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Recently in Legal History Category

Yesterday was Human Rights Day, and although our remembrance is a little late, it did serve as a reminder to how far human rights have come in the past 70 years, and how much of the progress has been made in the courtroom.

While the work is far from done and we still have far to go to ensure equal rights for all human beings, here are five cases decided or laws passed in recent years that advance that goal:

A couple weeks ago, Uber drivers in the United Kingdom went on strike, seeking an increase in fares, a reduction of commissions owed to the ridesharing platform, and "employment conditions that respect worker rights for drivers, including the payment of at least the minimum wage and paid holidays." It's hard to imagine their American counterparts doing the same thing, mostly because recent court decisions in the U.K. have deemed drivers employees, rather than independent contractors, as they have been legally considered in the U.S.

As it turns out, this distinction matters when it comes to workers' rights to collective action against employees.

Yes, the Constitution and Bill of Rights generally require the separation of church and state, but references to God remain -- in the Pledge of Allegiance, presidential oath of office, and, as became controversial recently, the U.S. citizenship oath.

Olga Paule Perrier-Bilbo, a French woman living in Massachusetts, recently challenged the inclusion of the phrase "so help me God" in the citizenship oath, claiming it violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First and Fifth Amendment. But a federal judge dismissed her claims, finding that the phrase did not equate to a substantial burden on her free exercise of religion.

In a bombshell op-ed published in the New York Times, an official in President Trump's administration asserted that "senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." And then admitted this:

"Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until -- one way or another -- it's over."

That reference to a rather obscure Constitutional provision sent the masses scrambling for answers -- so much so that Google searches for "25th Amendment" outpaced searches for "Kim Kardashian." But the fact is, the 25th Amendment has never been invoked against a sitting president's will, so even legal scholars are left guessing at the potential outcomes. So, here's what the 25th Amendment says, how it might be used to remove a president, and what might happen next.

Maybe you took a civics class in high school, maybe you didn't. And maybe you paid attention in that class, and maybe you stared out the window, wondering why it wasn't snowing yet and trying to will the clock to move faster with your mind. And now all of a sudden you're reading "Supreme Court Says This" and "Supreme Court Strikes Down That," and you're wondering, wait, why did they decide that, and how did that case go to the Supreme Court?

So, for those of you daydreaming during civics class and trying to calculate how many pieces of gum were stuck to the underside of your desk in the meantime, here's a quick refresher on how the Supreme Court hears cases.

With all the news about the recent Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, many people might be wondering just what kind of person he really is, particularly as he is so young at just 53 years old. 

For non-lawyers, and even lawyers, judges can often occupy an almost incomprehensible place in society. Though we've seen more and more judges fall from grace in recent years, it's important to remember that these judges, even the ones on the Supreme Court (or on their way there) are people too.

Below are five fun facts about Judge Kavanaugh in order to get a better sense of this guy that just got nominated to be a Supreme Court justice.

Perhaps it's fitting to celebrate civil disobedience the day before we celebrate our national independence. After all, a group of colonies officially declaring themselves a new nation, free of the empire that founded them, is a pretty epic act of disobedience.

So July 3rd is Disobedience Day, a day to celebrate the refusal to obey certain laws, statutes, or other commands of a government. Of course, there's a fine line between dangerous, illegal disobedience and peaceful, legal protest. Here are a few legal tips on exercising your right to disobey, hopefully without getting into too much trouble:

When a federal judge ruled that President Trump violated Twitter users' First Amendment rights by blocking them from his @realDonaldTrump account, she warned: "Because no government official is above the law ... we must assume that the President ... will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional."

From that Twitter case to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to alleged violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, the words "President Trump" and "not above the law" are often colliding in headlines recently. So what does it mean, and how accurate is it to say that a president is not above the law?

Last week, President Donald Trump outlined the full scope of his presidential power to pardon. "As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself," Trump tweeted, "but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?" Why, indeed?

It was a broad assertion of the scope of the pardoning power, leaving many to wonder if Trump was right, specifically, and what the limits of presidential pardons are, generally. So here's a roundup of some of our posts on presidential pardons, and their limits.

Back in December, the Federal Communications Commission voted to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules that prohibited internet service providers from charging internet users different prices based on the user, content, website, platform, application, or method of communication.

But yesterday the Senate pushed back, voting 52-47 to reinstate net neutrality protections. The vote may be cosmetic -- the House is unlikely to take similar action and the FCC could move ahead with its repeal anyway. So, what does this mean in the meantime?