Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Fri 9/15 - Sinema Opposes NLRB Rule, 1/6 Cases Reach SCOTUS, Smith Rejects Trump's Judge Removal Demand, Paxton Impeachment Nears End

Fri 9/15 - Sinema Opposes NLRB Rule, 1/6 Cases Reach SCOTUS, Smith Rejects Trump's Judge Removal Demand, Paxton Impeachment Nears End

Sinema opposes joint employer rule, first 1/6 cases reach SCOTUS, Smith rejects Trumps call for Chutkan’s removal, spa will comply with NLRB, Texas’ Paxton impeachment trial nears end and UAW strikes.

On this day in legal history, September 15, 1935, the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany went into effect, reorienting German citizenship around the exclusion of Jewish residents and laying the groundwork for what was to come.  

As we’ve tried to make clear in previous “this day in legal history” segments where we’ve focused on Germany in the 1930s, the lesson to be learned from a legal perspective derives from the Third Reich’s focus on using the rule of law to give a color of civility and process to their gross violations of human rights and atrocities. As much as genocide can come in the form of a general, festooned in medals, pressing a state’s military across the countryside leaving death in its wake, the law can be coopted to make the entire affair seem civil and considered. There might be an applicable lesson to be learned and applied to the modern day here.

In the fall of 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were enacted in Germany, fundamentally altering the citizenship status of Jews and imposing strict racial classifications. These laws were first announced at a Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, comprising the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. The former stripped Jews of their German citizenship, allowing only "full" Germans to enjoy the full protection of the law, while the latter prohibited marriage or relations between Jews and non-Jewish Germans.

These regulations were visually represented through a chart that helped Germans understand the classifications, including designations for "Aryan" Germans, Jews, and individuals of mixed race. The laws had severe repercussions, as illustrated by personal narratives and vast documentation from that time. For instance, Edward Adler faced arrest and deportation for his relationship with a non-Jewish woman, and many others experienced similar fates, including forced labor, imprisonment, and eventual deportation to concentration camps. These laws marked a grim step in the Nazis' efforts to isolate and persecute the Jewish community, as well as test the waters to see how far they could take their crimes, based on their false and discriminatory racial theories.

A tell for how concerned the Nazis were with how their policies would be received was the fact that they weren’t enforced until after the 1936 Summer Olympics which were held in Berlin. Thereafter, anyone found violating the laws would be imprisoned and, following release from their completion of their sentence, re-arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Note the performative release and re-arresting, and consider their aforementioned focus on the rule of law and marshaling it for their evil ends. The initial process was about separating the Jewish community from the rest of the German citizenry under the auspices of protecting Germans and immiserating the former in ways smaller than what would eventually come to pass. 

A grim day in history, to be sure, but one we should endeavor to learn from.

The Nuremberg Race Laws | Holocaust Encyclopedia

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has expressed serious concerns about the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) impending alteration to the joint-employer standard, hinting at a potential vote to overturn it through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. The proposed rule, which is set to finalize by October 12, seeks to expand the criteria for determining joint-employer status, including considering indirect and unexercised control over another company's employees. This marks a departure from the current legal test established in 2020, which focuses on direct and immediate control.

Sinema voiced her opposition at an event organized by the International Franchise Association, a body lobbying against the NLRB's proposal. The senator indicated that the rule faces significant opposition in Congress, with concerns about its potential impact on franchises like McDonald's Corp. A bipartisan coalition, including Senators Joe Manchin, Angus King, Susan Collins, James Lankford, and Mike Braun, is already collaborating to address this issue, emphasizing the bureaucratic nature of the proposed changes.

The CRA resolution, which requires the support of 51 senators to pass, could potentially bypass Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's authority to block it. Votes from Sinema, Manchin, and King will be pivotal, especially if all Republican members in both the House and Senate choose to reject the rule. However, even if the resolution passes in Congress, President Joe Biden retains the power to veto it, as seen in a previous instance in May concerning a rule from the US Labor Department.

Sinema Pushes Back on Labor Board’s Planned Joint Employer Rule

The first cases from the January 6 Capitol riot have reached the US Supreme Court. Edward Lang and Garrett Miller, who allegedly participated in the riot, are urging the court to dismiss the obstruction charges against them. These cases are part of over 200 instances where the government is utilizing a statute from the Enron era to penalize the rioters. The central issue is the applicability of a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to the rioters who disrupted congressional activities.

Lang's attorney, Norman Pattis, emphasized the growing concern over the overcriminalization of federal law and the potential misuse of prosecutorial discretion. However, Columbia law professor Daniel Richman finds it unlikely for the Supreme Court to intervene at this stage, especially given the absence of a split among federal courts of appeal, a typical precursor to Supreme Court involvement. The law under scrutiny, which punishes obstruction of official proceedings, is being challenged for its broad interpretation by the government, a stance that has seen support from judges Florence Pan and Justin R. Walker but faced dissent from Judge Gregory Katsas. The case brings up significant issues regarding the interpretation of the law, with a deadline for the federal government's response set for October 2.

First Cases From Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Reach US Supreme Court

U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith has rejected Donald Trump's plea to recuse Judge Tanya Chutkan from a federal case that accuses the former president of attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. Trump had filed a legal motion claiming that Chutkan's previous remarks in court indicated a lack of impartiality, potentially affecting the fairness of the trial. These remarks were made during the sentencing of individuals involved in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, hinting at Trump's influence on the rioters. Despite Trump's criticisms of Chutkan on social media, Smith asserted that there was no valid reason for her recusal. The judge, appointed by former President Barack Obama, has been known for her stern stance against the Capitol attack, often imposing harsher sentences than those recommended by prosecutors. The decision on whether Chutkan will recuse herself from the case, one of four criminal cases Trump is currently facing, rests with her. Trump, who is eyeing the 2024 presidential nomination, has denied all charges and labeled the prosecution's efforts as politically motivated.

US opposes Trump request to remove judge in federal election case | Reuters

The proprietors of Haven Salon Spa in Wisconsin, Timothy and Carley Dillet, have assured a federal judge that they will adhere to a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) directive, following their arrest for non-compliance. In 2021, the NLRB mandated the Dilletts to reinstate a staff member who was wrongfully terminated for scrutinizing the firm's COVID-19 protocols, along with other reparations including back pay and expunging the dismissal from the employee's record. Despite the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirming the NLRB's decision, the Dilletts consistently resisted full compliance, accruing over $30,000 in fines and legal fees. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo warned employers of severe repercussions for flouting the law. The Dilletts and their legal representative have yet to comment on the matter.

Spa Owners Vow to Comply After Arrest for Flouting Labor Board

The impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is nearing its conclusion, with closing arguments scheduled for Friday. Paxton, a staunch conservative and ally of former President Donald Trump, faces 16 charges in the trial, including allegations of corruption and abuse of power, primarily concerning actions purportedly taken to shield a rich political donor under federal scrutiny and to conceal an extramarital affair. The trial has revealed deep divisions within the Texas Republican Party, with some members accusing Paxton of tarnishing the party and the state's reputation. The Senate, which is predominantly Republican, will decide Paxton's fate, requiring a two-thirds majority to convict him on any charge, which would result in his permanent removal from office.

Paxton, who has been temporarily relieved of his duties pending the trial outcome, has denounced the proceedings as a political witch hunt. He has faced corruption allegations since his initial election in 2014, but managed to secure re-election last November. His defense team has portrayed the accusing former aides as rebellious political moderates, while the prosecution has presented them as credible conservative witnesses who reported their concerns to the FBI in 2020. The impeachment process was initiated after Paxton sought approval for a $3.3 million settlement with ex-employees who had accused him of office abuse, a request that was not granted by state legislators.

Impeachment trial of Texas AG Paxton nears end, could see him removed | Reuters

In an unprecedented move, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has initiated strikes against the three major American automakers: General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis. This is the first time in history that the union has simultaneously targeted all three companies, with workers walking out of plants in Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio. The UAW has termed this strategy as a "Stand Up Strike", a flexible approach allowing them to escalate their efforts progressively to secure fair contracts at each automaker. Initially, less than 13,000 of the 145,000 UAW members have participated in the strike, affecting a selection of plants that would significantly impact suppliers and dealers while minimizing the number of workers on strike pay.

The strike follows the automakers' rejection of the union's demands for higher wages, enhanced benefits, and increased job protections, despite the companies enjoying record or near-record profits. The automakers had proposed substantial pay increases, but these did not meet the expectations of the union negotiators. The UAW aims to recover many benefits relinquished over a decade ago when the companies were nearing bankruptcy. The union is also advocating for the reinstatement of traditional pension plans and retiree health coverage for workers hired post-2007, and an end to forced overtime and the utilization of temporary workers. Moreover, the UAW expresses concerns over potential job losses and plant closures as the industry shifts towards electric vehicles, which require less labor for assembly compared to traditional vehicles.

UAW workers launch unprecedented strike against all Big Three automakers

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