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Legal News for Tues 6/11 - UAW President Investigation, Alito's Secret Recording re "Godliness," 5th Circuit Scraps AI rule and an Awful AZ Unhoused Individuals Bill.

Legal News for Tues 6/11 - UAW President Investigation, Alito's Secret Recording re "Godliness," 5th Circuit Scraps AI rule and an Awful AZ Unhoused Individuals Bill.

UAW President's investigation for alleged retaliation, Justice Alito's secret recording on returning the US to "godliness," the 5th Circuit scrapping an AI rule and an atrocious AZ homelessness bill.
A clown judge, pencil sketch

This Day in Legal History: University of Alabama Desegregated

On June 11, 1963, a pivotal moment in the American Civil Rights Movement unfolded at the University of Alabama. Governor George Wallace famously stood in the doorway of Foster Auditorium to block the enrollment of two African-American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, symbolizing his commitment to segregation. This act of defiance came to an end when President John F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard, compelling Wallace to step aside under military pressure. The successful enrollment of Malone and Hood marked a significant step towards educational desegregation in the South. 

On the same day, President Kennedy delivered a landmark Civil Rights speech, addressing the nation and emphasizing the moral and legal necessity of ending racial discrimination. Kennedy's speech highlighted the importance of civil rights as a fundamental issue of morality, equality, and justice, urging Congress to pass comprehensive civil rights legislation. This address and the events at the University of Alabama signaled a turning point, showcasing the federal government's commitment to enforcing desegregation and protecting civil rights. The confrontation in Tuscaloosa and Kennedy’s impassioned plea laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which aimed to eradicate racial discrimination across various facets of American life.

United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain is currently under investigation by the union's federal corruption monitor, Neil Barofsky, for allegations of retaliating against another union officer. This investigation poses a significant threat to Fain, who has built a reputation as a reformist leader closely allied with the Biden administration. The court-appointed monitor’s 36-page report details claims of increased resistance from the union, including delays in providing documents mandated by a consent decree established in 2020 to avoid a federal takeover.

Fain, who narrowly won the presidency last year by pledging transparency and reform, now faces accusations that challenge his public image. The same day the report was filed, the UAW achieved a landmark contract with Ultium Cells LLC, which significantly raised wages for workers. This victory followed Fain's success in unionizing a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, though efforts to unionize a Mercedes plant in Alabama failed.

The monitor's report highlights at least two officials who allege retaliation for refusing to approve certain expenditures. One incident involves Fain reassigning duties from Vice President Rich Boyer, purportedly for “dereliction of duty,” though Boyer claims it was due to his refusal to engage in financial misconduct.

Fain has denied these allegations, attributing them to his disruptive efforts to reform the union. He maintains that the UAW leadership is committed to democratic principles and serving its members, and welcomes the investigation to clear any doubts. The report also suggests that the UAW’s cooperation with investigations has declined since February, complicating the monitor's efforts to address corruption.

This investigation into Fain is connected to another probe involving Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock, who alleges that her power was curtailed in retaliation for not approving expenditures beneficial to Fain’s office. The U.S. Department of Justice supports the monitor’s claims, noting that the union’s actions are impeding efforts to eliminate corruption within the UAW.

UAW President Under Investigation by Federal Court Monitor (2)

A secret recording of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, made public by liberal activist Lauren Windsor, reveals him supporting the idea of returning the country "to a place of godliness." The authenticity of the recording, shared on social media and with Rolling Stone, has not been independently verified by Reuters. Alito is heard agreeing with Windsor's statement about the necessity for believers in God to fight for the country’s return to godliness.

When questioned about political polarization, the voice identified as Alito’s suggests that deep ideological differences make compromise difficult and predicts that one side will ultimately prevail. Windsor argues this reveals a bias, undermining judicial impartiality. James Duff, executive director of the Supreme Court Historical Society, condemned the secret recording as inconsistent with the event's spirit.

Alito is also under scrutiny for flags linked to former President Trump’s election fraud claims flying outside his homes. Despite Democratic calls for his recusal from related cases, Alito denied familiarity with the flags’ symbolism and stated that his wife was responsible for the flag-flying.

Supreme Court's Alito appears to back US return to 'godliness' in secret recording | Reuters

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has decided against adopting a pioneering rule that would regulate the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) by lawyers in its proceedings. Initially proposed in November, the rule would have required lawyers to verify the accuracy of citations and legal analysis generated by AI tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT. Misrepresentation could have led to sanctions or filings being dismissed.

The court's decision was influenced by public comments from the legal community, which largely opposed the rule, arguing that existing regulations already ensure the accuracy of court filings. Some other federal appeals courts have also considered similar regulations due to incidents where AI-generated briefs included fictitious citations. 

Despite scrapping the proposed rule, the 5th Circuit emphasized that parties and counsel are still responsible for ensuring their filings are truthful and accurate. The court made it clear that using AI will not excuse any violations of existing rules.

5th Circuit scraps plans to adopt AI rule after lawyers object | Reuters

In November, Arizona voters will decide on a proposal that would grant homeowners greater property tax refunds. This proposal allows taxpayers to seek refunds for expenses incurred due to the state’s inability to mitigate what is deemed a "public nuisance" caused by unhoused populations. I argue that a more compassionate approach would incentivize contributions to initiatives that assist the unhoused rather than compensating homeowners for their presence.

This proposal risks fostering negative perceptions of unhoused individuals by framing homelessness as a detriment to homeowners. Traditionally, property taxes have funded public services that benefit communities, including support for vulnerable populations. State governments often use tax revenues to combat housing shortages and provide relief to economically disadvantaged groups. The proposed policy in Arizona, however, shifts this focus, potentially causing long-term harm by categorizing homelessness as a homeowner inconvenience.

Arizona faces an affordable housing crisis, with a statewide shortage of 270,000 homes and a 72% rise in homelessness in Phoenix over the past six years. The proposal could drain state resources and set a precedent for taxpayers to claim refunds whenever state policies are perceived to cost them money. This shift undermines broader efforts to fund social services and could lead to selective taxpayer funding of services.

A humane alternative would involve increasing property taxes in areas with high unhoused populations to fund comprehensive social services. This could include affordable housing, shelters, mental health services, and job training programs. Taxpayers could receive incentives for donations to approved nonprofits assisting the unhoused, creating a virtuous cycle where increased funding reduces homelessness and, consequently, lowers property tax bills.

As Arizona voters consider this proposal, they will influence how the state addresses homelessness and the role of property taxes in supporting community welfare. They can proceed forward with either compassionate approaches that can mitigate homelessness or reinforce social divisions by using tax policy to marginalize the unhoused.

Arizona Property Tax Bill Would Harm Unhoused to Help Homeowners

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