Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Tues 11/7 - Trump Fraud Trial Nonsense, Google v. Epic Games, Ozempic Lawsuit, U of C Tests Waters with Undocumented Student Hiring

Tues 11/7 - Trump Fraud Trial Nonsense, Google v. Epic Games, Ozempic Lawsuit, U of C Tests Waters with Undocumented Student Hiring

Trump’s fraud trial going trumpish, Google v. Epic Games, NovoNordisk says Ozempic side effects are well-known, and U of California seeks to test the waters of an undocumented student hiring policy.

A pencil sketch of a baby turkey pointing to a calendar.

On this day in legal history, November 7, 2000, the U.S. presidential election resulted in a statistical tie between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, leading to a bitter legal dispute that was eventually settled by the U.S. Supreme Court on December 12​.

On this day in the year 2000, the fabric of American democracy was stretched in a test of its resilience as the U.S. presidential election concluded in a remarkable dead heat. Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush found themselves embroiled in a contentious battle for the White House, with the outcome hinging on the results in Florida. The controversy centered on a razor-thin margin and irregularities in ballot design, leading to widespread confusion and a recount in Florida. The ensuing legal battle escalated quickly, with both camps deploying legal teams to argue their cases.

The matter ascended to the highest court in the land, drawing the Supreme Court into a political fray that was both unprecedented and contentious. In a decision that still sparks debate, the Court ruled in Bush v. Gore to halt the Florida recount, effectively awarding the presidency to Bush. The Court held that the Florida Supreme Court's scheme for recounting ballots was unconstitutional. The majority found two main issues: first, the varying standards for evaluating ballots in different counties violated the Equal Protection Clause; second, the method for recounting ballots was not consistent with the state's commitment to the rule of law, as it lacked uniform guidelines. Thus, the Court effectively halted the recount, which meant that Florida's electoral votes were awarded to George W. Bush, securing his election to the presidency. The decision was controversial and remains a pivotal moment in American election law.

In the immediate wake of the decision, the ruling was met with polarized reactions, underscoring the partisan divide and raising questions about electoral processes and judicial intervention. The ramifications of this legal dispute reverberated beyond the courtroom, prompting changes in voting technology and procedures, and leaving an indelible mark on the psyche of the American electorate. This case remains a touchstone in legal and political studies, a stark reminder of the delicate balance between law and democracy.

In a courtroom setting that often mirrored the intensity of a political rally, Donald Trump's testimony in his New York civil fraud trial transformed the legal proceedings into a de facto public spectacle. Judge Arthur Engoron, steering the proceedings, was compelled to remind Trump's counsel that the courtroom was not the place for political oration. Engoron's patience had been previously tested, leading to fines against Trump for contemptuous behavior. The trial is centered on allegations by New York Attorney General Letitia James that Trump inflated his net worth for financial gain.

Trump's responses on the stand were circuitous and politically charged, eliciting Engoron's stern attempts to elicit succinct answers. This legal confrontation is a significant deviation from Engoron's quieter legal career, marked by his straightforward rulings against oversized developments in Manhattan, even if later overturned on appeal. Engoron's ruling in September, bluntly stating the presence of fraud in Trump's financial statements, sets a grave tone for the trial's continuation.

The consequences of this trial are profound, potentially imposing a $250 million penalty on Trump and restricting his New York real estate dealings. Trump's defiance, juxtaposed with Engoron's legal rigor, encapsulates a critical juncture where law and politics intersect, with national attention fixated on the outcome. This trial, a mix of legal scrutiny and political theater, reflects the contentious nature of Trump's ongoing public life, both in business and politics.

At Trump's New York fraud trial, judge makes clear who's in charge | Reuters

Trump tangles with judge, complains of treatment at NY fraud trial | Reuters

A pivotal jury trial began between Epic Games and Google, questioning the Play Store's practices, with Epic alleging Google's policies stifle innovation and inflate prices. Epic, having faced a setback in a similar case against Apple, is now seeking an injunction against Google's app distribution monopoly. Google counters by accusing Epic of contractual breaches and exploiting Google's platform without due compensation. The trial unfolds amid Google's separate antitrust battles over its search and digital ads dominance. As the legal saga continues, previous settlements with other companies loom in the background, reflecting a broader scrutiny of Google's market influence.

Google and Epic Games face off at trial over Play Store rules | Reuters

Novo Nordisk is contesting a lawsuit by a Louisiana woman who claims she wasn't warned about the side effects of Ozempic, a diabetes drug. The company asserts that the side effects, including vomiting and pain due to gastroparesis, are well-documented and recognized on the drug's label. The lawsuit reflects growing legal scrutiny over diabetes medications, which have gained popularity for their weight loss benefits. Both Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, facing similar lawsuits, maintain that the alleged side effects are known and disclosed, challenging the claims made in court. The outcome of these cases could influence pharmaceutical labeling and consumer rights.

Ozempic side effects 'well-known,' Novo Nordisk argues | Reuters

California is venturing into new legal territory with its initiative to hire undocumented students within its higher education system, specifically the University of California (UC) campuses. This bold move is a direct response to a campaign by student activists, who argue that the 1986 federal law prohibiting the employment of undocumented individuals does not apply to state agencies. The UC regents have set themselves a deadline of November 30 to finalize their hiring policy, which could potentially serve as a model for other states.

This initiative is not without potential legal hurdles, as it relies on a novel interpretation of the law that has not been judicially tested. Legal experts supporting the initiative contend that the federal law's hiring restrictions must explicitly mention state entities to be applicable to them, and since they do not, states like California could proceed with their plans. If successful, the University of California could become the first public institution to openly hire undocumented students and staff, potentially influencing immigration and employment policies nationwide.

First-in-US Push to Hire Undocumented Students Tests Law’s Limit

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