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Dear Colleagues and Friends:   I am writing to provide a friendly reminder that next week, Steve Hochman and I will be presenting our annual Three Day Commercial Mediation training.  The training, which is celebrating its tenth straight year, will run from Tuesday, March 19 th  through Thursday, March 21 st (from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day) and will be held at Fordham University School of Law, conveniently located at 150 West 62 nd Street.  It is being offered through the New York State Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section, and has been approved for three of the five training days required by Part 146 for mediators interested in serving on ...
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We often hear about civil rights stories when they are happening.  When they are out of the news cycle we move onto the next big thing and forget what happened.  We often assume that someone who violated people’s civil rights might get on with their lives without repercussion. We all remember Kim Davis, the County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky.  In August of 2015 Mrs. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the landmark Supreme Court case Obergfell v. Hodges . [i]   Obergfell was the case that held that state laws banning same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.  Following this decision, states were required to issue marriage ...
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Im a downstate attorney and have a cleint that needs to fileOSC to enforce judgment of divorce in Erie County, NY.  Any one interested?       Wendy Marie Weathers, Esq. Senior Managing Attorney Cabanillas & Associates, P.C. 120 Bloomingdale Road, Suite 400 White Plains, New York 10605 wweathers@cabanillaslaw.com Direct: (914) 418-2018 Fax - Litigation: (914) 615-6515 (not for service) Fax - Bankruptcy: (914) 615-6516 Website: www.cabanillaslaw.com     Please also note our other offices: Main Office: 120 Bloomingdale Road, Suite 400,White Plains, NY 10605 Bronx County Office: 1452 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY ...
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Climate Change Blog 20 Facts on the Ground: A record-breaking, killing cold, air mass froze large parts of the US in late Jan/early Feb. But the bad news relates to why this Polar Vortex delivered Arctic temperatures over so much of the country. Scientists believe that due to climate change, numerous factors, including loss of reflective Arctic ice, increased absorption of heat by the exposed water, and altered oceanic currents, have changed the flow of the jet stream in effect releasing the constraints which had kept Arctic air-masses in the Arctic. The truly scary news is that this might be the new normal. While the planet generally is getting warmer, ...
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Update to my blog on April 16, 2018 [i] Three cases challenge President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. [ii] Up to this point lower courts had blocked the implementation of the ban. The administration has sought certiorari before judgment, which is asking the Supreme Court to review lower court decisions before an appeals court has had a chance to review the decision. In an unwritten 5-4 decision, the court denied the petition for certiorari and lifted the injunction on implementing the ban. So, the end result is that the administration can implement the ban while the case makes its way through the lower courts. This ...
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An update on voting rights.  The New York State legislature has passed a number of reforms that will make it easier for people to vote. New York is one of the bluer states, with 3.5 million more registered democrats than republicans [i] , yet until recently it lacked a number of voting rights that other states had.  New York had no early voting, no automatic registration and no registration allowed less than 10 days from an election. The Assembly and Senate both passed bills [ii] that provide the following amendments to the voting laws: Early Voting – This amendment establishes a nine day early voting period, including two weekends.  Each county shall ...
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Climate Change Blog 19 Facts on the Ground : 2018 will be the earth’s fourth warmest on record, with the five warmest years all having occurred since 2010. A warmer world is a more dangerous world for all living things. Warmer temperature leads to increased evaporation and more moisture in the atmosphere which produces more and heavier rains and flooding. People drowned in the Carolinas and in the Indian state of Kerala. Heat waves killed people in Montreal, Karachi, and Tokyo. California’s Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history. At least 86 people were killed, 153,336 acres burned, 18,804 structures were destroyed. ...
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The United States Commission on Civil Rights has issued a report supporting the recognition of Native Hawaiian peoples and urging congress to pass legislation that would allow native Hawaiians to form a governing body similar to Native American tribes.   Prior to 1871 Native American tribes were considered separate nations and treaties were signed at a government to government level. In 1871, Congress passed the Indian Appropriations Act of 1871.  That law ended recognition of independent native nations and started treating them as “domestic dependent nations” subject to federal law.   The justification for granting Native American tribes recognition ...
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Climate Change Blog 18 Facts on the Ground: Violent thunderstorms, small tornadoes that blew roofs off homes and winds equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane lashed Italy from Piedmont to Sicily in late October, killing at least nine people with many injured and firefighters and other rescue workers scrambling to respond to emergency calls. In Venice, ferocious winds drove the high tide to more than 61 inches above average sea level, one of the highest levels ever recorded, flooding much of the city. It was the highest flood there in a decade. Pedestrians used raised walkways throughout the city, while others waded through thigh-high water. Tourists swam ...
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The NYSBA Committee on Civil Rights is sponsoring a program entitled  The War on Science is a War on Civil Rights , along with the NYSBA Environmental and Energy Law Section, Committee on Environmental Justice.  Co-sponsored by the Albany Law School Environmental Law Society and the Black Law Students Association and Latino Law Students Association. We are all familiar with the damage being done to the environment, but environmental policy impacts us all in ways other than the obvious. This program will explore the intersection of civil rights and science in the context of environmental policy. The program will explain the concept of environment justice, ...
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Facts on the Ground: Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm, left much of the Florida Panhandle in ruins. At least 19 are dead, over one million homes and businesses were without power, 4 hospitals were closed, 300 patients from storm-damaged hospitals in Panama City were evacuated, and 11 nursing facilities were closed in Florida and one in Georgia. It is one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental United States leaving a trail of destruction across 200 miles that splintered houses, peeled off roofs and stirred up a terrifying surge of seawater that submerged entire neighborhoods and sent boats careening down city streets. Winds topped ...
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Climate change is a clear and present danger to every person on earth. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are or how wealthy or protected you think you are. You are vulnerable. Whether the danger is by fire, rain, flood, drought, blizzard, ice storm or loss of power or access to food and water, no person and no place is immune. The danger may be lethal, it may be economic, it may be ruinous or merely disabling. Wealthy persons and nations may be better able to recover, but we are all in harm’s way. Facts on the Ground – Typhoons and Hurricanes: Florence was as deadly and destructive as predicted. The combination of rising and warming seas around ...
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Voting Rights Part 3

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The United States Commission on Civil Rights [i] , an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, created by the Voting Rights Act of 1956, has issued a report on the current state of voting rights in the United States. I recently discussed voting rights and the attacks against them by certain states and localities.  The USCCR’s report shows the true picture, and it isn’t pretty. The 402 page report is available on the USCCR’s website. [ii] I previously discussed Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, Attorney General, et al. , 570 U.S. 2 (2013).  That case stripped the federal government of any effective tools to enforce the Voting Rights Act.  ...
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Climate Change Blog 15

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NYC/East Coast Global Weirding is an oft-used and apt depiction of altered weather patterns from what we are used to and what homo sapiens evolved with. Tornados were a rare event in NYC and the East Coast but they are occurring now with some frequency. One hit NYC on Aug 6 in College Point, Queens. A few days earlier, a stronger tornado was near Douglas, in central Massachusetts. And a few days later a whirlwind hit nearby Webster, displacing dozens of people from their damaged homes. Facts on the Ground: Flash floods swept through NY (Broome County, Vestal; Lodi) and NJ (Little Falls, Wayne, Bogota, Brick, and Woodland Park) this month leading to ...
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DACA Decision

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A quick update on DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  A major court decision was issued today. The policy was put into place in 2012 by President Obama and expanded in 2014.  It provided relief for people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.  They were allowed to register and become eligible for a work permit and defer any action to deport them. In 2017, under President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded DACA.  This was immediately challenged in court by several states and organizations. Today in NAACP v Trump , United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 17 cv 2325, Justice John D. Bates ...
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Voting Rights Part 2

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Last time I discussed the current legal status of the Voting Rights Act and how its protections are being eroded.  I finished by stating that the statistics that the court relied on have changed. The Court noted that in Mississippi in 1965, black voter registration was 6.4% and the difference between black and white voter registration was 60%.  In 2004 the black registration rate in Mississippi was 76%, almost 4 points higher than white registration and black voter turnout exceed white turnout in 5 of the 6 states originally covered in 1965. [i] The court relied on these figures for their determination that voting rights were now equal and minorities ...
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Voting Rights

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Today I’d like to discuss Voting Rights.  Despite the fact that it is 2018, some states and local governments are still actively restricting the rights of many people, mostly minorities, to vote. The United States Constitution originally left voting procedures and voter qualifications up to the individual states.  Following the Civil War, the 13 th , 14 th and 15 th Amendments were ratified.  The 13 th prohibits slavery, the 14 th guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States and equal protection under the laws, and the 15 th prohibits discrimination of voting rights based on race, color or previous condition of servitude.  These amendments ...
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NYC: As hurricane season approaches it is startling to note that the region has chosen to ignore the warnings and lessons of Sandy (2012) by looking at the astonishing development occurring in the city’s floodplains. This collective stubbornness and short-sightedness is not unique to NY. Where short-term profit is to be made, people will pursue it. And the dopes left holding the bag, that’s their problem. Except that it isn’t. The impacts of storms like Sandy are felt far, wide and long and threaten the financial viability of entire regions. As of Jan. 2018, about 12,359 new apartments were under construction or planned in the city’s most vulnerable flood ...
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As we discussed in the last blog post, families have been getting separated at the borders and that leaves children without parents or other adults who can care for them.  It also means that those children are all alone dealing with the immigration proceedings. When a person enters the country illegally they are liable to arrest and deportation, but that requires the decision of an immigration judge.  The person can apply for asylum and then they are entitled to stay in the US while the application is being processed. But what if you are a child, a one year old who not only doesn’t speak English, probably doesn’t speak any language yet?  How about a 5 or ...
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What is going on with children being separated from their parents at the border?  Let’s take a closer look. There are two ways to enter the United States, at a designated border crossing and not at a designated border crossing.  Entering the US anywhere other than at a designated border crossing is illegal.  It is a federal misdemeanor. 8 US Code § 1325 [i] .  An attempt to improperly cross the border by an Alien is punishable by a fine or no more than 6 months imprisonment.  Clearly Congress has decided that this is not a crime worthy of a big punishment. It is not a felony. In order to apply for asylum protection, the person (and their children) must ...
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