By Caitlin Tremblay
While the East Coast was busy prepping for the presidential
inauguration, law professor and sexual harassment awareness
activist Anita Hill received a standing ovation at the Sundance
Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Hill is the subject of a new
documentary, "Anita: Speaking Truth to Power," which was
directed by Freida Mock and premiered at the fest on Saturday.
The 85-minute movie tells the story of Hill's testimony in
front of the Senate Judicial Committee during Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearings in 1991, when
she accused him of sexually harassing her. It also includes the
push back and disbelief Hill faced when she first went public,
as well as her current work raising awareness about sexual
According to The Toronto Star, Hill told an audience after
the premiere that she hopes the film will help further her
activist work. "The thing that I love about this film is we're
looking at the next generation of young people ... and we have
to really commit ourselves to getting it right in the future and
that's what I'm hoping this (documentary) will do for us. To not
simply think about the past but to think about where we need to
The Salt Lake Tribune says one of the film's most striking
moments comes when Hill reveals she never again put on the blue
dress she wore while giving her testimony. The Sundance Channel
has a great interview with Mock and Hill about how the film,
which took three years to make, came about.
By Dan Brillman
Sometimes a head covering is just a head covering. Except
when it isn't. Take the transcendent hat worn on inauguration
day by Justice Antonin Scalia (hat, er, tip: ABA Journal), a
replica of one worn by 16th century Christian martyr Thomas
More. The chapeau (called a "beret on steroids" by the New York
Daily News) was given to Scalia by the St. Thomas More Society
of Richmond, Virginia, and is described as being similar to the
skullcaps worn occasionally by Supreme Court justices at
official events from the early 20th century, only with "flaps."
But could the justice have been sending a political message?
Matthew Schmitz at the conservative religious journal FirstThings floats the idea, saying that "Wearing the cap of a
statesman who defended liberty of church and integrity of
Christian conscience to the inauguration of a president whose
policies have imperiled both: Make of it what you will."
Of course, it could just have been the warmest hat Scalia
Both sides now
By Anna Louie Sussman
Clinical legal education, long a bastion for causes like
immigration rights and access to housing, is now embracing
religious liberty as well, reports The New York Times. Backed
with $1.6 million from two conservative foundations, Stanford
Law School has launched the first clinic in the country
dedicated to defending religious liberty, which the school
defines as the free expression of religion.
Lawrence Marshall, the law school's associate dean for
clinical legal education, said the clinic reflected a commitment
to "ideological diversity," in addition to racial, ethnic and
The first four students to sign up for the program sound
like fodder for a stand-up routine: There's a Catholic, a
Mormon, a Methodist and someone raised Seventh-day Adventist.
But the participants told the Times they were attracted to the
deep questions raised by the clinic's work and the hands-on
experience they would get.
The clinic will not take cases in which the government has
endorsed expressions of faith, such as business owners' refusals
to provide contraceptive coverage for employees or prayer
sessions at public events. James Sonne, the founding director of
the clinic, said believers were in greater need of legal defense
"Our job is religious liberty rather than freedom from
religion," he tells the Times.
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
In all but six states, owners whose property is seized by
law enforcement are considered guilty until proven innocent, and
that makes civil forfeiture a national problem, writes John Ross
in Reason (hat tip: The Volokh Conspiracy). The rules were
written to deprive criminals of their essential asset, but more
often than not, it is the average citizen whose property is
seized, according to data published by the Metropolitan Police
Department in Washington.
That needs to change, writes Ross, who highlights
legislation that would improve protections for property owners
and presumably prevent cases like that of Jerrie Braithwaite. In
January 2012, Braithwaite lent her car to a friend in Washington
who was pulled over by the police, the car searched and the
friend found to be in possession of drugs. The police seized the
car and even though Braithwaite was never charged with a crime,
she still hasn't got her car back. The department does not
return her calls, she says.
Ilya Somin points out in Volokh that the Supreme Court heard
a case about forfeiture policies in 2009 but dismissed it on
procedural grounds. In that case property owners whose cars were
seized by the Chicago police and held for years at a time
challenged the seizure, arguing that the 14th Amendment
guaranteed that states cannot seize private property without due
process of law. The court did not rule on the merits of the
litigation, since the state had already settled the case and had
returned the cars to the owners.
By Ted Botha
Hip clothier Urban Outfitters has lost a round in its battle
with one of its inspirations, the Navajo Nation, according to the Associated Press.
The retailer had been selling pullovers, feather earrings
and underwear as part of its "Navajo" and "Navaho" lines, but
last February, the Navajo Nation, which is based in Window Rock,
Arizona, sued Urban in U.S. District Court in New Mexico for
trademark violation, Reuters reported. The retailer, which is
based in Philadelphia, asked in late 2012 to have the case
transferred to the eastern district of Pennsylvania, close to
Urban headquarters, because it would be more convenient. The
U.S. District Court in Albuquerque has agreed that the case
would move along quicker in Pennsylvania but said a change of
venue merely would shift inconvenience to the Navajo Nation.
Urban, which recorded sales of $666 million in 2012,
"specializes in ironic and irreverent merchandise that sometimes
rubs up against the sensibilities of some customers. Some St.
Patrick's Day clothing items making light of binge drinking
offended Irish groups," according to Investor's Business Daily.
In October, Urban pulled T-shirts and other products depicting
Che Guevara, and more recently stirred controversy in the Latino
community when an Urban shirt was found in a Wal-Mart in Queens,
New York, labeled with the words 'Juan' and "Wal-Mart Tire and
Lube Express," writes The Huffington Post.
Summary Judgments for January 18
Summary Judgments for January 17
Summary Judgments for January 16
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