News

ABA Files Amicus Brief to Uphold Travel Ban Injunction

The American Bar Association has filed an amicus brief in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let stand an injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the ABA Journal reports. The brief was filed on behalf of the International Refugee Assistance Project and other plaintiffs. The ABA House of Delegates passed a resolution at this year’s midyear meeting, raising concerns about the original travel ban and urging the president to “not use religion or nationality as a basis for barring an otherwise eligible individual from admission to the United States.”
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Tennessee AG Joins States Supporting Trump Travel Ban

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of President Donald Trump’s updated travel ban, the Tennessean reports. That adds Slatery to a list of officials in 15 states who believe the decision from the U.S. District Court in Hawaii should be reversed. That decision halted the president’s second version of the travel ban.
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Twitter Withdraws Lawsuit Against Homeland Security

Twitter has withdrawn a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after the agency withdrew its order asking Twitter to reveal the user behind a critical account, NPR reports. The department had demanded the login information, phone number, mailing address and IP address of the user behind the “@ALT_uscis” account, which is allegedly run by Citizenship and Immigration Services employees. The agency had threatened legal action against the social media company if it did not comply. 
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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case of Tennessee Immigrant

The case of a Memphis restauranteur who faces deportation after pleading guilty to a drug charge was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court last week, the Washington Post reports. Jae Lee’s lawyer told him there was no way he’d be deported if he took a plea deal, but he was wrong. The court will decide whether Lee should be given a second chance in court due to bad lawyering. Lee is a legal resident who has lived most of his life in the United States. "This case answers what kind of prejudice you have to show in order to get relief from the mistakes made by your trial lawyer," said one of Lee's lawyers, Patrick McNally of Nashville.
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Immigration Law Forum 2017: International Business Immigration Issues

On the afternoon of April 7, a CLE on immigration law will  be held at the Bar Center. Sessions will focus on U.S. and international business investment immigration issues facing both immigration and non-immigration attorneys such as corporate counsel, employment law, and technology law attorneys. Featured speakers will include government/NGO representatives, cross border company executives, and cross border services representatives. Find out more and register here.

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Rogero: Knoxville Police Aren’t Immigration Agents

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said in a news conference yesterday that the Knoxville police “will not voluntarily be ICE agents,” Knoxnews reports. Rogero went on to say that it was a safety issue, as the city “cannot do that if people are afraid of calling us when something happens.” At the conference, stories were shared of immigrants who were afraid to even call the health department for services, in fear of being taken away from their children.
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Second Travel Ban Blocked; Trump Responds with Attack on Judiciary

President Donald Trump criticized the judiciary while on a visit to Nashville yesterday, saying that a federal judge in Hawaii struck down his second travel ban for “political reasons,” the Nashville Post reports. He made comments citing “unprecedented judicial overreach” and said that the Hawaii ruling “makes us look weak.” In addition to the order from Hawaii, a second federal judge in Maryland ruled overnight against a core provision of the ban, the New York Times reports.
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Tennessee Sues Federal Government Over Refugees

The state of Tennessee filed a lawsuit against the federal government over refugee resettlement today, citing violation of the 10th Amendment, the Tennessean reports. The suit claims the government forced states to pay for the refugee resettlement program. It is brought by the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative legal group, after Tennessee’s legislature approved the lawsuit and Attorney General Herbert Slatery declined to initiate the case.
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Law Dean Credits Trump for Growing Respect for Lawyers

Lawyers who jumped into action to help those affected by President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration are rising in popularity, at least among those who oppose the policy, the ABA Journal writes. This growing respect for lawyers has led one law school dean to see opportunity. Brooklyn Law School president and dean Nicholas Allard says law schools can build on recent events and highlight the importance of lawyers “to the defense of our rights, the pursuit of justice, and the preservation of our Republic.” Allard writes, “President Trump has made lawyers the breakout stars in the early days of his new administration.”

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TBA Mashup and Mini Legal Hackathon this Friday

In conjunction with the Law Tech UnConference CLE this Friday, the TBA is also offering a variety of free events and programs for lawyers we’re calling a Mashup. One program will teach you about Legal Hackathons and see one in action. A Legal Hackathon is a collaborative effort of experts in the legal profession collaborating with a computer programmer to find a technology assisted solution to a problem in the legal industry. Join the TBA Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market for a mini legal hackathon that will demonstrate the power of collaborative minds at work. We will have tasty beverages and snacks to help you get your collaborative juices flowing.  
 
Other programs that will be a part of the Mashup include Pro Bono In Action which will show you various pro bono programs you can participate in to help your fellow Tennesseans and Member Benefit Programs that will provide you information on  Fastcase 7, health insurance options for small firms, ABA retirement funds and professional liability insurance.
 
Please sign up now to let us know you are coming.

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Immigration Law Forum 2017

Join the TBA for the Immigration Law Forum 2017: Investment Immigration, specifically designed for both lawyers who are experienced immigration lawyers, and for lawyers who may never practice immigration law during their career. Sessions will focus on U.S. and international business investment immigration issues facing both immigration and non-immigration attorneys such as corporate counsel, employment law attorneys and technology law attorneys. For more details and registration information, visit the TBA website.
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Lawyers Create App to Link Travelers to Legal Help

A team of programmers and lawyers spent their Super Bowl Sunday creating an app to link executive order-affected travelers landing at U.S. airports with free legal help, the Washington Post reports. The site and app went live Monday, and was formed through a partnership between attorneys, legal-data-management company Clio and legal-software firm Neota Logic to provide a solution to attorneys camping out at airports around the clock to help those in need.
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Gorsuch Calls Trump Attacks on Judiciary 'Demoralizing'

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch expressed consternation at President Trump’s negative remarks towards the judiciary, the New York Times reports. A White House advisor confirmed that Gorsuch had called Trump’s remarks “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” Via Twitter, Trump had earlier attacked a Seattle judge who temporarily blocked his travel ban, calling him a “so-called judge” whose ruling was “ridiculous.” Trump also  complained that judicial review of the ban was “disgraceful” and “so political.” 
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ABA Groups Create Website to Respond to Immigration Order

The American Bar Association’s Futures Initiative and Center for Innovation has created a new website to respond to the executive order that bans citizens of seven countries from entering the U.S., the ABA Journal reports. ImmigrationJustice.us is a portal for attorneys interested in volunteering their legal expertise, language experts who can volunteer to translate, as well as members of the public looking to find information on the travel ban and other immigration-related issues. The website was created in just a few hours after an American Immigration Lawyers Association member told the groups that the AILA was struggling to coordinate the flood of pro bono volunteers since the announcement of the order. 
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Independence of Judiciary Not Up for Negotiation, ABA President Says

American Bar Association President Linda Klein today called on lawyers to defend the rule of law despite comments against the judiciary coming from the U.S. executive branch, according to the ABA Journal. “Let us be clear. The independence of the judiciary is not up for negotiation,” Klein said in an address to the ABA House of Delegates. The House later adopted a resolution urging the U.S. government to withdraw the Executive Order barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Klein also announced the launch of an online portal to coordinate efforts of lawyers helping immigrants affected by the ban.
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Bill Introduced Would Require “Alien” on Immigrant IDs

A bill introduced yesterday would require the Tennessee Department of Safety to label ID cards with “alien” or “non-citizen” for anyone who does not have permanent status to live in the U.S., the Tennessean reports. Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, cited terror attacks as the rationale for filing the bill. The legislation also calls for any license, permit or identification to expire when the person’s work visa or temporary authorization expires. Advocacy organizations likely to oppose the legislation say it is unnecessary and will threaten foreign investment in Tennessee. 
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Questions Surround Refugee Lawsuit After Executive Order

A planned Tennessee lawsuit to challenge refugee resettlement is up in the air following President Trump's executive order suspending resettlement in the United States, Nashville Public Radio reports. Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, backed the lawsuit, but now says attorneys are trying to decide whether the state still has a case. "It could mean that our standing is in question, depending on how long the moratorium lasts," Norris said Thursday. "What I may do is ask for a meeting with the new attorney general, with Jeff Sessions." The Tennessean has more
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Judges Block Trump Travel Ban, Tennessee Delegation Split

At least five judges over the weekend partially blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, the ABA Journal says. Federal judges in Brooklyn, Boston, Alexandra, Los Angeles and Seattle issued injunctions. In Tennessee, Reps. Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen both say they will join fellow Democrats in sponsoring legislation that would bar the use of federal funds to enforce the travel ban, the Commercial Appeal reports. Tennessee Republicans in Congress defended the actions, calling them a "necessary step" to strengthening national security. Some also admitted the actions were sometimes poorly carried out.
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ABA Urges SCOTUS to Hear Expedited Deportation Case

The American Bar Association is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case challenging the federal government’s right to deport immigrants without a hearing. Twenty-eight mothers arrested in Texas in 2015 are fighting against the U.S. government’s “expedited removal” process. The families claimed asylum, which would make them ineligible for expedited removal, but authorities deemed they had no credible fear of persecution and ordered their removal. Read more at the ABA Journal.
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Obama Ends Cuban Refugee Policy, Doctors’ Program

The Obama administration yesterday ended a two-decade-old policy that allowed Cuban refugees to enter the United States without visas. Under the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, the United States turned away Cuban refugees who were intercepted at sea but let refugees who made it onto land stay and eventually become legal residents. Under the new policy, any refugee not qualifying for humanitarian relief will be returned to Cuba. National Public Radio also reports that the president ended the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, which allowed Cuban doctors and other medical personnel to seek temporary legal status in America.

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Day 2 of Sessions Hearing Offers Conflicting Views

For a second day, the issue of racism was at the center of the confirmation hearing for attorney general designate Jeff Sessions, UPI reports. After questioning Sessions for more than 10 hours yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee today turned its attention to testimony from others – including three black lawmakers who all recommended against his confirmation. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Cedric Richmond, D-La., questioned Sessions’ past views on race and whether he would aggressively pursue civil rights, equal rights and justice for all citizens. Representing a different perspective, Sessions’ former chief counsel, who also is black, told the committee, “I have not seen the slightest hint of racism because it does not exist.”

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Sessions’ Hearing Hits Hot Button Issues

Attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions went before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today and mounted a full-scale response to what he has described as character attacks against him and false charges about his past. The hearing, which was interrupted from time to time by protestors, covered a range of “hot button” issues including civil rights, immigration, a border wall, same-sex marriage and abortion, with Sessions saying he will uphold the law even if he does not agree with it. Sessions also said he would recuse himself from any investigation of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation given his past comments on those issues. The hearing continues tomorrow with unprecedented testimony by one sitting senator, Illinois’ Cory Booker, against another. Read Sessions’ opening statement.

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TBJ Covers Immigration, Child Sexual Abuse, Family Law, Humor

Companies’ hiring of employees using work visas is a tedious business, but Nashville lawyer Dan E. White details it in the January Tennessee Bar Journal. Since the printing of the issue, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) increased filing fees by an average of 21 percent. Read the article online, which now includes the specifics on the updated fees. Also in this issue, John Day writes about child sexual abuse victims, and Marlene Eskind Moses and Benjamin Russ explain the doctrine of “inconvenient forum.” Bill Haltom looks at the flip side of “absence of malice.” Read the January TBJ.

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California Dems Hire Holder to Fight Trump Policies

Democratic leaders in the California legislature have hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to advise them on a legal strategy as they prepare for a fight against President-elect Donald Trump and a number of his policies. The group will pay Holder $25,000 a month plus expenses for three months to develop strategies “regarding potential actions of the federal government that may be of concern to the state of California.” Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have talked tough since Trump’s election, vowing to confront his campaign promises to repeal “Obamacare” and deport undocumented immigrants. WRCB-TV has the Associated Press story.

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Have You Heard About the TBA Mashup?

Interested in observing a legal hackathon or getting a hands-on demonstration of the new Fastcase 7 platform? Both will be part of the first TBA Mashup, a full-day of activities and free programming set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Bar Center in conjunction with the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program.

In addition to the hackathon and Fastcase 7 demo, the TBA Mashup will feature sessions on: 

  • Current State of Health Insurance for the Small Firms
  • Professional Liability Insurance - What to look for in YOUR Policy
  • A Demo of Fastcase TopForm, a powerful bankruptcy filing software
  • Retirement Planning Guidance from the ABA Retirement Funds
  • Pro Bono in Action: How to help with pro bono events and how to take part in online options

At the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program, you can take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout based on the hours you need. Topics will include: 

  • Bill & Phil Tech Show
  • Ethical Considerations for Cyber Security in Law
  • Evolution of the Legal Marketplace
  • Making e-Discovery Affordable 
  • Drone Law
  • Encryption for Lawyers

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