We have a this day in history from north of our border here in the United States. On this day, July 7th, in legal history, Canada enacted the Official Languages Act which made French equal to English as an official language of the state.
The Official Languages Act of 1969 was a significant piece of legislation in Canada. It declared English and French as the official languages of Canada for all purposes of the Parliament and Government. The Act mandated that all rules, regulations, and proclamations of the Parliament of Canada be published in both official languages. It also established the position of the Commissioner of Official Languages, who was responsible for overseeing the application of the Act and investigating complaints.
The Act outlined the duties of government departments and authorities in relation to official languages and provided a framework for the creation of federal bilingual districts. It defined the role, powers, and status of the Commissioner of Official Languages, including the procedure for citizens to make complaints and the Commissioner's authority to make recommendations. The Act also included provisions for the orderly adaptation to its requirements and the gradual alignment of personnel appointments and advancement with the Act.
Although the federal political parties supported the Act, the response from the provinces varied. New Brunswick passed its own Official Languages Act in 1969, embracing bilingualism, while Ontario provided French-language services in limited areas. In 1979, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Manitoba, which had been primarily English-speaking, had to comply with the Act. In 1988, the Official Languages Act of 1969 was replaced with a new Act that focused on promoting the rights of linguistic minorities in line with evolving language policies in Canada.
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, a US law firm with approximately 1,600 attorneys, has experienced a wave of departures in 2023. The recent exodus includes three senior lawyers: Chris White, former managing partner of the Dallas office; Eric Neiman, former managing partner of the Portland office; and Walter "Pete" Swayze, co-chair of the firm's life sciences practice. White and three other attorneys joined Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, while Neiman and two others joined Epstein Becker & Green. The firm had previously witnessed over 100 lawyers leaving in May, including practice leaders John Barber and Jeff Ranen, who launched their own firm but later resigned after Lewis Brisbois exposed emails revealing their exchange of racist, sexist, and antisemitic messages. Nichol Bunn and George Pitcher have assumed the roles of managing partners for the Dallas and Portland offices, respectively. Lewis Brisbois expressed excitement about new additions to its leadership team and the prospect of hiring top-tier lawyers in the future.
Still lamenting the ground lost for justice by the Supreme Court this term? Buck up, for it is already time to begin worrying about next term!
The U.S. Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, is set to hear a major gun control case in its next term. The case involves Zackey Rahimi, a Texas man convicted under a federal law that bars individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. Rahimi challenged the law, arguing that it violated the Second Amendment's "right to keep and bear arms," and he won. The Biden administration has appealed the decision. The court's ruling, expected by June 2024, will have significant implications for gun control measures in the country. Gun violence prevention groups and supporters of the law argue that domestic abusers should not have the constitutional right to possess firearms. On the other hand, the court's conservative majority has taken a broad interpretation of Second Amendment rights in previous rulings.
Walt Nauta, an aide to former U.S. President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty to charges of helping Trump hide top-secret documents that he took when leaving the White House in 2021. Nauta faces six counts related to conspiracy to obstruct justice, false statements, and withholding and concealing documents. Prosecutors allege that Nauta hid boxes of documents from Trump's lawyers who were searching Mar-a-Lago, Trump's Florida resort, for classified material. He is also accused of lying to investigators during an interview. Nauta's arraignment had been postponed twice due to the lack of a lawyer licensed to practice in Florida. Trump, who is facing criminal charges in federal and state courts, has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing. The trial for both Trump and Nauta has been delayed, with prosecutors requesting a trial date in December 2023.
The State Bar of California has proposed fee increases for law graduates and attorneys seeking licensure in an effort to address a budget shortfall. The proposal includes a 26% increase in the cost of registering for and taking the California bar exam, raising it from $796 to $1,000 for law students. Attorneys licensed in another jurisdiction would see a 50% increase, from $1,197 to $1,800. The moral character determination fee, which covers the review of applicants' past conduct, would also increase by 32% for law students and 54% for attorneys seeking licensure in the state. The State Bar cites increased costs of administering the exam, including venue rentals, staff salaries, and inflation, as reasons for the fee hikes. The State Bar's admissions functions are projected to operate at a $7 million deficit this year, with a reserve of $4 million. To cut costs, the State Bar also plans to reduce the number of bar exam sites from 14-16 to six, with three "very large" test sites in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Ontario. The proposed fee increases and cost reductions require approval from state lawmakers.
Elon Musk's lawyer has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Meta, accusing the company of hiring former Twitter employees to create a rival social media app called Threads. The letter alleges that Meta hired dozens of ex-Twitter employees who may have access to Twitter's trade secrets and confidential information. It claims that Meta engaged in the unlawful misappropriation of Twitter's intellectual property. However, Meta's communications director has stated that none of the employees working on Threads are former Twitter employees. Musk had previously fired a significant portion of Twitter's staff, laying off almost half of the company's employees, which led to criticism. Meta launched Threads, a text-based app that quickly gained 30 million sign-ups.
Elon Musk fired most of Twitter's staff and said their talents will be of 'great use elsewhere.' Twitter's now threatening to sue Meta, accusing the company of hiring former employees to create a 'copycat' app.