This day in legal history, September 6, is a dark one – but one that should not be ignored just because it is difficult to talk about. On September 6, 1941, German authorities announced the adoption of a regulation requiring all Jewish people in German territories to wear the Star of David. For our purposes here on a legal news website, we’ll talk about how it highlights and exemplifies the Nazi regime’s obsession with committing their atrocities under the color of law.
From 1935, the Nazi regime utilized the law as a tool for the systemic persecution of the Jewish people, initiating this with the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws. These laws, officially signed by Hitler and other Nazi leaders, stripped German Jews of their citizenship, prohibited marriages between Jews and other Germans, and barred Jews from displaying the German flag, now represented by the swastika. This legal framework, which was further intensified in the subsequent years, facilitated the marginalization, segregation, and eventual extermination of the Jewish community in Germany.
The Nazis had begun their legal assault on the Jewish population as early as 1933, using official decrees to progressively strip Jews of various rights, including holding public office, working in certain professions, and participating in economic activities. This legal strategy was part of a broader effort to segregate Jews from the social, political, and economic life of Germany, with the ultimate aim of appeasing radical elements within the Nazi party who were clamoring for more drastic measures against the Jews.
During the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II, these laws served as critical evidence in the prosecution of prominent Nazi leaders, highlighting the extent to which the Nazi regime had manipulated the law to facilitate their campaign of persecution and genocide.
In the ongoing California ethics case, attorney John Eastman, who had previously advised that the vice president could overturn the 2020 election results, was compelled to testify, despite his efforts to invoke Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination. State Bar Court Judge Yvette D. Roland dismissed Eastman's defense that testifying would infringe on his Fifth Amendment rights, a stance she had maintained even as criminal cases were underway. Eastman, along with Donald Trump and 17 others, faces racketeering charges in Georgia, linked to attempts to declare Trump the winner of the 2020 election.
Eastman's lawyer, Randall Miller, emphasized that the demand for Eastman's testimony in the bar case, which could potentially lead to the revocation of his law license, places him in a precarious position. Miller highlighted the dilemma Eastman faces: remaining silent might undermine his defense, while full testimony could jeopardize the ongoing Georgia case. Despite these arguments, Judge Roland noted that Eastman had already waived his right to self-incrimination by testifying extensively in the case and in previous instances, including before the January 6 congressional committee and the Fulton County grand jury.
The judge underscored that Eastman was well aware of the gravity of the committee's questions, which were closely tied to the allegations presented in the disciplinary charges. Although the court allowed a brief postponement for Eastman to attend to criminal indictment procedures in Fulton County, it rejected the defense's plea to halt or postpone the case further, citing no alternative reasons were provided. Efforts by Eastman to prevent the state bar prosecutors from presenting evidence concerning his alleged involvement in devising alternative elector slates were also dismissed.
As the trial continues, with additional sessions scheduled from September 12-15, Eastman faces 11 counts of ethical and legal violations pertaining to his post-election actions, culminating in the January 6 Capitol raid. During his testimony, he began addressing questions about the memos he had dispatched to presidential advisors, discussing potential strategies to invalidate or delay the vote counting process. The trial is set to feature testimonies from several individuals, including accountant Joseph Fried, who lacks formal training in election audits but conducted a study on the 2020 election "anomalies", and former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael Gabelman. The case, represented by Miller Law Associates for Eastman and the Office of Chief Trial Counsel for the bar, continues to unfold.
Elliott Broidy, a former prominent fundraiser for ex-President Donald Trump, has issued a subpoena to the law firm Covington & Burling, seeking documents in a lawsuit where he alleges a conspiracy backed by Qatar to hack and defame him. The law firm, which represented Qatar in various US legal cases, objected to the subpoena, citing privilege and sovereign immunity. This move is seen as an assertive approach by Broidy's legal team to involve a US law firm in the case, a rare occurrence due to the attorney-client privilege that usually protects such communications.
Broidy, who resigned from his position as the deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2018 following a scandal and was later pardoned by Trump for illegal lobbying charges, initiated this lawsuit four years ago. He accused Qatar of orchestrating a campaign to tarnish his reputation, alleging that they disseminated hacked information about him to journalists. The lawsuit specifically targets consulting firm Stonington Strategies and several individuals who have worked for Qatar, although the nation itself is not officially named in the suit.
Broidy contends that both Qatar and Covington have worked to conceal evidence pertinent to the case and has requested the US District Court to mandate a forensic examination to uncover any hidden data. The defendants are expected to respond to these allegations by September 8. Covington has dismissed Broidy's accusations as baseless, emphasizing that the documents in question actually support Qatar's claims of privilege.
The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina has given preliminary approval to a revised $12.5 billion settlement between 3M and water utilities concerning the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination issue. This settlement includes a unique "Protection Against Claims-Over" provision, which prevents 3M from reclaiming settlement money from water utilities in case of future lawsuits related to drinking water harm. This change enhances the value of the settlement for the participating water systems, as it eliminates the possibility of them being held liable for damages exceeding their recovery from the settlement.
The final decision on the settlement will be made by Judge Richard Mark Gergel after a hearing scheduled for February 2, 2024, with 3M's payouts extending until 2036. Despite this, several attorneys general have criticized the settlement amount as insufficient to scover the damages caused by 3M's products to public water systems, burdening ratepayers and taxpayers. They also warned that the ongoing litigation could potentially bankrupt 3M by the end of the 12-year payout period. The settlement might pave the way for a larger agreement resembling the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco companies, although the science on the diseases resulting from PFAS exposure remains unclear.
Three high-ranking Apple executives, Eddy Cue, John Giannandrea, and Adrian Perica, have failed in their attempt to prevent the U.S. Justice Department from summoning them as witnesses in the forthcoming trial against Google, where the latter is accused of misusing its search dominance. The executives had contended that being called to testify would be "duplicative" and "unduly burdensome," given their participation in earlier stages of the case. Despite not being a defendant, Apple claims to have been subjected to "overbroad" demands, having already shared over 125,000 documents from its senior executives.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta rejected Apple's plea to nullify the subpoenas on Monday. The Justice Department's case is focused on Google's practice of sharing substantial annual advertising revenues with business allies like Apple, to ensure Google's search engine is the default on their devices. The trial, which is expected to scrutinize Google's information-services agreement with Apple closely, is scheduled to commence on September 12 in Judge Mehta's court. Apple has expressed concerns that the trial could inadvertently reveal its highly sensitive competitive information.
The Oregon Supreme Court is set to vote on a groundbreaking alternative to the bar exam for licensing attorneys in the state. This initiative, which has been in development since 2020 by the Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners, proposes that law school graduates can become licensed after completing 675 hours of supervised legal work, equivalent to the typical study time for the bar exam. The program, named the Supervised Practice Portfolio Examination, also requires candidates to submit eight pieces of legal writing, lead two client interviews or counseling sessions, and spearhead two negotiations, among other prerequisites.
Participants' portfolios will be assessed by Oregon bar examiners, and those achieving the necessary scores will be inducted into the state bar, with compensation provided for their efforts. The proposal, which aims to be a model for other states considering similar pathways, would significantly expand the scale of bar exam alternatives, accommodating law students both within and outside Oregon. A second pathway, focusing on practice-based coursework during the last two years of law school, is also under development. Currently, only Wisconsin and New Hampshire offer limited alternatives to the bar exam.
Google has tentatively settled a class-action lawsuit in the U.S., where it was accused of violating federal antitrust laws through its Play Store by allegedly overcharging customers, as per a recent court document. The lawsuit, initiated by over 30 U.S. states representing 21 million consumers, argued that Google's supposed monopoly might have led to increased app prices and limited options for consumers. The specific terms of the settlement remain undisclosed.
The parties involved in the settlement have requested the cancellation of the trial that was slated for November 6. While Google has not admitted to any wrongdoing and declined to comment on the settlement, the court's approval is pending. This case is one among several where Google is accused of maintaining monopolies in the Android app and in-app goods markets, often requiring apps to use Google's payment tools and surrender up to 30% of digital goods sales. Notably, Epic Games and Match Group, who have raised similar claims against Google, are not part of this proposed settlement.