Monday, April 29, 2019

Big Money Enters Debate Over Race and Admissions at Stuyvesant - The New York Times

Big Money Enters Debate Over Race and Admissions at Stuyvesant - The New York Times: Ronald Lauder and Richard Parsons want to keep the test for New York City’s elite schools, favoring other ways to increase the number of black and Hispanic students.

by Eliza Shapiro

Ronald S. Lauder, the billionaire cosmetics heir, and Richard D. Parsons, the former chairman of Citigroup, have for decades had their hands in New York City affairs. Mr. Lauder ran a failed bid for mayor and successfully led a campaign for term limits for local elected officials. Mr. Parsons has been a prominent adviser to two mayors.

Now, they are teaming up to try to influence one of the city’s most intractable and divisive debates: how to address the lack of black and Hispanic students at Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and the other elite public high schools that use a test to determine admission.

Mr. Lauder this week announced that he was financing a multimillion-dollar lobbying, public relations and advertising effort called the Education Equity Campaign, whose immediate goal is to ensure that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to eliminate the entrance exam does not pass the State Legislature, people involved in the effort said.

More broadly, the two men are trying to make their mark on the future of the system, the nation’s largest, with 1.1 million students.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Roberts court is considering the legal reasoning of Jim Crow in the census case.

The key in the census case - and the Muslim ban case - is that GOP Supreme Court Justices will accept any colorable excuse to uphold a Presidential act for which there is a facially neutral rationale.

The Roberts court is considering the legal reasoning of Jim Crow in the census case.: How could a late-stage Jim Crow decision be wreaking such havoc in the 21st century?

by Eric Muller

Eric L. Muller is the Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor in jurisprudence and ethics at the University of North Carolina School of Law. His podcast telling stories of Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II is Scapegoat Cities.

OTHERWISE: China amends Trademark Law against Bad Faith Applications without Intent to Use

China amends Trademark Law against Bad Faith Applications without Intent to Use: Bird & Bird

Over the last six months China has built a new national legislative level Patent Appeal Court, passed the Foreign Investment Law, amended the Technology Import and Export Regulations, and on 23 April 2019, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ("NPC") passed a decision[1] to amend the Trademark Law and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law.  ...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Facing Segregated Schools, Parents Took Integration Into Their Own Hands. It’s Working. NY Times

Facing Segregated Schools, Parents Took Integration Into Their Own Hands. It’s Working. New York Times

For months, in two of New York City’s most politically progressive neighborhoods, parents debated what to do about their deeply segregated schools. Now, after adopting a series of initiatives last year following many spirited and emotionally charged discussions, these neighborhoods are starting to see swift changes in enrollment, according to city data released on Monday.
Several schools in districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn will be more racially and socioeconomically diverse on the first day of school this fall than they are today as a result of these new measures. And the apparent success these districts are seeing could prompt other neighborhoods to consider their own diversity initiatives.
Also, the strategies parents implemented, which included setting new enrollment rules and eliminating using academic screens to sort students for admission, could compel City Hall to take more forceful action to integrate one of the nation’s most segregated school systems.
“Part of why we did this is we felt very strongly that you couldn’t improve just one school,” said Kristen Berger, who helped create the plan for Manhattan’s District 3, which includes the Upper West Side and Harlem. “That’s not very useful. It’s really a system. We really wanted to see movement at high- and low-demand schools.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Ford wins injunction in Shanghai trademark case

Ford wins injunction in Shanghai trademark case
by Anna Mae Koo// Lexology IAM

A stock of automobile parts and accessories bearing Ford’s marks FOMOCO and    was seized by Shanghai Customs in 2016 when they were exported by a local company to Turkey. Ford China confirmed that the seized goods were counterfeit. Further, the infringer had been penalised by the SAIC for trademark infringement before. The infringer denied that the goods were counterfeit, argued that they originated from Ford China’s local licensee and submitted the relevant sale contracts to Customs. However, Ford China’s local licensee denied the infringer’s assertion. Customs was unsure whether the seized goods were counterfeit and suggested that Ford obtain an order from the court by the seizure deadline so that it could continue to hold the goods.
Injunction order
Ford filed a fresh action for trademark infringement as well as an application for an evidence preservation order. To expedite the process, Ford authorised Ford China to file the action on its behalf so as to avoid the need to submit notarised and legalised formality documents, which would cause a procedural delay.
To support the application for an evidence preservation order, Ford China prepared a verification report, confirming that the seized goods were counterfeit. The Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court then granted the order, which allowed Customs to continue to detain the goods in question. The export was thus prevented.
Favourable court decision
The court handed down a favourable judgment, which held that:
  • the use of the marks  and FOMOCO by the infringer on automobile parts and accessories products constituted trademark infringement;
  • the evidence provided by the infringer was insufficient to prove that the seized goods were genuine;
  • the infringer was ordered to cease using Ford’s registered marks and remove them from the seized goods; and
  • the infringer was ordered to pay damages to Ford China for the economic loss caused and the reasonable legal costs incurred.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The ‘Enigma’ Who Is the Chief Justice of the United States - The New York Times

The ‘Enigma’ Who Is the Chief Justice of the United States - The New York Times: Joan Biskupic’s “The Chief” examines John Roberts’s life and his career on the Supreme Court.

Review by Adam Cohen

The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts
By Joan Biskupic
When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts provided the critical fifth vote, enraging conservatives and delighting liberals. Ever since, questions have swirled around his vote. How could a jurist who was so carefully vetted for ideological purity have turned apostate on such a defining issue, saving Obamacare from oblivion?
In “The Chief,” her assiduously reported and briskly written biography, Joan Biskupic, a CNN analyst who has long covered the court, offers new behind-the-scenes details. Roberts was, she says, initially inclined to strike down a key part of the law, the individual mandate, which required people to have insurance or pay a penalty. But during the opinion-drafting process he joined the liberals in affirming it.
While Biskupic sheds light on when and how Roberts made that decision, she is less illuminating on why. She ticks off leading theories: He was wary of overturning the elected branches of government on such an important issue, or reluctant to throw the national health care system into chaos, or worried about the court’s reputation. It is not clear, however, which of these, if any, explains why he came out as he did.
The difficulty of understanding that historic vote is emblematic of something larger: just how hard it is to figure out who Roberts really is. With his square-jawed, no-hair-out-of-place looks and icy smile, he often resembles an animatronic version of a chief justice, with the dial set firmly to the right. Who Roberts is and what he stands for are more important than ever since Anthony Kennedy retired last year and Brett Kavanaugh, who is more conservative, took his seat. Roberts is now both chief justice and the court’s swing justice — which means that, increasingly, the law is likely to be what he says it is.

An Intimate Portrait of Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman on the Supreme Court - The New York Times

An Intimate Portrait of Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman on the Supreme Court - The New York Times: “First: Sandra Day O’Connor,” by Evan Thomas, is a richly detailed life of the pathbreaking justice.

Reviewed by Jeffrey Toobin
Sandra Day O’Connor
By Evan Thomas
For some time now, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been having a moment. Books, documentaries, a major feature film, even a best-selling comic-book-cum-biography have celebrated the feminist litigator and second woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Still, all this attention to No. 2 implicitly raises the question of whatever happened to No. 1.
Evan Thomas answers that question in his fascinating and revelatory biography, “First: Sandra Day O’Connor.” There are many parallels between the lives of R.B.G. and S.D.O. — early confrontations with discrimination, fierce work ethics, supportive and enlightened husbands — but there is one major distinction: power. As a lawyer, Ginsburg won important cases, and as a liberal justice in a conservative time, she has written stirring dissents. But O’Connor was the swing justice on a closely divided Supreme Court, so she — and she alone — determined the outcome of case after case. It was her vote that saved abortion rights, her vote that preserved affirmative action and her vote that delivered the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000. She is the most consequential woman in American history. Now that’snotorious.
The book is billed as an “intimate portrait” of O’Connor, and it certainly is. The O’Connor family gave Thomas open access to the justice’s papers, including letters and diaries, and encouraged all who knew her, law clerks as well as colleagues, to speak with him. Thomas makes the most of this bounty, producing a richly detailed picture of her personal and professional life. To cite just one example, we learn that as Sandra tried to cope with her husband’s descent into Alzheimer’s disease, she turned down her doctor’s prescription for antidepressants. That’s how close we get.

OTHERWISE: Moving Alabama Into the Modern Age - The New York Times

OTHERWISE: Moving Alabama Into the Modern Age - The New York Times: The stars lined up for Doug Jones - the man who finally successfully prosecuted the perpetrator of one of  the most heinous crimes of the m...

Opinion | New York’s Best Schools Need to Do Better - The New York Times

Opinion | New York’s Best Schools Need to Do Better - The New York Times:  (March 30, 2019)

by the Editorial Board

The news that just seven black students were offered admission to Stuyvesant High School, the most celebrated public school in New York City, is an embarrassment.

It should also be a call to action for state lawmakers, who hold the power to change an admissions process that shuts out black and Latino students from New York City’s eight selective specialized high schools, which can provide a crucial path to success. 

 The major reason is a state law known as the Hecht-Calandra Act that requires the three largest schools — Stuyvesant, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School — to use a single exam as the sole criterion for admission. That law was passed in 1971, as the city weighed measures to increase enrollment of black and Hispanic students at the schools amid a broad push for racial integration. Whatever the law’s original intent, the effect has been to limit the number of black and Latino students.

It has also spawned a cottage industry in which parents — including Asian New Yorkers living in poverty — feel compelled to spend thousands of dollars on test preparation over several years to give their children a shot at one of these coveted seats. KEEP READING

Privileged: NBA star Kyle Korver

Monday, April 8, 2019

Subservient Barr – Talking Points Memo

I have long been disturbed by the old school ties/beltway insider/DOJ rule of law club as a corruptible culture.  We see, for example that the Department of Justice has virtually insulated its lawyers from discipline by anyone outside the Department - not surprising because the same is true for prosecutors and cops just about everywhere.

But post nomination weak-kneed responses to Brett Kavanaugh and William Barr were particularly noticeable among prominent "responsible" commentators and academics.  As time goes on we see that Barr prostrated himself before Trump to get the job and that thee are no signs that will change.

Meanwhile dozens of misconduct complaints against Brett Kavanaugh have been swept from the table by the Chief Justice. Boys will be boys, I guess. - gwc

Subservient Barr – Talking Points Memo

by Josh Marshall

As we await Bill Barr’s ‘redactions’ of the Mueller Report, I wanted to pass on to you this note from a TPM Reader and member of the appellate bar. It may seem deep in the weeds at first. But it’s a window into Barr’s conduct so far that I was not at all aware of, or rather I knew the bare facts but hadn’t at all understood the implications. They bear directly on Barr’s subservience to the White House and current approach to executive power …
The focus on Barr and what he has done/is doing regarding the report has been fantastic.
But there is another, overlooked data point that makes clear that we should be very suspicious about how Barr approaches his responsibilities as AG – including his redactions to the Mueller report and his supervision of the ongoing Trump investigations in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere.
The Administration’s decision a few weeks ago to change its position and argue that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional didn’t get the attention it deserves. It is a shocking breach of the Justice Department’s duty to make reasonable arguments in support of the constitutionality of federal laws. There many such reasonable arguments in support of the ACA – as numerous conservative scholars have explained in blog posts and briefs since the DoJ announcement; it is the position that the Administration is now endorsing that is entirely unreasonable.
The New York Times’ reporting indicated that AG Barr opposed this change in position. But he appears perfectly willing to carry it out. That tells us a number of things, all of them disturbing.
First, AG Barr is not going to do very much to defend key Justice Department norms against assaults by the White House. Barr’s nomination was greeted with relief by many, who believed he would restore the old DoJ norms.
But his willingness to go along without a whimper with a fundamental breach of a longstanding DoJ norm shows that just isn’t true. Sometime between now and May 1 (when the DoJ brief is likely due), Barr will have to send a letter to Congress repudiating Jeff Sessions’ determination just last June that most of the ACA is constitutional; in other words, that Sessions was willing to make unreasonable arguments to defend the ACA.
The change in position is the minor part of the story. Sessions’ position was bad enough, and Barr’s willingness to compound the damage to DoJ norms and principle creates a serious threat to the rule of law, as Professor Nick Bagley explained in detail in a Times op-ed. It effectively gives the Executive Branch an extra-constitutional veto, exercisable at any time, which can be checked by the courts only if another litigant has legal standing to defend a law the administration is willing to throw overboard.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

How the 'Grassroots Resistance' of White Women Shaped White Supremacy

2019 Organization of American Historians award winner

How the 'Grassroots Resistance' of White Women Shaped White Supremacy:

by Elizabeth Gillespie McCrae

 When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, a young white mother near Wilmington, North Carolina, received the news with resolve to circumvent the ruling, using “nerve and plenty of hell in the personality.” Mrs. Hugh Bell organized the Pender County Association for the Preservation of Segregation and spent the summer circulating a petition to continue segregated schools “no matter the consequences.” By August, the association had obtained nearly 5,000 signatures representing over one-third of the county’s white population and associate member delivered it to the governor of North Carolina in October.


by Elizabeth Gillespie McCrae (U. Western Carolina) 

winner of 2019 book award - Organization of American Historians

"This is the story of grassroots resistance to racial equality undertaken by white women. They are the center of the history of white supremacist politics in the South and nation. While they toiled outside the attention of the national media (for the most part), white women took central roles in disciplining their communities according to Jim Crow’s rules and were central to massive resistance to racial equality. White segregationist women capitalized on their roles in social welfare institutions, public education, partisan politics, and popular culture to shape the Jim Crow order. From there they provided a political education that mobilized generations and trained activists for white supremacist politics. These women guaranteed that racial segregation seeped into the nooks and crannies of public life and private matters, of congressional campaigns and PTA meetings, of cotton policy and household economies, and of textbook debates and daycare decisions. Their work shored up white supremacist politics and shaped the segregated state. White women were the mass in massive resistance."

Bethesda: white parents resist re~districting schools

Friday, April 5, 2019

Settlement talks break down in New Jersey School Desegregation Case //NJ Law Journal

Settlement talks break down in New Jersey School Desegregation Case //NJ Law Journal

by Charles Toutant
Settlement negotiations have come to a halt in litigation seeking to end racial segregation in New Jersey’s public schools.
The case was stayed while the parties held settlement talks, but lawyers for both sides reported to the judge recently that progress has been elusive. The state indicates it’s willing to continue with negotiations, while the plaintiffs told the judge they cannot proceed in talks until they obtain a judgment on liability.
To that end, the plaintiffs asked the judge to vacate the stay and to require the state to file an answer to the complaint. The state asked the judge to hold a conference to determine how the matter should proceed.
The suit, filed in May 2018, asks for a declaration that public school segregation is unconstitutional, and seeks a plan to desegregate the state’s classrooms. The parties have been in settlement negotiations since September.
The plaintiffs include the Latino Action Network, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, the Latino Coalition, the Urban League of Essex County, the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey, and nine school children who attend classes in segregated school districts. The suit seeks to end the assignment of students to schools solely on the basis of attendance boundaries, and to compel the Legislature, the state education commissioner and the Department of Education to come up with a new methodology for assigning students to schools.
After several months of negotiations, the plaintiffs said in a letter to Assignment Judge Mary Jacobson of Mercer County Superior Court Wednesday that “progress toward a solution to New Jersey’s school segregation problem has not been sufficient to justify continued discussions at this time.” Lawrence Lustberg of Gibbons in Newark wrote the letter.
The plaintiffs have concluded that, in order to resolve the case, whether through litigation or settlement, they require a judgment as to liability, Lustberg wrote. To that end, the plaintiffs asked the judge to end the stay, require the state to file an answer to the complaint, and set a status conference to set the course of future proceedings.
The lawyer for the state, Deputy Attorney General Joan Scatton, said in a letter to Jacobson that was docketed Wednesday that initial discussions with the plaintiffs, which started in September, mainly consisted of presentations from plaintiffs’ consultants about potential components of a remedial plan to settle issues in the suit.
At the most recent meeting of the parties, on Jan. 25, discussion focused on the current school funding structure, Scatton said in the letter to Jacobson. At the conclusion of that meeting, plaintiffs’ counsel announced that they would develop a proposed remedial plan that would serve as the basis of future negotiations, Scatton said. The plaintiffs indicated they would present the proposal in late February, and lawyers for the state agreed, Scatton said.
However, on Feb. 22, “plaintiffs’ counsel abruptly changed course. They informed defendants’ counsel, without explanation, that they needed a ‘reset,’ that they were dissatisfied with the progress of the settlement negotiations, and that talks could proceed only if the defendants admitted liability,” Scatton wrote.
“This change in position was both unanticipated and perplexing,” Scatton said in the letter.
Scatton told the judge the state, “despite this unexpected halt in negotiations,” remains committed to engaging in good-faith negotiations in an attempt to resolve the suit. “[T]he issues in this case are remarkably complex and the potential remedies could have far-reaching and unintended impacts and implications to the State’s system of public education,” Scatton wrote to the judge.
Lustberg declined to comment on the status of the case. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office declined to comment, saying the letter speaks for itself.
The suit claims the state “has been complicit in the creation and persistence of school segregation” by adopting policies that “deny an alarming number of Black and Latino students the benefits of a thorough and efficient education.” The suit also charges that charter schools in New Jersey are as segregated as “the most intensely segregated urban public schools,” if not more so.
The complaint laid blame for that segregation on the state education commissioner, who, according to the plaintiffs, fails to carry out his statutory duty to ensure that enrollment in charter schools r

Thursday, April 4, 2019


OTHERWISE: FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REJECTS ADEQUACY CLAIMS – SchoolFunding.Info: FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REJECTS ADEQUACY CLAIMS – SchoolFunding.Info : School Funding Info is a project of Teachers College In a close 4-3...

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

New Jersey Courts See Long-Term Plunge in All Filings | New Jersey Law Journal

New Jersey Courts See Long-Term Plunge in All Filings | New Jersey Law Journal

by Charles Toutant // NJ Law Journal

Fewer lawsuits are being filed in New Jersey state courts, a trend that’s persisted for at least a decade and is sparking fears the judicial system is becoming irrelevant for segments of the population.
New Jersey courts saw 815,922 cases filed in the civil, criminal and family divisions in 2018, which represents a marginal increase from 2017′s filing level. But more significantly, that’s still a 28 percent decline from the number of cases filed in 2008.
Filings of civil suits in New Jersey increased slightly in 2016 and 2017 but still declined 29 percent from 2008 to 2018. Meanwhile, criminal filings declined 23 percent and family court filings fell 28 percent in the past decade. In the same period, New Jersey’s population grew roughly 3 percent, from 8.6 million people to 8.9 million.
Some legal experts say the decrease indicates courts are failing their constituents. Those experts have also said it’s time to change the ways court systems go about their business.
Richard Schauffler of the National Center for State Courts said that a decline in filing volume, and resultant notions that courts are outliving their usefulness, are cause for concern.
“Courts exist to ensure that asymmetries of power do not dictate the outcome of disputes,” he wrote. “Making the best use of available resources and deploying them in the public interest requires that courts ask. What cases belong in court? How might we adjudicate those cases effectively and efficiently, in the eyes of those seeking justice? Courts need to sort out what factors they can influence (e.g., delay and costs that discourage civil litigation) from those they cannot (the divorce rate) and focus on improving the adjudication of cases that belong in court.”

Budd Larner Tech Officer Charged With Bilking Law Firm for Nearly $1M | New Jersey Law Journal

Budd Larner Tech Officer Charged With Bilking Law Firm for Nearly $1M | New Jersey Law Journal

The chief technology officer of New Jersey-based law firm Budd Larner has been accused of stealing nearly $1 million over the course of a number of years, according to documents filed in two interconnected suits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
An indictment brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that was unsealed in early February charged the Budd Larner CTO Rocco Romeo and a co-defendant, Jacqueline Galler, with four criminal counts, including wire fraud and money laundering-related charges.
According to the prosecutors, the unnamed New Jersey-based company had been defrauded by Romeo through a sophisticated system of falsified invoices, fake companies and conspicuous efforts to conceal the alleged scheme that cost the firm $900,000 over three years.
The scheme, prosecutors claim, started with Romeo receiving invoices generated by a company that went by several versions of the name Seventech. The invoices were routed through two online payment platforms, FreshBooks and PayPal, and sent directly to Romeo.
When asked by Budd Larner about the nature of the company, Romeo allegedly painted the company as a Silicon Valley tech firm with employees operating under a nondisclosure agreement with former employers. This, prosecutors say Romeo claimed, was why all communications need to go through him directly.
In fact, federal authorities claim, the company is a fiction used by Romeo and his co-defendant to bilk the firm for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Moving Alabama Into the Modern Age - The New York Times

Moving Alabama Into the Modern Age - The New York Times

BENDING TOWARD JUSTICE The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed the Course of Civil Rights By Doug Jones 

Reviewed by Howell Raines

 As he fell behind an accused sexual predator in returns from Alabama’s 2017 Senate election, Doug Jones admits, he allowed himself an almost “unbearable” lament familiar to thousands of frustrated Alabamians who came of age in the George Wallace era: “Oh, my poor home state.” Near midnight, it appeared that Jones’s pistol-waving opponent, the former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore, would join the century-long parade of reactionary buffoons Alabama’s white majority has sent to Congress and the governor’s mansion. 

 But in the final count for that Dec. 12 election, a cresting wave of modern sentiment among black voters and white women in the state’s rich Republican suburbs handed Jones a 22,000-vote victory, making Alabama the last state of the old Confederacy to join the New South. It was the biggest upset in Alabama political history, especially given Jones’s background as a successful prosecutor of Ku Klux Klansmen who perpetrated the signature civil rights crime of the 1960s, the fatal bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. 

 “Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed the Course of Civil Rights” is a valuable addition to the historical record of Alabama’s role as the battleground state of the civil rights revolution. It provides an inside look at how Jones, a former United States attorney from Birmingham, and his role model, the former Alabama attorney general Bill Baxley, sent to prison three Birmingham Klansmen who murdered four black girls by dynamiting their church on Sept. 15, 1963. The four children, aged 11 to 14 — Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Morris Wesley — died instantly in a women’s restroom where they were preparing for Sunday school. 

Opinion | New York’s Best Schools Need to Do Better - The New York Times

Opinion | New York’s Best Schools Need to Do Better - The New York Times: Yet again, the paucity of black and Latino students admitted to New York City’s elite public high schools is cause for alarm, and action.