Category Archives: Civil Rights

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Trump administration tells court law does not ban bias against gay workers

(Reuters) – A Trump administration lawyer on Tuesday urged a U.S. appeals court in Manhattan to rule that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees.

The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a New York skydiving company, Altitude Express Inc, in a lawsuit brought by former instructor Donald Zarda, who accused the company of firing him after he told a customer he was gay and she complained. Zarda died in a BASE-jumping accident after filing the lawsuit, and his estate took over the case.

Judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals focused their questions on whether discrimination against gay workers is a form of unlawful sex bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law bans discrimination based on workers’ sex, race, religion and other traits.

Justice Department lawyer Hashim Mooppan told the court that Congress never intended for that law to protect gay workers against bias. And in recent years, he said, lawmakers have repeatedly declined to pass bills that would prohibit employment discrimination against gay workers.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department had not weighed in on the case. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which appeared at Tuesday’s hearing on behalf of Zarda’s estate, has been arguing for five years that bias against gay workers violates the law. The EEOC is an independent federal agency that enforces Title VII.

 read full – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lgbt-court/trump-administration-tells-court-law-does-not-ban-bias-against-gay-workers-idUSKCN1C10EW

How does Celeb Jihad continue to share hacked celebrity nude pics?

By Diana Falzone

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are the most recent victims of a private photo leak to threaten legal action. However countless celebrities have fallen victim to their most private moments being made public and lately one website seems to be doing a lot of the sharing: Celeb Jihad.

“Websites like Celebjihad.com try to skirt the laws of the U.S. by being hosted offshore,” explained Kevin Blatt, celebrity crisis expert with the VIP cyber security company Faction.One. “By being located offshore, some sites think they don’t need to adhere to the laws of many countries or that it’s simply another layer of protection against the lawyers that represent these A -list clients.”

Yet Carrie Goldberg, Internet and sexual privacy lawyer at C. A. Goldberg, PLLC, said once a website is caught breaking the law, legal action can be taken.

“Now that we have revenge porn laws in two out of three of states, no legitimate company would want to take the risk of exhibiting naked pictures of nonconsenting people,” she noted.

Full Read – http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/08/24/how-does-celeb-jihad-continue-to-share-hacked-celebrity-nude-pics.html

How Anti-Mafia Laws Could Bring Down Legal Pot

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RICO laws were written to combat organized crime kingpins – but now they’re being used against state-legal marijuana businesses

Most people have strong feelings about marijuana’s distinctive dank odor. Suspicious landlords sniff for it. High-school hot-boxers roll down all the windows of their cars and drive around for hours trying to get rid of it. Mainstream candle and soap companies seek to recreate it for high-end, non-psychoactive mood settings. And now, it’s quietly becoming clear that the powerful smell of legal cannabis could become its ultimate undoing ­– the thing that causes the entire legalization experiment to disappear in a poof of smoke.

Earlier this summer, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado decided that the “noxious odors” from a pot farm could be lowering nearby property values and creating a nuisance. The decision came out of a civil suit by the farm’s neighbors under federal racketeering law, and could set a landmark precedent. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and this decision makes clear that private citizens can now circumvent state law and do what Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants but has yet to do: challenge the legitimacy of states and businesses participating in legalization. Next year, the suit will go back to district court, and unless other appeals courts issue contradictory rulings and the Supreme Court decides to take up the case, the 10th Circuit decision will stand – providing a road map for people who hate marijuana to initiate the collapse of legal weed in America.

Everything about this case is important, from its far-reaching implications to the mysterious, well-funded organization behind it. But before we get into the details, the key thing to realize here is this neighborly dispute is a microcosm for what’s wrong with America’s tangled marijuana policy: The commercialization of cannabis has had real consequences for people and places that want no involvement with the drug. Attempting, as we have, to cordon off the states and businesses and entrepreneurs and government agencies that interact with pot is delusional.

Legal weed cannot be neatly contained. Markets and odors don’t work that way. Neighbors know this. Interstate pot traffickers know this. Attorney General Jeff Sessions knows this. The question is: when will we change federal law to reflect reality?

Full Read – http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/how-anti-mafia-laws-could-bring-down-legal-pot-w499585

Disney Accused of Illegally Tracking Children Via Apps in New Lawsuit

A San Francisco mom says her child was illegally tracked while using the Disney Princess Palace Pets app.

Amanda Rushing, on behalf of her child referred to as “L.L.,” is suing The Walt Disney Company, Disney Electronic Content and others in a proposed class action filed Thursday in California federal court.

Rushing claims an advertising-specific software development kit is surreptitiously embedded in the code for the app, and that’s how Disney is collecting personal information and tracking online behavior.

“App developers and their SDK-providing partners can track children’s behavior while they play online games with their mobile devices by obtaining critical pieces of data from the mobile devices, including ‘persistent identifiers,’ typically a unique number linked to a specific mobile device,” writes attorney Michael Sobol in the complaint. “These persistent identifiers allow SDK providers to detect a child’s activity across multiple apps and platforms on the internet, and across different devices, effectively providing a full chronology of the child’s actions across devices and apps. This information is then sold to various third-parties who sell targeted online advertising.”

Full Read – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/disney-accused-illegally-tracking-children-apps-new-lawsuit-1026881

The new face of Trump’s legal team has never done anything like this — and allies think he’s the perfect fit

When Jay Sekulow found himself backed into a corner during a heated interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday, he pulled out his inner Trump.

The host of “Fox News Sunday” was pressing Sekulow on President Donald Trump’s Friday tweet, in which Trump wrote: “I am under investigation.”

Wallace and Sekulow, a big time conservative lawyer who is quickly becoming the face of Trump’s legal team, went back and forth on the issue. Sekulow, while trying to explain why Trump wasn’t personally under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, found himself saying that Trump was under investigation. Twice.

“You’ve now said that he is being investigated,” Wallace said.

“No, Chris,” Sekulow replied. “Let me be crystal clear so you completely understand: We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation of the president of the United States.”

“Sir, you’ve just said two times that he’s being investigated,” Wallace said.

As the president has done on many occasions, Sekulow then doubled- and tripled-down on his point even while his rhetoric from just moments before contradicted it. Trump was not under investigation, he reiterated time and time again.

Read Full – http://www.businessinsider.com/jay-sekulow-new-face-trump-legal-team-russia-2017-6