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This blog offers a space for Committee members to express their feelings or comment on areas of the law they find important. Our nation is particularly divided now, and what I see as the erosion of individual civil rights is very important to me. So, all my posts, this one included, are my opinion only and not that of the Committee or its other members. In June, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson , [i] where they overturned Roe v. Wade . [ii] Roe, of course, is the case from 1973 that held that the Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion. I wrote about it briefly in a prior blog post. [iii] I won’t go into ...
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Climate Change Blog 48

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Facts on the Ground: When I started this Blog, 47 editions ago, I did not expect the Facts on the Ground section to grow the way it has. But it is now clear that climate change will continue to produce lethal and costly extreme weather events around the planet all year long. No one and no place is safe or immune. Extremes of heat, drought, fire, as well as precipitation, flooding, landslides, tornados/typhoons, storm surges and sea level rise will be a constant feature of this Blog. As I write on July 11, about 50 million people in the Central US (primarily Texas) are under heat warnings or advisories as the heat index is forecast above 100F for at least ...
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Civil Rights and Ordered Liberty—Ideas for the NYSBA Committee on Civil Rights I had the honor of attending the inauguration of Sherry Levin Wallach as the 125 th president of the N.Y.S. Bar Association on June 1 st . President Wallach will be focusing her one-year term on several initiatives. She has stated that one of her goals is to: “maximize participation by our diverse and capable members so that the Association can achieve new levels of excellence ….” Like her predecessor, Past President T. Andrew Brown, Ms. Wallach has been a leader on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also indicates that she wants to encourage “increased membership ...
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Climate Change Blog 47

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Climate Change Blog 47 Facts on the Ground: In early March, Australia’s eastern coast endured record rainfall, some of the worst flooding in Australian history, which inundated parts of two of its largest cities, Lismore, in the state of New South Wales, and Sydney, killing 20 people. Residents had little time to evacuate so many became trapped in their attics and cut through their roofs where they became stranded as floodwaters quickly rose. The flooding prompted the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to declare a national emergency for the first time in the nation’s history. The prime minister authorized the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars in ...
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By Michael Diederich, Jr. [1] As a civil rights practitioner who personally believes that vaccination is a vital tool for protecting society against viruses such as COVID-19, I ask myself: What “civil liberties” are we talking about regarding Covid mandates? Covid, especially in its original COVID-19 and Delta variant versions, is a deadly disease. Fighting the Covid virus has become, it seems, a culture wars fight—a highly charged game of political football, with the Red team using individual “liberty” and the Blue team using “public safety” to score points against each other. [2] Yet the average citizen does not view Covid as a game. The average citizen ...
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Climate Change Blog 46

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Climate Change Blog 46 Facts on the Ground: Extreme weather is now a fact of life on a scale humanity has never experienced with such ferocity and frequency. The new year continued where 2021 left off. There were three tornado reports in northern Georgia on New Year's Eve, near Worthville, Magnet and Villa Rica and a tornado struck Newton County, Ga too. Half-dollar-sized hail fell in Kentucky while heavy winds in Alabama blew the roofs off chicken coops and brought down trees and power lines. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued a state of emergency due to the damage done by two prior long-track tornadoes. A tornado hit west of Elkton, TN, and others ...
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I’ve written a bunch of posts on the erosion of Voting Rights, starting with the Shelby County case from 2012 which began the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. [i] The fruits of those attacks are coming home to roost. Chief Justice John Roberts led the Supreme Court in its Shelby decision. He held that the standards of 1965 were no longer applicable and said that the formula was outdated and to apply those standards to today was inappropriate. He said: In 1965, the States could be divided into two groups: those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout, and those without those characteristics. Congress ...
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I posted a piece on the Employment Law Section's blog-- https://communities.nysba.org/blogs/michael-diederich/2022/02/09/will-scotus-uphold-a-caste-system-of-nys-justice-c -- the first portion of which is as follows for anyone on the Committee on Civil Rights who may be interested: Will SCOTUS Uphold A Caste System of NYS Justice Center Injustice By Denying (Black) Accuseds The Right To Face Their (White Accusers)? In 2018, in the course of a few months, several people came to the my law office, complaining of the same thing—that they were healthcare workers falsely accused of neglect or abuse by their racially-biased employers and as a result were administratively ...
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In 2018, in the course of a few months, several people came to the my law office, complaining of the same thing—that they were healthcare workers falsely accused of neglect or abuse by their racially-biased employers and as a result were administratively prosecuted and unjustly found guilty by the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. The “Justice Center” employs procedures that deny to workers accused of neglect or abuse the basic due process right to confront their accusers, by prosecuting the cases on hearsay evidence alone over 95% of the time. What I have concluded in litigating three cases that came to my office ...
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Censorship is alive and well and growing again. It’s happened in the past and it is happening now. A few examples: A bill has been introduced in Oklahoma to charge teachers personally from their own pockets, $10,000 per incident per individual if they teach any biology that offends Christian principles. [i] In an attempt to use the strategy of the Texas anti-abortion law, Republican state Senator Rob Standridge has sponsored a bill he is calling the “Students’ Religious Belief Protection Act”. Under his proposed law, parents could demand the removal of any book with perceived anti-religious content. This could include things like LGBTQ issues, the ...
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The Ethics of Advocating Against COVID Vaccine Mandates By Michael Diederich, Jr. A famous professional athlete, [1] unvaccinated against COVID-19, arrives at your law office seeking representation relating to his opposition to any vaccination. He has (hypothetically) been turned down for a tennis coaching job at a tennis academy in Queens, New York. He wishes to prove his point that he is entitled to work in his chosen field, without a mask and unvaccinated. Earlier the same day, a New York City public schoolteacher has come to the law office seeking legal review of her letter of resignation, as she is being forced to resign because of her fear of being ...
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A Civil Rights Lawyers’ Perspective on COVID Mandates in New York State during the Pandemic By Michael Diederich, Jr. [1] 27 Jan. 2022 As a civil rights practitioner who personally believes that vaccination is a vital tool for protecting society against the COVID-19 virus, I ask myself: What “civil liberties” are we talking about regarding Covid mandates? Covid, especially in its original COVID-19 and Delta variant versions, is a deadly disease. Fighting the Covid virus has become, it seems, a culture wars fight—a highly charged game of political football, with the Red team using individual “liberty” and the Blue team using public safety to score points ...
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Civil Rights & Liberties at Risk in 21 st Century America and in New York State By Mike Diederich, Jr . I have been on the NYSBA Civil Rights Committee for a few years now, but have not posted on its Blog. This is despite having written several draft pieces that I intended to post. Well, since perfect is the enemy of the good (Voltaire: “Il meglio è nemico del bene") , I have decided to post some of what I have written, even though perhaps not quite the best finished product. I solicit your comments (by email or phone) to help improve what I post into something that might be suitable for publication in, say, the NYSBA Journal. ...
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New York City will see a new Mayor take office on January 1, 2022. Eric Adams was elected as a Democrat, but some of his policies threaten some recent hard-earned civil rights advances. He was formerly registered as a Republican from 1997-2001 and also served four terms in the New York State Senate and was Brooklyn Borough President. I have concerns about some of his policies These are just my thoughts/ Eric Adams is a former NYPD and NYCTP officer who reached the rank of Captain. [i] He has a bachelors from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Masters of Public Administration from Marist College. One of Adams’ platform planks was the return ...
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Climate Change Blog 44

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Climate Change Blog 44 Facts on the Ground: California went from one extreme, drought and wildfires, to another, heavy rain, flooding, landslides and wind in the Bay Area and blizzard and heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada. Meteorologists spoke of a “bomb cyclone” and an “atmospheric river” to drive home just how unusual this late October storm was. The vast storm covered Marin County to the area just south of Big Sur to southern British Columbia. After heavy rainfall in Santa Barbara County residents that were not told to evacuate were advised to shelter in place and go to inner rooms or higher floors because of life-threatening flash flooding and ...
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Climate Change Blog 43

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Climate Change Blog 43 Facts on the Ground: The fires, as predicted, continue to grow around the world. The largest and most devastating, is in Siberia. It is not only destroying local communities, but it is adding immense amounts of carbon to the atmosphere in a positive feedback loop increasing global warming and producing more fire. Fires have burned elsewhere including Turkey, Italy and Greece. Wildfires in Northern California have burned more than 1.3 million acres. The Caldor Fire near Pacific has burned more than 62,000 acres and forced about 23,000 residents of El Dorado County to flee or prepare to leave their homes. The overall number of people ...
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Current economic conditions are very uncertain and can be quite turbulent within a blink of an eye. Due to this, others have decided to plan for the worst and go on a tight budget to account for unforeseen circumstances. Others have been retrenched, or their salary has been reduced. All of these unforeseeable circumstances are concerning to almost everyone. Unfortunately, health conditions and expenses that incur when treating them could strike at any time. Therefore, a health insurance plan is crucial when budgeting expenses, so here is how to find one that fits your budget. Using short term health insurance Having a tight budget calls for desperate ...
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Climate Change Blog 42

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Climate Change Blog 42 Facts on the Ground: Parts of central China received record-breaking rain in late July. The subway in Zhengzhou was flooded and people were trapped standing in water up to their necks frantically calling loved ones and for help. Streets turned into raging rivers and swept cars and people away, caused power outages and suspended rail services and flights. At least 25 people died in and around Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province, including 12 people in the subway. Trapped subway riders waited in some cases 40 hours for rescue. Scientists attribute record-breaking flooding, heating and wildfires to climate change which are ...
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