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Climate Change Blog 31 Facts on the Ground: I keep a close watch on the major indicators as to how humanity is fighting climate change: are we preventing the ice at the poles from melting and limiting sea level rise? Are we preserving our forests which absorb greenhouse gas? Are we scaling back GHG emissions and limiting global warming? The answer to all of these questions, is an emphatic ‘no’. We are losing, badly. Not only did Verkhoyansk, a Siberian town once used as a place of exile by Russian czars hit a record 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degree Celsius, on June 20, but the heat and dried vegetation in the Artic resulted in wildfires ...
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What is going on in Portland, Oregon?  There is surprisingly little attention being paid to the outrageous actions of the federal government against American citizens. George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.  That killing prompted worldwide protests against police brutality and racist police tactics and culture.  Portland, Oregon has had daily protests since then, over 50 consecutive days. They started as your basic protests, marches, chanting and so on.  Portland police used tear gas and “impact” projectiles to try to clear protesters. [i]   On June 9, a Federal District Court Judge issued a temporary restraining order against ...
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The United States visa system is very complicated and it has no room for error.  Someone who overstays a visa could be barred from returning to US for many years, up to a decade. One of the more common visas are student visas, known as F visas.  F visas generally allow a student to remain in the US for up to five years if they remain in their educational program.  They may, but don’t have to leave the country during summer break.  When they complete their program, they must depart the US within 60 days.  The visa can be extended if they continue in education. In 2017 there were close to 400,000 F1 visas issued.  It is estimated that a million international ...
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Adam Leitman Bailey and John Desiderio look at the short and long-term legal implications and issues affecting residential living during COVID-19 pandemic. By  Adam Leitman Bailey and John M. Desiderio  | June 09, 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has confronted building owners, managers and boards of New York City rental, condominium, and cooperative-owned buildings with operational challenges that few, if any, buildings have ever experienced since the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic—a hundred years ago. The “social distancing” rules and restrictions imposed by governments at all levels has spawned questions that buildings ask and are asked by their residents ...
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In another blow to the Trump Administration, the Supreme Court issued another ruling today striking down a key administration policy.  President Trump had vowed to end DACA, the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals that provided a pathway to legal status for children brought to the US by their parents without proper documentation. I discussed DACA in August 2018 [i] .  The Trump administration decided to end DACA which would endanger many people who signed up for it in good faith.  At that time the NAACP sued and the government was ordered to reinstate DACA.  That case was consolidated with two others at the Supreme Court. [ii] In a 5-4 decision with ...
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In March of 2018 I wrote about the practice of ICE Agents entering courthouses to arrest suspected undocumented aliens and the chilling effect it has on our judicial system. [i]   The Committee even co-sponsored a presentation about this issue in January of 2019 with the Committee on Immigration Representation at the New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting. In September of 2019, NYS Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez sued ICE to stop the practice. [ii]   The Legal Aid Society and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP brought a second suit. Good news came this week that the Attorney General and District ...
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As the very busy day at the Supreme Court winds down, the Court made big news on the Second Amendment front and on Qualified Immunity.  The Court had ten cases listed in the gun rights area including cases regarding a federal prohibition on interstate handgun sales [i] , three New Jersey cases on laws preventing citizens from carrying handguns outside the home for “self defense” [ii] , California’s Unsafe Handgun Act [iii] , two Massachusetts cases on laws prohibiting the carrying of handguns outside the home [iv] , the Maryland handgun carry-permit process [v] , and two cases on Illinois concealed carry license [vi] . The Supreme Court denied ...
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Back in February and March of 2018 I wrote about the issue of sanctuary cities and states. [i]   In particular the then US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, sued California over its California Values Act. [ii]   That law made it illegal for state and local law enforcement officers to provide federal agents with basic information on individuals who are in custody and prevents state or local resources from being used to facilitate federal deportation raids. The Federal District Court in California upheld the law and the Ninth Circuit also upheld the law.  The US Government sought certiorari to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court considered the request in ...
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The wheels of justice grind slowly but today some good news finally came out of the Supreme Court.  On Feb 26, 2018 [i] and April 23, 2019 [ii] I wrote about cases involving job discrimination for LGBT employees.  Circuit courts had ruled that the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected employees who were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation.  The Second and Seventh Circuits had agreed on this while the Eleventh indicated it would rule this way.  Then the Supreme Court agreed to hear three of these cases Altitude Express v. Zarda , [iii] Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia , [iv] and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. ...
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Climate Change Blog 30 Facts on the Ground: On Monday, May 18, Cyclone Amphan became the most intense cyclone over the Bay of Bengal in the 21st Century. It had a maximum wind speed of 165 mph and caused at least 80 deaths in India and Bangladesh and obliterated numerous villages. It reached the highest classification of ‘super cyclonic storm.’ Scientists have long predicted that such tropical storms would develop as the planet, and oceans, warm. The Indian Ocean was exceedingly warm, 88F, thus providing the energy that fueled Amphan. Researchers in the US with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the likelihood of these ...
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New York’s infringement on civil rights reaches a new low with the effective suspension of habeas corpus.  The term ‘habeas corpus” is tossed around frequently and many people don’t really understand what it means. In Latin it means “produce the body”.  It is the right of a person arrested to be seen by a judge who will determine if the detention of the person is proper under the law. [i]   It is a holdover from European and English common law and is enshrined in the US Constitution in Section 9 of Article One.  “The privilege of the writ of  habeas corpus  shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require ...
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The First Amendment to the United States Constitution says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. [i] People from all side of the political spectrum rely on those words to let them express their opinions.  The press relies on them to let them report on the news without government interference. Two incidents happened in the past few days that highlight the First Amendment. First , following the tragic events in Minneapolis ...
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Voting Rights 5

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We’ve all been a little preoccupied recently with the pandemic, trying to stay safe and keep our practices alive.  While we all shelter in place much has been happening that affect our civil rights and I want to bring some attention to these erosions. The biggest ones are once again in the realm of voting rights.  Let’s look at them chronologically.   To start, some positive news.  In November 2019, South Carolina Democrats sued the state which was one of only four states that required a voter’s entire social security number to register to vote. [i]   In January they reached an agreement to require only the last four digits. [ii]   The argument was ...
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Climate Change Blog 29 Facts on the Ground: It’s hurricane season in the south. A series of violent and deadly storms have killed dozens, including 2 on April 19 and 6 on April 22 as tornadoes hit Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas. Homes were destroyed, two factories were damaged and thousands were left without power. But over 100 storm tracks constituting the deadliest tornado outbreak in six years caused at least 36 deaths over two days in several southern states beginning on Easter Sunday. The storms covered over 770 miles, the worst one was on the ground for nearly 68 miles in Mississippi. First responders wearing face masks to protect against ...
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Panama creates Registry of Beneficiaries The Private and Unique System for Registration of Final Beneficiaries of Legal Entities has been approved under Law 129 of March 17, 2020. The law imposes obligations on the beneficiaries of corporations and foundations to update the information they maintain with resident agents similar to those already in Law 23 of 2015. The information may only be accessed by competent authorities. The full text of the law appears in the Official Gazette or can be requested to [email protected] laglex.com. ------------ Panamá crea Registro de Beneficiarios El Sistema Privado y Único De Registro de Beneficiarios Finales de Personas Jurídicas ...
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covid 19 Virrus

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It's emergency be safe
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The big news now is obviously Coronavirus Disease 2019 aka COVID-19 and the response to it raises some big civil rights issues.  Health officials and governments around the world are working to prevent or re3duce the spread of the disease.  COVID-19 spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets created when an infected person sneezes or coughs.  You can be exposed to those droplets directly if you are close enough to the source (within 6 feet) or by touching a surface that has droplets on it and then touching your eyes or mouth.  Clearly the best way to avoid the illness is to wash your hands and keep things clean. Another method is staying away from ...
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Climate Change Blog 28 I have been focusing on some of the big ticket items, melting polar ice caps, rising, warming, acidifying seas with altered currents affecting weather systems, major natural disasters such as draught, flood and wildfire. In this Blog I will focus on some of the effects, retreat, managed and forced. Except this just happened (Feb 8-9): an iceberg twice the size of Washington DC calved from the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. The Pine Island Glacier is one of the fastest-retreating glaciers in Antarctica, and along with the Thwaites Glacier nearby, it is being closely monitored. The danger is that these glaciers have begun ...
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In October of 2018, I posted a blog promoting a program co-sponsored by the Civil Rights Committee titled The War on Science is a War on Civil Rights.  It was held on October 26, 2018 and was a fantastic program.  It was also frightening and enraging.  Just this past week, at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the New York State Bar Association, the Environmental & Energy Law Section presented a program on Lead in Drinking Water, co-sponsored by the Civil Rights Committee. Once again fascinating and frightening. What does lead in drinking water have to do with Civil Rights I hear you ask?  Why would you claim that the war on science is a war on civil rights?  ...
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There is no explicit right to privacy set out in the United States Constitution.  It is referred to in the 4th Amendment with the language "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…”. [i]   The Fifth Amendment includes the right not to be a “witness against himself” [ii] and the 14th Amendment has the due process clause [iii] .  There are some federal and state laws protecting privacy in certain circumstances, but no overall right to privacy.    In three cases the Supreme Court developed a theory of a right to privacy.  In Griswold v. Connecticut [iv] the court held that a right to privacy could ...
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