On this day in legal history, July 28th, 1868, Secretary of State William H. Seward declared the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, granting citizenship to former slaves and protecting due process of law and equal protection of laws in the States..
The journey to the ratification of the 14th Amendment was a difficult one. Many southern states, recently defeated in the Civil War and undergoing the Reconstruction period, were initially opposed to the amendment, largely because of its implications for the rights of freed slaves.
However, the Republican-controlled Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts, which made the ratification of the 14th Amendment a prerequisite for the re-admission of the Southern states to the Union.
As the Secretary of State, Seward was responsible for officially announcing when constitutional amendments were ratified by the necessary number of states and thereby became a part of the Constitution. On July 20, 1868, Seward initially announced that the 14th Amendment had been ratified by the necessary three-fourths of the states. However, there was some controversy, as two states (Ohio and New Jersey) that had initially ratified the amendment subsequently voted to rescind their ratifications. To remove any doubt about the amendment's validity, Congress passed a resolution on July 27 declaring that three-fourths of the states had indeed ratified the amendment. The next day, on July 28, 1868, Seward issued an official proclamation confirming the ratification.
The ratification of the 14th Amendment marked a major milestone in American history, establishing equal protection under the law and due process as constitutional rights, as well as setting the stage for future advancements in civil rights. Seward's declaration on July 28, 1868, cemented this momentous change in the U.S. Constitution.
Teresa La Dart, an author who accused singer Taylor Swift and her production company of infringing on the copyright of her 2010 book "Lover", has voluntarily dropped her lawsuit. La Dart had claimed that Swift's 2019 album "Lover" and its accompanying book used its title and several creative elements from her work, leading to a suit in the US District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The lawsuit, which sought over $1 million in damages, was dropped after mediation proceedings, details of which remain undisclosed. Swift's legal team had moved to dismiss the lawsuit prior to mediation, arguing it lacked a legitimate claim. Swift has previously successfully defended herself against multiple copyright claims.
Mastercard Inc. has instructed banks and payment processors to discontinue marijuana transactions through its debit cards. The company's decision to prohibit pot purchases using PIN debit cards on its network aligns with their policies and is a consequence of the ongoing federal illegality of marijuana, despite its legalization in many U.S. states. The move presents challenges for companies facilitating PIN debit payments for cannabis and limits options for consumers. The shutdown is considered a victory for banks and credit card companies keen on maintaining strict anti-money laundering and fraud control measures. The decision follows earlier issues for digital payment solutions that cater to the cannabis industry, including difficulties with cashless ATMs. The crackdown leaves cannabis companies seeking alternatives and heightens the risks for dispensaries that may need to handle increased volumes of cash transactions.
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Kraft Heinz & Co, in which the company was accused of misleading consumers about the preparation time of its Velveeta microwavable macaroni and cheese. The plaintiff, Amanda Ramirez, argued that the company's claim that the product is "ready in 3-1/2 minutes" was deceptive as it didn't account for time to remove the lid, add water, and stir in the cheese sauce. However, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom found that Ramirez lacked standing to pursue the proposed $5 million class action lawsuit or to compel Kraft Heinz to change its packaging. Judge Bloom stated that Ramirez had not demonstrated that she couldn't eat or even attempted to prepare the product, or that it was fundamentally flawed. Furthermore, the judge dismissed the possibility of future injury, as Ramirez now understands the 3-1/2 minute claim refers solely to microwave time.
Former President Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing following the addition of new charges related to his handling of security tapes from his Mar-a-Lago resort. Prosecutors have alleged that Trump ordered resort employees to delete the security videos, a claim Trump denies. In an interview, Trump stated he wasn't obligated to hand over the tapes, but did so anyway. Additional charges were filed against a resort maintenance worker, Carlos De Oliveira, accusing him of aiding Trump in document concealment and lying to the FBI. Despite these charges, Trump, the current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, vowed to continue his campaign even if convicted and sentenced.