Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Legal News for Fri 5/24 - RoboBiden Charges Filed, SCOTUS Ruling Impacting Redistricting, Ongoing BK Judge Roman Scandal and DOJ's Lawsuit Against Live Nation

Legal News for Fri 5/24 - RoboBiden Charges Filed, SCOTUS Ruling Impacting Redistricting, Ongoing BK Judge Roman Scandal and DOJ's Lawsuit Against Live Nation

Charges for AI-generated campaign robocalls, the SCOTUS ruling impacting minority voters, a judge's alleged misconduct in a romance scandal, and the DOJ's lawsuit against Live Nation.
“Hello? Hey, Jack! It’s Joe. Regular Joe, not Robot Joe. Listen, don’t vote, you hear? Stay home.”

This Day in Legal History: Act of Toleration Enacted

On May 24, 1689, the Parliament of England enacted the Act of Toleration, a pivotal law that granted religious freedom to English Protestants. This legislation marked a significant shift in England's religious landscape, as it allowed non-Anglican Protestants, such as Baptists and Congregationalists, to practice their faith without fear of persecution. However, this tolerance came with limitations: it excluded Roman Catholics and non-Trinitarian Protestants, leaving them outside the protection of the Act.

The Act of Toleration emerged in the context of the Glorious Revolution, which saw William of Orange and his wife Mary ascend to the English throne. Their reign, beginning in 1688, was characterized by a move towards greater religious and political stability. The Act was a response to the religious strife that had plagued England for decades, providing a framework for more inclusive, albeit limited, religious coexistence.

Despite its exclusions, the Act of Toleration laid the groundwork for future expansions of religious freedom. It required dissenting Protestants to pledge allegiance to the Crown and reject the authority of the Pope, thus maintaining a degree of control over the newly tolerated groups. This compromise allowed for religious diversity while ensuring loyalty to the monarchy.

The Act's passage was a milestone in the evolution of religious liberty in England, reflecting the changing attitudes towards religious pluralism. While it did not end all religious discrimination, it represented a step towards a more tolerant society. Over time, the principles enshrined in the Act influenced broader movements for religious freedom and civil rights, both in England and beyond.

The significance of the Act of Toleration lies not only in its immediate effects but also in its lasting impact on the development of religious tolerance as a fundamental value in democratic societies.

A Democratic operative, Steve Kramer, faces state criminal charges and a federal fine for using AI to fake President Joe Biden’s voice in robocalls aimed at discouraging Democratic voters in the New Hampshire primary. Kramer, working for Biden's primary challenger Dean Phillips, was charged with 13 felony counts of voter suppression and 13 misdemeanors for impersonating a candidate. The FCC proposed a $6 million fine for the robocalls, which spoofed a local political consultant's number.

New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella emphasized that these actions aim to deter election interference using AI. The incident has heightened concerns about AI's potential misuse in elections. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed a rule requiring political advertisers to disclose AI use in ads, while the FCC also proposed a $2 million fine against Lingo Telecom for transmitting the calls.

The AI-generated robocall, circulated just before the primary, used Biden’s catchphrase and urged voters to stay home. Despite this, Democratic leaders encouraged a write-in campaign for Biden, leading to high voter turnout in his favor.

Faked Biden Robocall Results in Charges for Democratic Operative

The US Supreme Court has made it more challenging for Black and minority voters to contest the use of race in legislative redistricting, according to civil rights advocates. In a 6-3 ruling, the conservative majority determined that South Carolina voters failed to prove that race, rather than partisanship, influenced Republican legislators when drawing district lines. This decision raises the bar for proving racial gerrymandering and could impact redistricting cases nationwide, not just in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

Leah Aden of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund expressed concern that it is becoming increasingly difficult for plaintiffs to demonstrate racial discrimination. The ruling, which precedes the upcoming November election, could affect similar challenges in states like North Carolina and Tennessee.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, emphasized a presumption that legislatures act in good faith, making it harder to prove racial intent without blatant evidence. Critics argue this standard allows legislators to use partisan motives as a defense against claims of racial gerrymandering.

The decision follows the Supreme Court’s 2019 ruling that federal courts cannot oversee partisan gerrymandering claims, further complicating challenges to discriminatory redistricting. Justice Elena Kagan, in her dissent, criticized the majority for favoring state arguments and making it tougher for challengers to succeed. This case underscores the evolving legal landscape surrounding voting rights and redistricting in the US.

Supreme Court Conservatives Add New Minority Voter Roadblocks

A Jackson Walker partner alleged that former Texas bankruptcy judge David R. Jones requested the firm to file a potentially false disclosure about his relationship with attorney Elizabeth Freeman. This disclosure came amidst ongoing litigation involving Jones, Freeman, and Jackson Walker, who are accused of concealing their relationship. The scandal follows Jones' resignation after admitting to the romance.

In late 2022, Jones wanted the relationship kept secret as Jackson Walker negotiated with Freeman regarding its disclosure. Despite Freeman's earlier claims that the relationship had ended, the firm discovered in February 2022 that it was ongoing. After confronting Freeman, she admitted the relationship had been rekindled.

Jackson Walker's recent filings argue they shouldn't be held liable for Jones' misconduct and urge rejection of the US Trustee’s efforts to reclaim $13 million in fees. Jones allegedly provided a misleading proposed disclosure that omitted the romantic aspect of his relationship with Freeman and insisted the firm use it in future cases. Jackson Walker refused and proceeded to separate from Freeman.

The firm claims it acted reasonably and didn’t breach any ethical rules, pointing out that the US Trustee hasn't penalized Jones or Freeman. The Justice Department’s bankruptcy monitor seeks to recover fees from cases where Jackson Walker failed to disclose the relationship. The case highlights the complex ethical and legal issues surrounding judicial conduct and professional responsibilities.

Jackson Walker Says Judge Tried to Mislead Court on Romance (2)

The U.S. Justice Department, along with 30 states, has filed a lawsuit against Live Nation and its Ticketmaster unit, accusing them of monopolizing concert tickets and promotions. The case, filed in Manhattan federal court, aims to break up Live Nation. Leading the legal team is Jonathan Kanter, head of the DOJ's antitrust division, with Bonny Sweeney as the lead attorney. Sweeney, a veteran antitrust litigator, previously co-headed the antitrust group at Hausfeld and has extensive experience in high-profile cases against companies like Google, Apple, and major credit card firms.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster are defended by teams from Latham & Watkins and Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which have deep experience in antitrust defense. The companies deny the allegations and plan to fight the lawsuit. Latham & Watkins, which has long defended Live Nation in private consumer lawsuits and was involved in the 2010 merger approval, has Daniel Wall, a seasoned antitrust defender, as their executive vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs. Cravath’s team, led by Christine Varney, former head of the DOJ’s antitrust division, also represents major clients like Epic Games in similar high-stakes litigation.

US legal team in Live Nation lawsuit includes veteran plaintiffs' attorney | Reuters

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, pencil sketch

This week’s closing theme is by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. 

This week’s closing theme takes us back to the 18th century, honoring a pivotal figure in the transition from the Baroque to the Classical era: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Born in 1714, C.P.E. Bach was the second surviving son of prolific composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Despite his illustrious lineage, C.P.E. Bach carved out his own distinct legacy, becoming one of the most influential composers of his time in his own right.

Today, we commemorate his contributions to classical music as we mark the anniversary of his death on May 24, 1788. Known for his expressive and innovative style, C.P.E. Bach's music bridges the complexity of Baroque counterpoint with the emerging Classical clarity and form. His works had a profound impact on later composers, including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

One of his most celebrated pieces is the "Solfeggietto in C minor," H. 220, Wq. 117/2. This energetic and technically demanding keyboard composition remains a favorite among pianists and continues to captivate audiences with its vibrant character and virtuosic passages. The "Solfeggietto" exemplifies C.P.E. Bach's mastery of the empfindsamer Stil, or 'sensitive style,' characterized by its emotional expressiveness and dynamic contrasts.

As we listen to the "Solfeggietto," let us reflect on the enduring legacy of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose music continues to inspire and delight over two centuries after his passing. Join us in celebrating his remarkable contributions as we close this week with the lively and spirited sounds of his timeless composition.

Without further ado, “Solfeggietto in C minor” by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, enjoy. 

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