Law blog roundup

FootballWelcome to Monday, the last day of the college-football season. Here are some news items to kickoff the week.

– A registered sex offender seeks admission to the Kentucky bar.

– Texas mayor ignites church-state controversy.

– States propose solutions to problems in public-defender systems.

– A columnist becomes a casualty of the gun debate.


Law blog roundup

Welcome to Tuesday and game two of the Battle of the Beltways. Here are some pregame news items.

– A man who helped give rise to many a Constitutional Law and bar exam question has died.

– President Obama will play Pick Three.

– Millions may have overstayed their welcome.

– Roger Clemens may have cheated off the diamond.

Law blog roundup

Greece, N.Y.Welcome to Monday and the start of a three-game home series against that team from New York. Here are some news items to get your week started.

– Did a town board in Greece (New York, again) violate the First Amendment with its pre-session prayer?

– Obama administration’s search for leakers reaches new high (or low).

– Evanston, Ill., residents hope their Chicago suburb becomes a no drone zone.

– Civil rights challenge to New York Police Department’s stop, question and frisk tactic nears conclusion.

Law blog roundup

Wall StreetWelcome to the final Monday of January. Here are some news items to get your week before the big game started.

– Military lawyer clashes with Obama administration over breadth of war crimes.

– Muslim students file First Amendment appeal in California.

– Wall Street receives advice on dealing with the Justice Department.

– Another “M” state debates the death penalty.

Law blog roundup

Welcome to Columbus Day 2012. Without further ado, or having to sail the ocean blue, here is this week’s roundup.

– New York shows how it can handle a terrorism trial in federal court.

– Hopes dim for rights activists in Egypt.

– Rejected white University of Texas applicant gets her day in the Supreme Court this week.

– Wisconsin school district defends holding its graduation in a church.


D.C. lawyer (chicken) dances around political debate

When it comes to defending same-sex marriage, one Washington, D.C., lawyer is no chicken.

Attorney Ted Frank, who also blogs, has come up with a way to support same-sex marriage and consume controversial Chick-fil-A chicken.

The country has been abuzz about the Georgia-based fast-food chain in the past few weeks after its president, Dan Cathy, told a Baptist newspaper in an interview that he only supports marriage between a man and a woman.

Since then, each side of the political spectrum has jumped into the issue. Opponents of same-sex marriage declared a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and encouraged those supporting Cathy’s views to head to their nearest Chick-fil-A and order a chicken sandwich and waffle fries. Those in favor of same-sex marriage responded with Chick-fil-A “Kiss-Off” day, where same-sex couples smooched outside chicken chains across the country.

Frank has found himself, like many Americans, facing a conundrum: he loves Chick-fil-A food, but dislikes the company’s stance against same-sex marriage. So Frank decided to take a stand — all for the love of chicken and same-sex marriage.

Frank started the website, Chicken Offsets, where people can donate every time they eat at Chick-fil-A. The money will then go to a number of LGBT nonprofits. Every $1 donated equals an offset of one chicken sandwich, and $6 is worth 10 chicken sandwich offsets, according to the website.

As Frank explains on the website:

Chick-fil-A sells $4,100,000,000 of chicken a year and donates about 0.04% of that to Christian organizations that are only anti-gay in a collateral sense. Buying a chicken offset does far more for gay rights than boycotting the chain because someone asked a business executive so religiously Christian that he insists that the stores be closed on Sunday what he thought about gay marriage and people are pretending to be surprised by the answer.

At least 90 percent of the money donated goes to the It Gets Better Project, which focuses on helping LGBT teens, and The Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law that researches gender identity and sexual orientation law. Only a small amount of money is kept by the website for operating expenses.

Frank launched the website Saturday night and reportedly had raised $100 by late Monday.

So now, thanks to Frank,  gay rights supporters hankering for a spicy chicken sandwich bathed in signature Chick-fil-A Sauce can consume the 630-calorie meal guilt-free. Well, morally, anyways.

General Assembly takes up United Methodist property rights law

Committees in both houses of the General Assembly are scheduled in the next few days to take up a bill that would erase a state law that codifies the United Methodist Church’s bylaws giving it property rights of its churches.

Helping to lead the charge on the bills are members of Sunnyside New Life Community Church in Frederick, whose legal battle with its former denomination I’ve written about in the past. They will be part of two busloads of supporters making the trip to the Senate on Thursday and House of Delegates on Tuesday.

Pastor Kenneth Mitchell, Sunnyside’s spiritual leader, said the law is causing particular hardships for small, historically-black churches such as Sunnyside, which ended up about $100,000 in debt after taking out a mortgage on its property for the first time and paying legal fees associated with its litigation with the UMC.

Mitchell, who will be testifying before lawmakers, said supporters are “very confident and very hopeful” the bill will past this year after failing in previous sessions. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, D-Baltimore City. The lead sponsor for the identical House bill is Del. Hattie N. Harrison, D-Baltimore City

“This time the issue is not localized in one county,” Mitchell said. “This is across the state.”

Sunnyside celebrates happier days

I received an unexpected email earlier this week from the Sunnyside New Life Community Church in Frederick inviting me to their “Liberty Through the Cross” event Sunday at Tuscarora High School.

I wrote last year about Sunnyside, founded by descendants of freed slaves, and its efforts to own its property despite splitting from the United Methodist Church in 2008. The Baltimore-Washington Conference of the UMC had filed a lawsuit against Sunnyside claiming the parent denomination owned the property once Sunnyside left the flock based on UMC bylaws.

The lawsuit settled in December with Sunnyside paying the UMC $50,000 for the property.

“We are elated,” Roxanne Weedon-Thrasher, the church’s administrator, told me Thursday. “A lot of us are still pinching ourselves.”

The congregation has been contacted for advice by other churches in a similar position as Sunnyside, but the victory came with a price. The church had to take out a mortgage on the property for the first time and, with legal fees, is about $100,000 in debt.

So Sunnyside now holds regular fundraisers. Sunday’s event features Pastor (and state Sen.) C. Anthony Muse, who is bringing along his choir and congregation from the Ark of Safety Christian Church in Upper Marlboro.

“It’s a huge struggle but we are faithful people,” Weedon-Thrasher said. “If God brought us through that, anything is possible.”

Law blog roundup: Back-to-school edition

The kids are back to school and you’re at work. Take a minute to check out some law links to start the week.

  • Copyright laws might prevent public consumption of the Savory collection — a treasure trove of jazz recordings from the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Two couples with ties to the Maryland legal community made the New York Times Weddings/Celebrations page.
  • Virginia’s AG says the state can further regulate abortion clinics.
  • The Maryland Injury Law Blog is supporting sitting judges Laura Kiessling and Ronald Jarashow in the race for Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge — even though they say only 11 people could make an informed decision in that race.
  • Lots of students on other career tracks work for free in summer internships, but law schools in Florida are refusing to post requests seeking summer associates who will work for free because of labor laws.
  • More and more are leaving big law behind.
  • The Huffington Post has a Q&A with Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church.