Domestic and international arbitration has been the subject of considerable activity before the U.S. Supreme Court over most of the last decade. The Supreme Court’s last term (2021-2022) was no exception, with the Court deciding five arbitration-related cases, with additional cases in the Court’s current term. This program will concentrate on recent and currently Supreme Court pending cases concerning international and domestic arbitration, as well as hot topics before the Circuit Courts that may rise to the Court in the near future.

Featuring:
— Manuel Farach, Shareholder, Mrachek, Fitzgerald, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss, P.A.
— Joshua B. Simmons, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
— Moderator: Harout Jack Samra, Of Counsel, DLA Piper

Social media platforms have emerged as the new “town square” and a key forum for public debate, but some have questioned whether that debate is as open and robust as it should be. On the other hand, some worry that efforts to regulate social media platforms may themselves crimp debate. At the heart of the discussion is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. A panel of experts discussed what Section 230 permits and doesn’t permit—a question now before a number of courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Google.

Featuring:
– Ashkhen Kazaryan, Senior Fellow, Free Speech & Peace, Stand Together
– Randolph May, President, The Free State Foundation
– Joel Thayer, President, Digital Progress Institute
– Moderator: Boyd Garriott, Associate, Wiley Rein LLP

In an abrupt shift away from decades of tradition, Ukraine’s current National Bar arose from the adoption of a new model in 2013. The “Law On the Bar and Practice of Law” emerged amid recurring east-west tensions and pressures for domestic reform. This legislation produced an all-Ukrainian, non-governmental, non-profit organization that promotes adjudicatory reform. It has been recognized by the International Bar Association and the European Council of Bars and Law Societies.

Join Dr. Valentyn Gvozdiy, Vice President of the Ukrainian National Bar Association, for a conversation led by George Bogden regarding the origin of this independent body.

Cy pres is the practice of awarding class-action settlement funds to third-party organizations when distribution of settlement funds directly to class members is considered impractical. Champions of cy pres awards – which can amount to tens of millions of dollars – claim that the practice directly aids the causes in question. They also note its convenience and the importance of deterrence. Cy pres critics contend that such awards lead to conflicts of interest, the failure of class attorneys to prioritize class recovery, and First Amendment concerns over the compelled support of political beneficiaries.

By a 6-5 vote, the Eighth Circuit recently declined en banc review of an opinion affirming approval of a Monsanto settlement that paid $16 million to cy pres while leaving 98% of the class uncompensated. The Second Circuit affirmed approval of a settlement with Navient that paid the class of student debtors nothing with all settlement proceeds going to a few nonprofits affiliated with the teachers’ union funding the class action. Both courts rejected objectors’ First Amendment and Rule 23 arguments, and both cases are now the subject of cert petitions.

On January 17, 2023, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument in Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States.
Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. (“Halkbank”) was indicted by a grand jury in 2019, and charged with involvement in a scheme to launder billions of dollars worth of proceeds from Iranian oil and natural gas, which was in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran at the time.
Halkbank, is majority-owned by the government of Turkey and moved to dismiss this indictment, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction. Halkbank contended that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and the fact that the government of Turkey had a majority of its ownership made it immune to criminal prosecution in U.S. federal court. In relying on FSIA, Halkbank asserted that exceptions in FSIA apply only to civil cases, and that even if such exceptions applied in criminal cases, Halkbank Would still be immune under common law standards.
The U.S. District Court rejected the argument put forward by Halkbank, and the Second Circuit affirmed. This Supreme Court granted certiorari on the question of whether US district courts may exercise subject matter jurisdiction over criminal prosecutions against foreign sovereigns and their instrumentalities under 18 U.S.C. § 3231 and in light of FSIA.
This program, recorded January 18, 2023 broke down and analyzed the oral argument.

Featuring:
–Mike Hurst, Partner, Phelps Dunbar LLP

The U.S. Supreme Court appears ready to clarify when and under what circumstances federal labor law preempts state tort claims for strike-related misconduct. Next week, it will hear oral arguments in Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local No. 174, a case involving the intentional destruction of an employer’s property. The employer, Glacier Northwest, manufactures ready-mix concrete. Ready-mix concrete hardens quickly and must be poured on the same day it’s mixed. In August 2017, a union representing Glacier’s employees called a sudden strike. The union allegedly timed the strike so that concrete would be left to harden in Glacier’s trucks. Predictably, the concrete was ruined, and Glacier sued the union for damages. But state courts rejected the suit. They held that the suit was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because (a) the union’s conduct was arguably protected by federal law, and (b) the conduct fell outside an existing exception for intentional-tort claims because it involved no violence or “outrageous conduct.”

On January 10, the Supreme Court heard arguments on both of those conclusions. The central issue for the Court is whether the NLRA preempts intentional tort claims except when they’re accompanied by violence or outrageous conduct. The union argues that the state courts got it right: violence or outrageous conduct is necessary. Glacier, on the other hand, argues that violence or outrageous conduct has never been required. In fact, the Supreme Court itself has long recognized that intentional property destruction is unprotected and falls outside the NLRA’s preemptive reach.

Professors Randy Barnett and Josh Blackman will discuss the most important Supreme Court cases of all time, as featured in their new book, An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100+ Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know. Plus, they will debut a new video series, including previews of Dobbs and Bruen.
Featuring:
Prof. Randy Barnett, Patrick Hotung Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Prof. Josh Blackman, Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law Houston

To register, please click the link above.

The Department of Labor recently closed its open comment period for its proposed rulemaking regarding Employee or Independent Contractor Classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act. As such, this webinar will explore what the proposed rule seeks to do, and how the affected stakeholder community has responded. In addition, the proposed rule comes out of litigation and may in fact create additional litigation in 2023. In addition, the speakers will highlight other actions that impact independent workers including the NLRB’s pending decision in Atlanta Opera as well as the DOL joint employer rulemaking. On this teleforum we will hear from Maury Baskin (Littler-Mendelson) who led a winning effort against the DOL in Coalition for Workforce Innovation (CWI) v. Secretary Walsh as well as the Chair of CWI, Evan Armstrong.

Featuring:
— Evan Armstrong, Vice President, Government Affairs, Retail Industry Leaders Association
— Maury Baskin, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson P.C.

The Supreme Court has articulated that parents have the unenumerated right rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment to direct the care, custody, and upbringing of their children since the 1920s in such cases as Pierce v. Society of Sisters, Meyer v. Nebraska, Parham v. J.R. and Troxel v. Granville. However, the precise contours of the right have long been uncertain, as has the level of scrutiny to be applied.

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court established a clear threshold for unenumerated rights, that they must be rooted in history and tradition and essential to ordered liberty. The Court noted that its decision does not call into question its line of cases on parental rights. Nevertheless, the question remains: do parental rights meet the Court’s threshold? Are there reasons to believe that parental rights will be affected by the Dobbs decision?

The Biden administration has made aggressive antitrust enforcement a priority, and appointed Jonathan Kanter to be the nation’s chief antitrust law enforcer as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Though Kanter’s background is in big law, he is a leading advocate of the neo-Brandeisian school of antitrust that seeks to expand the scope and importance of antitrust. His aggressive agenda has yet to be fully revealed; however, the courts do not appear sympathetic and have handed the Division a series of defeats in recently-litigated merger challenges.

At this luncheon event, Rick Rule, the head of the Antitrust Division under President Reagan (and a former partner of Kanter), probed Kanter on what he is hoping to achieve during his tenure and how he is going to deal with the skepticism of the courts.

On December 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Moore v. Harper.

Following the most recent census, North Carolina gained a House seat, and its legislature adopted a new district map. The state’s supreme court deemed that map a partisan gerrymander and substituted in its place the court’s own map. That result, it concluded, was required by four separate parts of the state constitution, including clauses protecting the “freedom of speech” and guaranteeing “free” elections. Although the Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block that ruling for the 2022 election, it agreed to take the case to answer the broader question of state-court authority over the laws governing federal elections.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a detailed report in September 2022 on the state of the U.S. Counterintelligence (CI) mission. Among other things, the report noted that the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), the nation’s head agency for CI, does not have a clear mission and is limited in its authorities. The Committee further warned that NCSC’s work is being hampered by bureaucracy and funding issues. The report also noted that foreign intelligence entities pose a more harmful threat to U.S. interests now than they have at any point in the past. We will discuss the report, its fallout, and the potential solutions to the problem with the former Director of NCSC, The Honorable William Evanina.

Featuring:
— Jamil Jaffer, Adjunct Professor, NSI Founder, and Director, National Security Law & Policy Program, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
— William Evanina, CEO, The Evanina Group; Former Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center

On December 5,2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. Petitioner Lorie Smith, an artist in Colorado and owner/founder of the graphic design firm 303 Creative LLC. is challenging Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) on the grounds it is unconstitutional, arguing, among other things, it violates her right to free speech.
Ms. Smith was looking to expand her business to include designing websites for weddings but would only design for weddings that were in line with her religious convictions, which meant she would not design websites for same-sex weddings. Further, in expanding her business, she wanted to post a message to her own professional website to communicate what wedding websites she would do, and explain her religious objections to same-sex weddings.
Because 303 Creative LLC. is a business open to the public, however, it falls under CADA, which prohibits any business from discriminating against possible patrons based on a list of characteristics, one of which is sexual identity. Further, CADA defines discrimination not only as the refusal to provide goods or services but also as the promulgation of messaging that says or implies that a potential patron’s business would be unwelcome based on them possessing a protected trait. Under CADA, both the refusal to create webpages for same sex weddings and the promulgation of a message that Ms. Smith would not create such webpages, even if she is never asked so to do, would be illegal.
Before any action was taken against her under CADA, Ms. Smith and 303 Creative LLC. challenged CADA in federal court, alleging its unconstitutionality. The district court granted summary judgement in favor of Colorado, and upon appeal, the Tenth Circuit affirmed that decision.
Our panel of experts will break down and analyze how the Supreme Court oral argument went the same day.

Featuring:

On November 28, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral argument in Percoco v. United States.

Justice Scalia once commented “[t]hough it consists of only 28 words, the [honest services] statute has been invoked to impose criminal penalties upon a staggeringly broad swath of behavior.”

In 2018, the North Carolina General Assembly placed several constitutional amendments before voters for ratification. Voters approved the amendments, which included amendments related to voter ID and a cap on the state income tax. But in August 2022, a sharply divided Supreme Court of North Carolina held that these amendments may be invalid. The majority’s opinion focused on a federal court decision issued before the amendments were placed on the ballot which declared several of the state legislative districts to be the result of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. It concluded that the General Assembly may have lost the ability to propose constitutional amendments given the fact that many of its members were elected from unconstitutionally gerrymandered legislative districts.

Our panel of experts discussed this case and considered its implications for North Carolina and states across the country.

On November 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Michelle Cochran v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In April 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought an enforcement action against Michelle Cochran, a certified public accountant, alleging that she had failed to comply with federal auditing standards. A SEC administrative law judge (ALJ) determined Cochran had violated federal law, fined her $22,500, and banned her from practicing before the SEC for five years. The SEC adopted the ALJ’s decision, and Cochran objected.

Before the SEC could rule on Cochran’s objection, the Supreme Court decided Lucia v. SEC, in which it held that SEC ALJs are officers of the United States under the Appointments Clause, who must be appointed by the President, a court of law, or a department head. In response to the Lucia ruling, the SEC remanded all pending administrative cases for new proceedings before constitutionally appointed ALJs, including Cochran’s.

The Justice Department recently announced the issuance of a revised internal policy for charging cases brought under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), our nation’s main computer crime statute. This revised policy was issued in the wake of the Supreme Court case of United States v. Van Buren, which held that the CFAA’s “exceeds authorized access” provision does not cover those who have improper motives for obtaining information that is otherwise available to them. Additionally, the new DOJ policy for the first time directs federal prosecutors that good-faith security research should not be charged under the CFAA, but also acknowledges that claiming to be conducting security research is not a free pass for those acting in bad faith.

Does the new DOJ charging policy strike a reasonable balance between privacy and law enforcement interests? Do its protections for security research go far enough, or do they extend too far? In the wake of Van Buren and this policy, does the federal government have adequate tools to address insider threats, especially where such threats are focused on invasions of privacy and confidentiality instead of being motivated by financial gain?

On November 8, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway.

Petitioner Robert Mallory, a Virginia resident, sued Virginia-based Norfolk Southern in sued in the Court of Common Pleas, the court of general jurisdiction in Pennsylvania, claiming that exposure to carcinogens while working for the company caused him to develop colon cancer. According to his complaint, Mallory was exposed to harmful carcinogens while employed by Defendant in Ohio and Virginia between 1988 through 2005. He did not allege that he suffered any harmful occupational exposures in Pennsylvania but sued in Pennsylvania court on a theory that the court could exercise jurisdiction over the Virginia company because it had registered to do business in Pennsylvania.

What did the American Founders mean when they declared religious liberty to be an “inherent,” “natural” and “inalienable” right? Does the right to religious liberty provide religious exemptions from generally applicable laws? What is wrong with a state establishment of religion?

In Religious Liberty and the American Founding, Vincent Phillip Muñoz addresses these questions and others, offering a novel interpretation of Founders’ philosophy and constitutionalism of religious liberty. Drawing on early state constitutions, declarations of religious freedom, Founding-era debates, and the First Amendment’s drafting record, the book documents and articulates the Founders’ understanding of religious liberty as an inalienable natural right, uncovers what we can and cannot determine about the original meaning of the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses, and constructs a natural rights jurisprudence of religious liberty, exploring and explaining how the Founders’ principles would adjudicate First Amendment church-state issues. Contrary to what many might assume, Muñoz contends that adherence to the Founders would lead neither to consistently conservative nor consistently liberal results, but rather to a novel church-state jurisprudence that, in most cases, would return authority from the judiciary to the American people.

In Tiwari v. Friedlander, the Petitioners ask the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to address whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires meaningful review of restrictions on the right to engage in a common occupation. The petition argues that the right to engage in a common occupation is deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition, but its protection has been inconsistent, sometimes leading to conflicting results across the lower courts. The petition also contends this inconsistency is caused by the standard under which courts review economic-liberty challenges— the rational basis test.

The Petitioners, Dipendra Tiwari and Kishor Sapkota, challenge Kentucky’s Certificate-of-Need (CON) Law as an unconstitutional infringement on their right to earn an honest living. The CON law prevents them from opening a healthcare agency they designed to provide home services to the large community of Nepali-speaking refugees and immigrants in Louisville. By contrast, Kentucky contends that the CON law is necessary for lowering competitive pressure and increasing profits for incumbents who can pass their gains to the public.