Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Legal News for Tues 3/19 - Judiciary Trip Disclosure Rules, Texas Deportation Law Pause, DraftKings vs. Fanatics, DOJ AI Fraud Focus and Revamped Bar Exam Spreads

Legal News for Tues 3/19 - Judiciary Trip Disclosure Rules, Texas Deportation Law Pause, DraftKings vs. Fanatics, DOJ AI Fraud Focus and Revamped Bar Exam Spreads

We have judiciary disclosure rules, the Texas deportation law pause, DraftKings' legal battle, DOJ's AI fraud crackdown, and the revamped bar exam.
Clarence Thomas on an airplane with money flying out, pencil sketch

This Day in Legal History: Earl Warren is Born

This day in legal history, March 19, 1891, Earl Warren was born in Los Angeles, California. Warren would go on to become one of the most influential Chief Justices in the history of the United States Supreme Court. He was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and served as Chief Justice until 1969.

As a jurist, Warren is best known for the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which unanimously ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. His opinion in that case helped spark the civil rights movement and began the process of ending legalized racial discrimination in America.

Under his leadership, the Warren Court also issued key rulings expanding civil liberties, criminal procedure rights, and the separation of church and state. Other famous cases included Gideon v. Wainwright, requiring legal representation for criminal defendants, and Miranda v. Arizona, mandating procedural safeguards for suspects interrogated while in police custody.

As the head of the Warren Commission, Earl Warren played a pivotal role in investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred on November 22, 1963. Under Warren's leadership, the commission conducted thorough inquiries and interviews, culminating in the 1964 Warren Report, which concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating the president. Warren's stewardship of the commission solidified his legacy in American history.

Earl Warren's tenure coincided with turbulent social changes and he steered the Court in a liberal, egalitarian direction through a series of historic rulings protecting individual freedoms and equal rights. Warren passed away on July 9, 1974, but his impact on American law and society endures.

The federal judiciary has introduced updated financial disclosure rules mandating justices and judges to report the value of free trips, a response partly spurred by public scrutiny over Justice Clarence Thomas' travels funded by a billionaire benefactor. This move, aimed at enhancing transparency, now classifies these travel-related gifts with their respective values, moving away from the previous categorization under "reimbursements." This change comes amid calls for ethics reform within the U.S. Supreme Court, highlighted by reports of Thomas' extravagant trips provided by real estate developer Harlan Crow. The revisions include specific guidance on reporting "transportation that substitutes for commercial transportation," which now cannot be exempted as "personal hospitality." Under the new rule, Thomas' previously listed travels as "reimbursements" will now need to be disclosed as gifts, reflecting an effort to align more closely with statutory requirements and ensuring comprehensive reporting.

It is worth noting that rules such as any Supreme Court ethics guidelines, lacking enforcement mechanisms or clear consequences for violations, warrant significant skepticism. In the absence of accountability measures, the efficacy of these rules is undermined, leaving room for potential misconduct without repercussions. With impeachment as the sole remedy for addressing the actions of a rogue justice, the practicality of achieving such a recourse is exceedingly challenging. This deficiency in accountability and enforceability highlights the need for robust mechanisms to ensure judicial integrity and uphold public trust in the judiciary.

Judiciary Adopts New Financial Disclosure Rules for Free Trips

The US Supreme Court has extended the temporary hold on a Texas law designed to allow the state to arrest and deport individuals entering the country illegally, without setting a definitive end date for the pause. This action underscores the ongoing legal battle between the Biden administration, which argues that the law encroaches on federal authority over immigration policy, and Texas, which claims it has the right to defend itself against illegal immigration under the Constitution.

Supreme Court Extends Pause on Texas Migrant Deportation Law

DraftKings Inc. has escalated its legal battle against a former executive, Michael Hermalyn, who is accused of stealing company secrets to benefit his new employer, Fanatics Inc. The allegations include the unauthorized downloading of client files and confidential marketing strategies, as well as attempts to recruit DraftKings employees, some of which reportedly occurred while Hermalyn was staying at the home of Fanatics’ CEO. Despite a temporary restraining order, DraftKings is seeking a preliminary injunction to enforce Hermalyn's non-compete agreement for a full year, preventing him from working at Fanatics. The court has so far denied Hermalyn's request to loosen the restraining order, allowing him to work for Fanatics only if he refrains from using DraftKings' confidential information. DraftKings claims to have uncovered extensive evidence of Hermalyn's misconduct, including a "deletion spree" of documents and misleading statements during his deposition. Meanwhile, Hermalyn has countered with a lawsuit in California seeking to nullify his non-compete agreement, arguing that the matter should be settled there rather than in Massachusetts, where DraftKings is headquartered. The case, which has sparked significant legal and competitive controversy, is set for a hearing on April 2.

DraftKings Alleges Ex-VP Stole Secrets While Houseguest of Rival

The U.S. Department of Justice, under the leadership of Ismail Ramsey, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, is intensifying its efforts to combat fraud among artificial intelligence (AI) and tech start-ups, particularly those that deceive investors in the lead-up to their initial public offerings (IPOs). Situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, Ramsey's office is taking a stance against the "fake it til you make it" mentality that has marred the tech industry, evidenced by notorious cases like Theranos and uBiome Inc., which misled investors about their technological capabilities and business prospects. Ramsey highlighted the challenges in policing private companies, which face less scrutiny compared to public entities and require investors to be more vigilant in their due diligence. With the burgeoning investor interest in AI technologies, Ramsey emphasizes that this sector is especially prone to fraudulent claims, setting the stage for a targeted crackdown. The appointment of Jina Choi, with her extensive background in corporate crime at the SEC and a law firm, to lead a team focusing on such frauds, underscores the seriousness of the Justice Department's initiative. Additionally, Ramsey has established a dedicated unit for cybersecurity and intellectual property theft, demonstrating a broadened approach to safeguarding the integrity of the U.S. financial and technological landscape.

US DOJ to target pre-IPO artificial intelligence frauds, top attorney says | Reuters

Washington, Colorado, and Minnesota are the latest states to announce their adoption of the Next Gen bar exam, with scheduled transitions in July 2026, July 2027, and July 2028, respectively. This move aligns them with 14 other jurisdictions preparing for a significant shift in the way future lawyers are assessed. The Next Gen bar exam represents the first substantial revision of the bar exam in a quarter-century, initiated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) in 2021, with a goal to more accurately measure candidates' practical legal skills rather than their rote memorization capacity. Unlike the traditional bar exam, which is segmented into multiple-choice questions, essay exams, and performance tests, the Next Gen exam consolidates these elements into a unified, computer-based test, shortening the duration from 12 to nine hours. This overhaul aims to reflect a more realistic and applicable approach to evaluating readiness for legal practice. However, several key states, including California, New York, Florida, and Texas, have not yet disclosed when they will transition to this new format. The change indicates a significant shift in legal education and licensure, highlighting a move towards prioritizing functional legal knowledge and skills.

Revamped bar exam gains traction as three more states sign on | 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