Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Thurs 5/11 - USNWR Ranking, Biden Admin's Pollution Plan is Lackluster, Santos is Going Nowhere, Florida Targets Teachers (Again) and Phoenix Suns Broadcaster BK

Thurs 5/11 - USNWR Ranking, Biden Admin's Pollution Plan is Lackluster, Santos is Going Nowhere, Florida Targets Teachers (Again) and Phoenix Suns Broadcaster BK

New USNWR law school ranking, the Biden administration’s pollution plan seems lackluster, George Santos is going nowhere, Florida targets teachers’ union, and Phoenix Suns broadcaster bankruptcy.

U.S. News & World Report has released its new law school rankings after a boycott by nearly one-third of law schools and a three-week delay due to data problems. Changes in the methodology of the publication led to notable shifts among elite law schools and significant movement among many schools further down on the list. The changes increased the weight of employment outcomes and bar passage rates and reduced the weight of Law School Admission Test scores and undergraduate grade-point averages. U.S. News defended its rankings as vital sources of information for prospective students. The final rankings show Stanford Law School and Yale Law School tied at the No. 1 spot, with the University of Chicago School of Law holding steady at No. 3. The year’s rankings shakeup was most apparent outside the elite schools, with 62 law schools seeing their ranks increase or decrease by double digits this year compared with 27 schools last year. Duquesne University Thomas R. Kline School of Law saw the single largest increase, moving up 40 spots to No. 89, and Florida International University College of Law was next with an increase of 38 spots to land No. 60.

Revamped US News law school rankings yield major shifts | Reuters

The Biden administration's plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants aims to require the nation's coal plants and the largest gas-fired units to cut nearly all of their emissions. However, the proposed limits would apply to less than 20% of US natural gas-based power generation capacity, and utilities would have over a decade to comply with greenhouse gas caps. Some industry groups are warning the plan could force power plants to adopt costly technologies that aren't economically or technically feasible, while environmental advocates say it doesn't go far enough, and too many gas-fired plants are exempt. The EPA proposal, which aims to be finalized in 2024, would inevitably face legal and political challenges. Some Republican attorneys general who successfully battled an earlier Obama-administration plan in court are expected to mount similar challenges. The foundation of the plan is the EPA's determination that for many power plants, the "best system of emission reduction" is carbon capture technology, which is barely in commercial use at the sites today. Coal power plants could keep operating through 2040, as long as they substituted natural gas for 40% of their fuel. The EPA predicts that the industry's demand for natural gas would fall 36.8% during the same time frame. The plan would increase electricity prices by 0.24% in 2035, while unlocking up to $85 billion in climate and public health benefits through 2042. The requirements would keep as much as 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through 2042, according to the government's projections.

Biden’s Plan to Cut Climate Pollution Spares Most Gas Plants

New York Congressman George Santos will continue serving despite facing criminal fraud and money laundering charges. There is no law or rule stopping him from staying in Congress. Santos entered a plea of not guilty to all 13 counts in the indictment against him. If he is found guilty, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has indicated he would ask him to resign, but don’t count on it. Any member of the House can offer a privileged resolution to expel a colleague, but in the past, lawmakers have waited until after their accused colleagues had their day in court. Santos has introduced 11 bills and cosponsored 82. He has filed paperwork to raise money for a re-election bid, and his campaign raised just $5,333 in this year’s first quarter. If he quits, there would be a special election if there’s a vacancy before July 1, 2024, and Governor Kathy Hochul would call it. New York’s 3rd Congressional District backed President Joe Biden in the 2020 election by 8 percentage points.

George Santos Will Stay in Congress and No Rule Stops Him (2)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and teachers' unions are in a legal dispute over a new law that places certain restrictions on teachers' unions. Before the law, unions could collect dues directly from teacher paychecks, but now that is prohibited. The Florida Education Association believes the law violates their First Amendment rights, while DeSantis argues it is in the best interest of teachers. The law also requires unions to notify teachers of membership costs, prohibits unions from using government resources to deduct union dues directly from employee paychecks, and requires unions be made up of at least 60% of eligible employees who pay dues. If they can't hit the new benchmark, unions would have to be recertified as bargaining agents. The FEA says the law is unfairly applied because it exempts unions representing law enforcement, corrections officers, and firefighters – how strange. The suit names Donald Rubottom, the chair of the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, as a defendant, as well as commissioners Jeff Aaron and Michael Sasso. The lawsuit is ultimately asking the courts to keep the defendants from implementing and enforcing provisions of the law, which is SB 256.

New Florida law putting restrictions on teachers' unions leads to federal lawsuit against state officials

A US bankruptcy judge has blocked the NBA’s Phoenix Suns from proceeding with a TV and streaming rights deal with Gray Television and Kiswe, as it violated the rights of its current broadcast partner, Diamond Sports Group. The bankrupt subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group holds the contractual right to negotiate a contract extension, which the Suns’ new TV deal interfered with, according to US bankruptcy law. The Suns’ lawyers had argued that the team’s previous deal with Diamond Sports Group had expired. Phoenix Suns CEO Josh Bartelstein has said the team would work towards “a fair resolution” that benefits its fans, community, and players. The financial terms of the Phoenix Suns’ contract with Diamond Sports and Gray TV were not disclosed in bankruptcy court. Diamond broadcasts games for nearly half of all teams in the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League. Diamond filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

US bankruptcy judge blocks NBA team Phoenix Suns' new TV deal | Reuters

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at