Mark Paoletta and Michael Pack have co-edited a new book, Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words, which is a follow-on project of Michael Pack’s very successful 2020 documentary of the same name. In making the film, Pack interviewed Justice Thomas for 25 hours. Created Equal is a book-length interview taken from those 25 hours of interviews, where Justice Thomas discusses in an informal and moving way his remarkable life – from being born into abject poverty in 1948 in the segregated Deep South of Georgia to being a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. He talks about the challenges he faced and overcame, including his contentious confirmation battle in 1991. 95% of what is in the book did not appear in the film.

Co-editor Mark Paoletta joined us for a discussion of one of our most interesting justices. Mr. Paoletta served as a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office in the George H.W. Bush administration and worked on the confirmation of Justice Thomas. He is a partner at Schaerr-Jaffe.

Americans have been privately manufacturing and assembling firearms since before this country’s founding. Now, thanks to the prevalence of commercially available firearm parts, “buy, build, shoot” kits, and 3D printers, it is easier than ever to build a gun in the comfort of one’s own home, which bypasses many of the statutory and regulatory regimes that govern buying a fully built firearm from a gun store.

To some, this represents a loophole in America’s gun laws. Others see this as a modern innovation in the tradition of home gun building that has always existed in America.

With billions of dollars allocated to broadband funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the future of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF) is a hotly debated topic. Now, with multiple lawsuits challenging the very legality of the USF contribution system, as well as new guidance from the Supreme Court on the limits of federal agencies’ power, the future of the Fund hangs in the balance. Join industry experts to discuss the issues raised in Consumers’ Research v. FCC and where the lawsuits stand in the aftermath of West Virginia v. EPA.
Featuring:

Robert Frieden, Emeritus Professor of Telecommunications and Law, Penn State University
Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for the Economics of the Internet, Hudson Institute
Michael Romano, Sr. VP of Industry Affairs and Business Development, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
Moderator: Arielle Roth, Legislative Counsel, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt

Please join the Federalist Society’s Practice Groups for a virtual event on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court decided this case in a 6-3 decision. The Court reversed and remanded the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, holding that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey are overruled; and that the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court. Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions. Chief Justice Roberts filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan filed a dissenting opinion.
Please join our team of legal experts to discuss the significance of this case.
Featuring:

Prof. Daniel Farber, Sho Shato Professor of Law, University of California – Berkeley; former law clerk, Justice John Paul Stevens
Carrie Severino, President, Judicial Crisis Network; former law clerk, Justice Clarence Thomas
Moderator: Hon. Thomas B. Griffith, former Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
Host: Dean Reuter, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, The Federalist Society

It is growing practice within the business community to engage in diversity initiatives in hiring, promotion, and outside contracting. A network of interrelated state and federal laws and regulations including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and enforced by the EEOC outlaw discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. But it may not be clear what the law permits when it comes to discrimination on the basis of race.

Should preferences for race or sex be unlawful in the context of hiring, promotions, professional opportunities or contracting?

Much has been written, published and broadcast about a Divided America—especially now, with the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Political divisions, often bitter, however, have existed since the Founding. But how can we know whether the so-called Divided America is something new, something traditional that has become more noticeable due to the ease of spreading information, or maybe a combination of the two?
Join us for a special webinar presentation from Dr. John S. Baker, Professor Emeritus, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University.
Featuring:
Dr. John S. Baker, Professor Emeritus, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University
Moderator: Dean Reuter, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, The Federalist Society

On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court decided New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. In a 6-3 decision, the Court struck down New York’s handgun licensing law that required New Yorkers to demonstrate a “proper cause” in order to be granted a license to carry a pistol or revolver in public. The petitioners, Brandon Koch and Robert Nash, were denied licenses to carry a firearm in public after listing their generalized interest in self-defense as the reason for seeking the license. New York denied their license application because a generalized interest in self-defense failed to satisfy the state’s proper cause requirement. Both men sued, claiming that New York had violated their Second Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights in doing so. A district court dismissed their claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed.
Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court, in the first major case on firearms regulation that the Court has considered in over a decade.
Please join our legal expert to discuss the case, the legal issues involved, and the implications for the future of firearm regulation in America.

Featuring:
Prof. Mark W. Smith, Visiting Fellow in Pharmaceutical Public Policy and Law in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford; Presidential Scholar and Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy, The King’s College; Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow of Law and Public Policy, Ave Maria School of Law

To register, please click the link above

Senior officials in the Administration have expressed concern about cryptocurrencies being used for criminal activity and undermining the dollar as the global reserve currency. These concerns have been heightened with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, evasion of sanctions including North Korean sanctions, cyberattacks, and ransomware. Others contend that blockchain transactions are easier to trace than physical cash, and that the Administration’s concerns are exaggerated and could stifle innovation. China has banned cryptocurrencies and developed its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). It appears that the digital yuan will be used by the Chinese government for surveillance purposes to closely monitor personal transactions and behavior. A number of other regimes, including Canada, have used the banking and monetary system to silence dissidents. Some say that dissidents and citizens in countries that have unstable fiat currencies have turned to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to escape the national currency and protect their rights; other say cryptocurrencies are used by criminals and terrorists.
This very timely panel will discuss whether the US can develop policies on digital assets that both protect freedom and privacy and maintain our safety from bad actors, and what the trade-offs with the dollar’s international role might be.
Featuring:
Hon. Mick Mulvaney, Co-Chair, Actum LLC; Former Director, Office of Management and Budget
Hon. Kathy Kraninger, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Solidus Labs; Former Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Michele Korver, Head of Regulatory, a16z Crypto
Norbert Michel, Vice President and Director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, Cato Institute
Moderator: Dina Ellis Rochkind, Counsel, Government Affairs and Strategy, Paul Hastings

In February of 2019, then General Counsel of the Department of Transportation (DOT), Steven Bradbury, issued a memo later dubbed the “Bradbury Memo” that addressed concerns about civil enforcement abuse at the agency. Parts of the memo were subsequently made into binding DOT rules. DOT asserted that these rules were designed to protect the due process rights of those who were the subject of DOT enforcement actions, including a requirement that the agency disclose all exculpatory evidence to those targeted by civil enforcement and the prohibition of “fishing expedition” investigations without sufficient evidence to support a violation.

On April 2, 2021, DOT rescinded these rules without the opportunity for public comment. Thereafter Polyweave Packaging inc., a company that had been issued a civil penalty order by DOT over alleged regulatory violations, filed suit against DOT claiming the agency violated its due process rights by revoking the Bradbury Memo rules.

On May 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Morgan v. Sundance. In a rare 9-0 decision, the Court vacated and remanded the judgment of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, holding that federal courts may not adopt an arbitration-specific rule conditioning a finding of waiver of the right to arbitrate on a showing of prejudice to the other party. Though this had been a relatively common analysis, the Court rejected it, cabining any concept that there is a “policy favoring arbitration.” The Court reinterpreted that to mean only that federal courts may not invent special, arbitration-preferring procedural rules. “[A] court must hold a party to its arbitration contract just as the court would to any other kind.” The Court went on to say that “a court may not devise novel rules to favor arbitration over litigation.” But the Court also left open the role of state law and what rules can apply, including waiver, forfeiture, estoppel, laches, or procedural timeliness.
Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court.
Please join our legal experts to discuss the case, the legal issues involved, and the implications for these parties and other litigation parties going forward.
Featuring:

Erika Birg, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Richard D. Faulkner, FCIArb., Arbitrator, Attorney & Former Professor of ADR Law

This webinar will explore issues raised by the raft of state and federal initiatives on Critical Race Theory and related topics. Issues will include the scope of state authority over the content of education, with special attention to differences between K-12 and public universities. Varying features of state-level CRT bills will be discussed, as well as the characterization of their content from supporters and detractors.
On the state level, state education standards, “book banning”, and legislation pertaining to curriculum transparency, “action civics,” and “diversity statements” will be discussed. Moves to control educational content at the federal level through grantmaking will also be covered.

Featuring:
Stanley Kurtz, Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

To register, click the link above

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which commits approximately $65 billion towards broadband expansion. Wisely, Section 60104(c) of the Act directs the Federal Communications Commission to submit to Congress “a report on the options of the Commission for improving its effectiveness in achieving the universal service goals for broadband in light of this Act” within 270 days of enactment. Congress also invited the Commission to make “recommendations … on further actions the Commission and Congress could take to improve the ability of the Commission to achieve the universal service goals for broadband.” Last December, the FCC launched a Notice of Inquiry to begin this process. Please join us for a teleforum with industry experts to discuss the legal, economic and policy implications of this important proceeding.

Featuring:

The United States is – perhaps now more than ever before – a global energy powerhouse. From oil and gas production to the expansion of new energy technologies, the United States has made gains in achieving long-heralded calls for energy independence and energy security, while also reducing environmental impacts associated with energy production, generation, transportation, and use. Many are calling for even more accelerated environmental progress, particularly on the climate front. While rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics – in Europe and elsewhere – are placing the United States’ energy sector and its capabilities to meet global energy needs at the forefront, a host of federal and state environmental regulatory regimes continue to pose substantial hurdles to energy-related goals and priorities. Energy pipelines, export facilities, oil and gas production, mining projects, transmission systems, and a host of other energy projects must navigate a labyrinth of regulatory reviews and approvals – from NEPA to the Clean Water Act to the Endangered Species Act and beyond. This panel of distinguished legal and policy experts will debate the goals and priorities of U.S. energy and environmental policy, administrative law dynamics affecting the energy sector, the role of climate policy and energy technologies, and the implications of these factors for our Nation’s national security in light of the war in Ukraine and other recent geopolitical events.

Featuring:

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear two cases this fall that challenge race preferential admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, questions have arisen about how colleges typically use race preferences and whether such use is fair and lawful. This webinar will address how and when race is commonly used in college admissions, whether colleges and universities are generally following the existing law, and what if any safeguards colleges use to ensure that line admissions officers use race to further only legally permissible goals. The panelists will also discuss what some find the surprising fact that Asian American applicants are more likely to be displaced by race-preferential admissions than white students and whether this practice is fair. Finally, the presenters may also address the fairness of other non-academic factors widely used in admissions, such as preferences for legacies, recruited athletes, or the children of large donors.

Featuring:

As the cryptocurrency industry grows, state and federal governments are considering how that industry should be regulated. The President has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to report soon on the issues involved. A draft bill that would regulate stablecoins has been released in the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, states are competing with one another to adopt regulatory laws that may attract cryptocurrency firms to their welcoming, but taxing, arms striving for economic growth.

Will regulation be designed to avoid discouraging innovation in a highly creative environment? Fears have been expressed that unregulated cryptocurrency could theoretically present systemic risk, and consumers may need to be protected–particularly in light of the recent collapse of the Luna cryptocurrency and its related Terra stablecoin. Some believe that regulation may be an opportunity to include those presently unserved by the banking system. Complicating this already complicated picture may be rivalry among multiple federal agencies, including the banking regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission, each of which may make a case for potential authority over aspects of the cryptocurrency industry. Our panel of experts will address these timely and controversial questions.

On October 21, 2021, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced a nearly $200 million whistleblower award, the largest in history. The award was related to more than $3 billion in sanctions by the CFTC and foreign regulators. The award, so large that it emptied the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s fund for whistleblower awards, was criticized as “relating to an action by a foreign futures authority to address harm outside the United States.” Join us as we speak with David Kovel, attorney for the whistleblower and managing partner of Kirby McInerney LLP, as he discusses his role in this record-shattering award, the challenges he faced, and the public policy questions we face.

Featuring:

In Thompson v. Clark, the plaintiff sought to bring a civil suit claiming he was the victim of a wrongful seizure after police allegedly entered his apartment without a warrant based on unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse. Thompson was charged with resisting arrest amid the warrantless raid, but prosecutors subsequently elected to drop this criminal case. The question that then arose was whether this result, though short of a formal exoneration, was sufficient to meet the requirement that there be a favorable conclusion of the criminal case against Thompson before he could pursue his civil suit. In this discussion, attorneys for amici on both sides will explore which justices got it right and the implications of this ruling in future cases for prosecutors, defendants, and civil litigants.

Background

Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) are the subject of a global debate. In one version, individuals and businesses would hold deposits directly with the central bank. Critics point out that the Federal Reserve would then control how these deposits are used, allocating credit to private-sector borrowers and to government spending, arguing that CBDCs would eviscerate the private banking industry and create government surveillance of all financial transactions in the accounts. An alternate version is that CBDCs take the form of a tokenized dollars, distributed through the banking system and operating in parallel with paper currency and bank accounts. Supporters say this could yield lower transaction costs and more rapid settlement of payments, and could strengthen the international role of the U.S. dollar.

Featuring:

Last fall, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced significant changes to Department of Justice policies on corporate criminal enforcement, including the use of monitors, review of prior misconduct, and cooperation. As Monaco stated, “This is a start — and not the end — of this administration’s actions to better combat corporate crime.” These changes and the Administration’s formation of a Corporate Crime Advisory Group signal a shift in DOJ’s commitment to ferreting out corporate crimes and more rigorous enforcement activities. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced its own intention to conduct faster investigations, bring bigger cases, and to seek harsher penalties. In his first speech on enforcement, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler quoted the agency’s first Chair, Joseph Kennedy, to summarize his own agenda: “The Commission will make war without quarter on any who sells securities by fraud or misrepresentation.” Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, has also requested that Congress expand the CFTC’s enforcement powers and professed the agency’s readiness to serve as the “primary cop on the beat” for cryptocurrency markets.

Former DOJ prosecutor Luke Cass and Britt Biles, who held former senior legal roles at the SEC, the White House, and the U.S. Small Business Administration will explain these policy shifts and discuss the risks for corporate America under this new era, additional priority enforcement areas for the Administration, and what these new policies mean for the future of corporate compliance.

On March 31, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Badgerow v. Walters. In an 8-1 decision, the Court reversed and remanded the judgment of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, holding that Vaden’s “look-through” approach to determining federal jurisdiction does not apply to requests to confirm or vacate arbitral awards under Sections 9 and 10 of the FAA.

Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion.