this link HERE and sign in with your email to view this information from (name of accounting association) to all active members. This announcement has been updated for your kind information through our secure information sharing portal which is linked to your email server."

If you are a member of a professional association, go directly to your association website by typing the address into your browser rather than opening any link or attachment in an email. If you receive a suspicious email regarding taxes, the IRS or phishing attempts to gain access to your client information, forward it to phishing@irs.gov.


Why Today's Seasoned Lawyers Shouldn't Mentor Newbies | Above the Law

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It's possible you're not as wise as you think you are.



Earlier this month, ATL Columnist Jill Switzer took seasoned lawyers to task for their failure to mentor the next generation. But Switzer's criticism presupposes that an experienced lawyers' mentorship carries great value. Spoiler alert: it doesn't. Over the past decade, technologic, economic and social forces have so transformed the legal profession that the worldview and wisdom of Boomer and GenX lawyers hold little relevance.

Celebrating 50 Years of Magistrate Judges | United States Courts

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Magistrate judges play an important role in the judicial process, helping district judges in criminal and civil matters by handling complaints, issuing search warrants, holding preliminary hearings, and much more.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Federal Magistrates Act, a distinguished panel of judges discussed the work of magistrate judges in the federal Judiciary.

The program, "Knowledge Seminar: Magistrate Judges -- Integral to the Judiciary," was recorded on April 3 in Washington, D.C.


Watch the video....




This free two-hour broadcast is for tax professionals and covers:
  • Changes to the regulations governing tax practice before the IRS (Circular 230 Rev. 6/2014)
  • Due Diligence obligations of tax professionals
  • Overview of other key Circular 230 provisions
  • Practitioner responsibilities to their clients and the Tax Administration System
  • Best practices for tax professionals
  • Office of Professional Responsibility Policies and Procedures

Register for this session.


By Katie Benner

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive on Thursday that places limits on a tool commonly used by immigration judges and could put hundreds of thousands of deportation cases that are essentially closed back on federal court dockets.

The move, issued in an interim decision, is unlikely to reopen all the cases. But Mr. Sessions said that immigration courts could not put such cases on indefinite hold by using a practice known as administrative closure, which temporarily removes a case from a judge's calendar and delays a proceeding that could remove an immigrant from the country.

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Read more...

Read the ruling. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 




BY GENNIE GEBHART

A group of researchers recently released a paper that describes a new class of serious vulnerabilities in the popular encryption standard PGP (including GPG) as implemented in email clients. Until the flaws described in the paper are more widely understood and fixed, users should arrange for the use of alternative end-to-end secure channels, such as Signal, and temporarily stop sending and especially reading PGP-encrypted email. See EFF's analysis and FAQ for more detail.




BY DINA ROTH PORT


Through my job as director of content at Rocket Matter, I've learned a lot about this profession. One thing that has really stood out to me is how many lawyers are suffering.

Our website recently ran a five-part series on depression, substance abuse and wellness in the legal industry. The statistics are staggering: Lawyers are 3.6 times as likely to be depressed as people in other jobs, while the landmark 2016 American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation study found that 28 percent of licensed, employed lawyers suffer with depression. The study also showed that 19 percent have symptoms of anxiety and 21 percent are problem drinkers.

Many organizations are trying to help fight this epidemic. For instance, we're hosting our first Legal Wellness Retreat in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts on July 18 to July 20. Also, the ABA provides a very comprehensive list of helpful resources for lawyersjudges and law students, along with links to lawyer assistance programsthroughout the country.


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 Reversing the determination that a New Jersey law repealing prohibitions on sports gambling violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, making it unlawful for a State or its subdivisions to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize betting on sports because by permitting sports betting the State was authorizing sports betting under the statute as PASPA was held to violate the anticommandeering rule stating that Congress cannot commandeer the legislative process of States by directly compelling them to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program.

The May 15 filing deadline for Form 990-series information returns is fast approaching. Form 990-series information returns and notices are normally due on the fifteenth day of the fifth month after an organization's tax-year ends. Many organizations use the calendar year as their tax year, making May 15, 2018, the deadline to file for 2017.


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Russians' Biggest Facebook Ad Promoted 'Blue Lives Matter'

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A Kremlin-backed propaganda campaign designed to sow chaos in the U.S. electorate had its biggest hit with an ad ostensibly backing American law enforcement.

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Chimpanzee. Taken at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Chimpanzee. Taken at the Los Angeles Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



May 8, 2018--New York, NY--Today, Eugene M. Fahey--an Associate Judge on New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals--issued an opinion that is already being seen as an historic mark of progress in the fight to secure fundamental legal rights for nonhuman animals.

Without giving a ground for its action, the Court of Appeals as a whole again refused to hear our motion for further review of a lower court decision on behalf of chimpanzees Tommy and Kiko. This in itself is not significant insofar as the Court of Appeals rejects the vast majority of motions it receives for permission to appeal.

But Judge Fahey's concurring opinion makes clear that the decision not to hear Tommy and Kiko's cases was not made on the merits of the NhRP's claim.

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Here are three remarkable excerpts from the opinion:

"In elevating our species, we should not lower the status of other highly intelligent species."

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"To treat a chimpanzee as if he or she had no right to liberty protected by habeas corpus is to regard the chimpanzee as entirely lacking independent worth, as a mere resource for human use, a thing the value of which consists exclusively in its usefulness to others. Instead, we should consider whether a chimpanzee is an individual with inherent value who has the right to be treated with respect."

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"In the interval since we first denied leave to the Nonhuman Rights Project, I have struggled with whether this was the right decision. Although I concur in the Court's decision to deny leave to appeal now, I continue to question whether the Court was right to deny leave in the first instance. The issue whether a nonhuman animal has a fundamental right to liberty protected by the writ of habeas corpus is profound and far-reaching. It speaks to our relationship with all the life around us. Ultimately, we will not be able to ignore it. While it may be arguable that a chimpanzee is not a 'person,' there is no doubt that it is not merely a thing."

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IRS (@IRStaxpros) | Twitter

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Follow IRS on Twitter

Did you know the IRS has a Twitter account that provides news and guidance tailored for tax professionals? 

Get the latest news and updates affecting you and your clients by following IRSTaxPros at https://twitter.com/irstaxpros.



TEACHING LAW & RELIGION CASE STUDY ARCHIVE
RELIGION
For researchers, instructors, and policymakers at the intersection of religion and law, the Teaching Law & Religion Case Study Archive is a helpful collection of open-access resources related to the topic. This resource list is compiled by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, a religious studies professor at Indiana University and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, a political science professor at Northwestern University. The archive also features the work of a number of scholars. As of this write-up, the case studies portion of the archive features nine different case studies from around the globe, each containing a synopsis and a number of related readings that provide additional context and analysis. For instance, one case study discusses South Africa's Muslim Marriage Bill, which was introduced in 2010 and, if passed, would provide legal recognition for Muslim marriages. Another case study involves the 2009 court case R(E) v. The Governing Body of JFS, in which the UK Supreme Court assessed the legality of the admissions policy at a Jewish school. In addition to the case studies collection, this resource contains a collection of college-level syllabi and an extensive bibliography for those interested in further research. [MMB]

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.edu

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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A lawyer who said she had missed a filing deadline because of a family emergency in Mexico City was sanctioned $10,000 by a federal magistrate judge who said Instagram photos showed she was actually in New York City at the time.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hammer granted a motion to sanction New York-based lawyer Lina Franco in an April 26 opinion, report Law360, the New Jersey Law Journal and NJ.com.

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The SCOTUS dose not allow cameras in the courtroom during oral arguments so if you want to see what happens during a Supreme Court case you have to make the video yourself.

( Perhaps the Justices will be annoyed enough by the animation and their avatars to allow actual video coverage.)

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