THE MAGAZINE

Legal Report Resources

By Megan Gates

Drones
A federal judge dismissed a case challenging the Obama administration’s use of unmanned drones to kill terrorism suspects overseas. In her
opinion for Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta, Justice Rosemary M. Collyer wrote that the courts cannot create a remedy for targeted killings without intruding on the powers of the president and Congress to wage war.

Employment
A New York court has ruled that employees’ immigration status do not affect the employer’s rights under Workers’ Compensation Law section 11. Instead, employers have economic protections under the law regardless of employees’ immigration statuses the court decided in New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens v. Microtech Contracting Corp.

Gun Rights
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to re-enter Second Amendment gun controversies and denied to hear three cases—two of which were brought by the National Rifle Association (NRA)—seeking clarification on the scope of an individual’s right to have a gun for personal self-defense: NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; NRA v. McCraw, and Lane v. Holder. The Court ruled six years ago that the second amendment protects a personal right to have a gun and has only issued one ruling since then, which expanded the right nationwide to apply to state and local gun control laws, as well as federal laws.

Parody
The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) settled a lawsuit with an activist who was selling merchandise using their logos. The NSA and DHS acknowledged that merchants who use images and names of government agencies on parody merchandise are not in violation of any federal laws. As part of the settlement in McCall v. NSA, DHS and the NSA have agreed to rescind previously issued cease-and-desist letters, allowing a storefront to resume selling designs using their logos.

Whistleblowers
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s opinion, ruling that whistleblower protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act includes employees of a public company’s private contractors and subcontractors. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the Court’s opinion in Lawson v. FMR LLC, writing that its interpretation of the law “protects the employees of investment advisors, who are often the only firsthand witnesses to shareholder fraud involving mutual funds.”

Real ID
Newly appointed Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) introduced a bill (S. 2121) to repeal part of the Real ID Act of 2005. The bill focuses on repealing title II of the act, which created new requirements for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards. The bill is cosponsored by Sen. John Tester (D-MT) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK).

Drones
A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to transfer all authority over unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to the Department of Defense (DoD). If passed, H.R. 4036 would prevent any officer, employee, contractor, or detailee of the CIA from using drones to carry out a weapons strike or other lethal action.

Chemical Facilities
A bill introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) would require the secretary of Homeland Security to establish risk-based performance standards to protect chemical facilities from acts of terrorism. If passed, H.R. 4007 would require facilities to submit security vulnerability assessments and to develop and implement site security plans.

Emergency Responders
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced a bill (H.R. 4203) that would prohibit interference with communication frequencies used by emergency response providers. The bill aims to protect emergency responders’ communication methods by making it a criminal offense to interfere with the working or use of a communication frequency by emergency responders, such as radio frequencies.

Concealed Carry
An Idaho law went into effect on May 21 that allows law-abiding adults over the age of 21 with a state concealed carry permit to carry a firearm onto most parts of college campuses without fear of reprisal from the university. The law (formerly S.B. 1254) was passed to allow students in Idaho to “exercise their right to self-defense while attending class.”

Discrimination
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill (S.B. 1062) that would have allowed businesses to refuse services to gays and others based on religious beliefs. Both houses of the state legislature had passed the measure, but Brewer took executive action on the bill after facing pressures from the business community and gay rights advocates.

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