A gay Texas teacher is on leave after she showed students a photo of her wife. She has few legal protections. | The Texas Tribune

BY EMMA PLATOFF

Texas law prohibits employment discrimination based on a host of factors, including sex, race, religion and disability. But there’s no express protection for LGBTQ employees

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Stacy Bailey has been employed as an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School for a decade, but she hasn’t been in the classroom since September.

Instead, she’s in limbo: She isn’t fired — her contract with the district has even been renewed — but she’s not working.

Mansfield ISD in North Texas put Bailey on paid administrative leave at the start of this school year, following complaints from a parent that she was “promoting the ‘homosexual agenda'” by showing her class a photo of her and her now-wife, Julie Vazquez, as well as mentioning that the artist Jasper Johns had a partner, another artist Robert Rauschenberg, Bailey claims in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month.

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Justice Dept. Restricts a Common Tactic of Immigration Judges – The New York Times

By Katie Benner

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive on Thursday that places limits on a tool commonly used by immigration judges and could put hundreds of thousands of deportation cases that are essentially closed back on federal court dockets.

The move, issued in an interim decision, is unlikely to reopen all the cases. But Mr. Sessions said that immigration courts could not put such cases on indefinite hold by using a practice known as administrative closure, which temporarily removes a case from a judge’s calendar and delays a proceeding that could remove an immigrant from the country.

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Read the ruling. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

MURPHY, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY, ET AL. v. NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSN. ET AL.

 Reversing the determination that a New Jersey law repealing prohibitions on sports gambling violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, making it unlawful for a State or its subdivisions to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize betting on sports because by permitting sports betting the State was authorizing sports betting under the statute as PASPA was held to violate the anticommandeering rule stating that Congress cannot commandeer the legislative process of States by directly compelling them to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program.
 

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Statement on NY Court of Appeals Decision in Chimpanzee Rights Cases–Nonhuman Rights Project

Chimpanzee. Taken at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Chimpanzee. Taken at the Los Angeles Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

May 8, 2018–New York, NY–Today, Eugene M. Fahey–an Associate Judge on New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals–issued an opinion that is already being seen as an historic mark of progress in the fight to secure fundamental legal rights for nonhuman animals.

Without giving a ground for its action, the Court of Appeals as a whole again refused to hear our motion for further review of a lower court decision on behalf of chimpanzees Tommy and Kiko. This in itself is not significant insofar as the Court of Appeals rejects the vast majority of motions it receives for permission to appeal.

But Judge Fahey’s concurring opinion makes clear that the decision not to hear Tommy and Kiko’s cases was not made on the merits of the NhRP’s claim.

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Here are three remarkable excerpts from the opinion:

“In elevating our species, we should not lower the status of other highly intelligent species.”

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“To treat a chimpanzee as if he or she had no right to liberty protected by habeas corpus is to regard the chimpanzee as entirely lacking independent worth, as a mere resource for human use, a thing the value of which consists exclusively in its usefulness to others. Instead, we should consider whether a chimpanzee is an individual with inherent value who has the right to be treated with respect.”

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“In the interval since we first denied leave to the Nonhuman Rights Project, I have struggled with whether this was the right decision. Although I concur in the Court’s decision to deny leave to appeal now, I continue to question whether the Court was right to deny leave in the first instance. The issue whether a nonhuman animal has a fundamental right to liberty protected by the writ of habeas corpus is profound and far-reaching. It speaks to our relationship with all the life around us. Ultimately, we will not be able to ignore it. While it may be arguable that a chimpanzee is not a ‘person,’ there is no doubt that it is not merely a thing.”

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Teaching Law & Religion | a project of Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad, funded by the Luce Foundation

TEACHING LAW & RELIGION CASE STUDY ARCHIVE
RELIGION
For researchers, instructors, and policymakers at the intersection of religion and law, the Teaching Law & Religion Case Study Archive is a helpful collection of open-access resources related to the topic. This resource list is compiled by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, a religious studies professor at Indiana University and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, a political science professor at Northwestern University. The archive also features the work of a number of scholars. As of this write-up, the case studies portion of the archive features nine different case studies from around the globe, each containing a synopsis and a number of related readings that provide additional context and analysis. For instance, one case study discusses South Africa’s Muslim Marriage Bill, which was introduced in 2010 and, if passed, would provide legal recognition for Muslim marriages. Another case study involves the 2009 court case R(E) v. The Governing Body of JFS, in which the UK Supreme Court assessed the legality of the admissions policy at a Jewish school. In addition to the case studies collection, this resource contains a collection of college-level syllabi and an extensive bibliography for those interested in further research. [MMB]

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group – http://scout.wisc.edu

As Silver’s Retrial Begins, Impact of SCOTUS ‘McDonnell’ Makes Early Debut | New York Law Journal

By Colby Hamilton

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. United States narrowed the application of federal bribery statutes to those where a clear quid pro quo of something of value results in an official act taken by the elected official. The lack of clear language in Silver’s jury instructions to this effect during the last trial led the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to begrudgingly vacate the former assembly speaker’s conviction in July 2017.
 
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A third federal judge rules against DACA phaseout, but goes further than two previous judges–ABA Journal

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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Previous rulings required the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to accept applications for renewal of benefits under the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) while litigation is pending. U.S. District Judge John Bates of Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that the government must also accept new applications, though he postponed his ruling for 90 days, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Postand Politico.

Bates said in his opinion that he was postponing his order to allow the Justice Department “an opportunity to better explain” its decision to wind down the program.

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