Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Recently in Legal History Category

Donald Trump campaigned on border security. One of his first executive orders as president directed "the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border." And he allowed the federal government to shut down for three weeks to secure funding for wall construction. Now, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump plans to declare a state of emergency at the southern border to finally get what he wants.

But does the president actually have the authority to force funding of the border wall?

February is Black History Month, and we thought it was the perfect time to reflect on the impact that African American lawyers have had on the nation's legal landscape. It is a history that predates the Civil War and extends to one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation today.

There is no way to encompass all the myriad contributions black lawyers have made to our legal history in the past 175 years, but here are seven African American lawyers who have had an especially pronounced impact.

What Is Subornation of Perjury?

Subornation of perjury is a fancy legal name for inducing someone else to lie under oath, and then that person, when called as a witness, goes through with the lie. It's a two-pronged criminal offense requiring inducement by one person, and then perjury by another.

The necessary level of involvement in inducing the witness to lie can vary, depending on the status of the inducer. Sometimes it's as simple as trying to persuade the witness to tell the lie. Sometimes, such as in the case of a lawyer, it can be even simpler; just knowing the witness is going to lie will satisfy the inducement prong. The level of inducement need not be some overt threat. It can be gentle or even implied persuasion.

There are some defenses to the charge, but if it sticks, federal subornation of perjury is punishable by fines up to $2,000 as well as up to five years in prison; state charges generally carry a year or less in prison. Things can get dicey if the subornation of perjury happens during a criminal trial. As you can imagine, that person becomes an accessory to the crime after the fact, which is an entirely different charge onto itself with potentially major punishments.

3 Popular Side Hustles That Are (Still) Illegal

These days, everyone's talking about a side hustle, either doing one, fixin' to do one, or just daydreaming about the possibilities. Side hustles take up a lot of spare time, but can make you a lot of spare money too! If you're thinking about joining the gig economy, but aren't sure it's for you, keep in mind these three trending side hustles that are still illegal, despite their popularity.

Copyright protection is great, but it's not forever. The length of any copyright will depend on the type of work, authorship, and renewals, but every copyright will expire completely at some point. And for works created in 1923, that point is now.

2019 begins the expiration of copyright protection for a multitude of works created 95 years ago, meaning we'll have another such release next year. So why are the works coming into the public domain, what are we getting, and what might we get in the coming years?

Some holiday decorations are universally beloved: garlands and candles, electric lights on trees and homes, and the odd snowman (or even fake snow or icicles). Some displays, however, are a little more controversial. Nativity scenes, for example, which depict the birth of Jesus Christ, seem to be the target of annual litigation. And 2018 is no different.

Here are just a few of the legal battles ongoing over the public display of Nativity scenes this year:

Texas Lawmakers Push to Remove Outdated Anti-Gay Law

Texas is going to get another chance to get it right. Is it wishful thinking that they will finally remove an illegal anti-gay statute still on its books? Or will it punt again, dragging this out another two years?

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.