The Missouri Catholic Conference, a group of Missouri Catholic bishops, issued a statement on gun violence criticizing the Missouri legislature for loosening gun restrictions. The legislature passed two bills loosening concealed carry restrictions in the state, one of which would make it it permissible to carry a concealed gun into a church without alerting the church’s religious leader. The bishops say the laws violate their right to religious liberty. It will be interesting to see what conservatives do when the First Amendment butts heads with the Second Amendment.
In the wake of the trial of Larry Nassar—the former sports medicine doctor at Michigan State University (MSU)—MSU has found itself under fire for failing to properly handle sexual assault reports. A young woman filed a lawsuit last week alleging that MSU fostered a culture in which victims of sexual assault were discouraged from coming forward with allegations that could hurt MSU’s athletics program. The school is also under investigation for its complicity in Nassar’s sexual abuse of his patients.
A federal judge in Los Angeles handed Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice (DOJ) another loss when it ruled that the DOJ cannot force local law enforcement agencies to collaborate with federal immigration authorities in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) apparent attempt to deport everyone it can get its hands on. U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real agreed with the city of Los Angeles that the DOJ abused its power when it favored grant applicants who committed to cooperating with ICE. The grant in question was developed to help local law enforcement hire officers for their community-oriented policing, or COPS, program.
A woman in Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Concord Christian School, alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination after the school fired her. The lawsuit alleges her employer admitted outright that her work performance had nothing to do with the decision to fire her. It was because she was pregnant and unmarried … in 2017. The school disputes that claim.
Remember the Lawyers for Fetuses law? The American Civil Liberties Union and attorneys for the state of Alabama faced off last week in oral arguments as they debated whether or not the state should reinstate the law, which would permit a court to appoint a guardian ad litem for a fetus. Alabama wants to put minors seeking an abortion through a trial-like process, including essentially permitting the fetus—or the lawyer standing in for it—to cross-examine the minor about their reasons for seeking an abortion. If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.
A transgender woman in Texas filed a lawsuit against Phillips 66 alleging that the company refused to hire her because she is transgender. A federal judge sided with her, ruling that Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. While the Fifth Circuit has not yelled ruled that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, several circuits, including the Second and Seventh Circuits, have done so.
Bill Cosby’s retrial is moving forward. Andrea Constand, the woman at the center of the Cosby sexual assault trial, took the stand last week to testify for a second time. She first testified last year, but that trial ended in a hung jury in June 2017.