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In Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014), the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that a victim of domestic violence was eligible for asylum based on her membership in a particular social group comprised of “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship.” Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overruled that decision. In Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), the Attorney General held that “claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence of gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will [generally] not qualify for asylum.”

To establish a claim for asylum, an alien must be “unable or unwilling to return to her country of origin because she suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of ‘race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.'” When a claim is based on membership in a particular social group, the applicant must demonstrate

(1) membership in a particular group, which is composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, is defined with particularity, and is socially distinct within the society in question;


Posted in: Immigration Law

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On February 26, 2018, Texas1 filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service alleging that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a/k/a the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) was unconstitutional. Six years earlier, in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which “require[d] most Americans to maintain ‘minimum essential’ health insurance coverage,” as a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Taxing Clause. The plaintiffs now argue that since Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which eliminated the tax penalty of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate is no longer a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Taxing Clause since removal of the tax penalty disconnects the individual mandate from the collection of taxes.

Plaintiffs further argued that without the individual mandate, the rest of the Affordable Care Act must fall since the individual mandate underpins the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The guaranteed-issue requirement prohibits health plans from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions. The community-rating requirement prohibits health insurers from charging higher premiums to persons with pre-existing conditions.


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Today, President Trump declassified a memorandum dated January 18, 2018, from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ("Nunes Memo"). This memo alleged abuses by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation while seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct electronic surveillance of Carter Page.

Posted in: Federal, Government

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An Act

To provide for the relocation of the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995”.


Posted in: Government

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Last week, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order entitled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, Exec. Order No. 13,769, 82 Fed. Reg. 8977 (Jan. 27, 2017).1 This order included several controversial provisions that may alter American immigration policy.

First, paragraph 3(c) of the Executive Order suspended immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States from countries referred to in 8 U.S.C. § 1187(a)(12) for 90 days “to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals.” The countries affected by this suspension include

  • Iraq and Syria;

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On January 31, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, for the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would take up the seat vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year.

Here’s what you might want to know about Judge Gorsuch:

  • Judicial Service: He currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was nominated for that position by George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, to fill a seat vacated by David M. Ebel. Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on July 20, 2006, and received commission on August 8, 2006.

Posted in: Legal News

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Power Pole

On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office filed a complaint in the Western District of Washington against the City of Seattle and its department Seattle City Light.

In United States of America v. City of Seattle, the complaint revealed that the FBI had been installing covert video surveillance cameras on city utility poles, as part of an investigation of particular subjects. The federal government is seeking an injunction to prevent the City, which had received a request from a KIRO 7 reporter under the Washington State Public Records Act, from disclosing the location of cameras that the FBI had installed on city utility poles.


Posted in: Criminal, Privacy

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Last April, Nike USA, Inc. filed a complaint against Boris Berian, alleging that the defendant had breached an endorsement contract.

Nike alleged that parties had entered into a Track & Field Contract on June 17, 2015, that ended on December 31, 2015. During this term, Berian was exclusively obligated to endorse Nike athletic footwear and apparel. During the 60-day period before the expiration of the contract, Nike had an exclusive period to negotiate the renewal of the contract. After the exclusive negotiating period ended, Berian could negotiate with third parties. However, for 180 days after the contract expired, Berian had to submit to Nike any third-party offer he received and wanted to accept, and Nike then had 10 business days to “decide whether to enter into an agreement with Defendant on terms no less favorable than the ‘material, measurable and matchable terms’ contained in that third-party offer.”


Posted in: Litigation

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Muhammad Ali

Our legal system offers its own remembrance of Muhammad Ali. In decisions from 1967 to 1971, federal court opinions documented Ali’s fight to seek conscientious objector status when drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. Although he was convicted, sentenced to imprisonment for five years and fined $10,000 for declining to submit to induction, his conviction was ultimately overturned by the United State Supreme Court. The cases below show the circuitous route he took as his challenges traversed through all levels of the judicial system.

Ali v. Connally, 266 F. Supp. 345 (S.D. Tex. 1967). Court dismissed plaintiff’s petition for injunctive relief ruling that the Selective Service Act does not provide for judicial review of orders of the Selective Service Board.

Clay v. United States, 397 F.2d 901 (5th Cir. 1968). The Court held that decisions of the local boards in denying a ministerial exemption and conscientious objector status are final.

Ali v. Division of State Athletic Commission, 308 F. Supp. 11 (S.D.N.Y. 1969). Plaintiff Muhammad Ali alleged that the New York State Athletic Commission had violated his rights under the Due Process Clause by refusing to issue him a license to fight in a prize ring because of his conviction and sentence for refusing to serve in the armed forces. The District Court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss finding a rational basis for the Commission’s refusal to grant the application based on plaintiff’s conviction and sentence.

United States v. Clay, 386 F. Supp. 926 (S.D. Tex. 1969). The United States Supreme Court had granted certiorari and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the defendant’s conviction was tainted by the information obtained as a result of the electronic surveillance. Because defendant was not able to establish that logs of his telephone conversations contained prejudicial material, the court denied his motions to dismiss or set aside the verdict, sentence, and indictment, and for a new trial.


Posted in: Legal News

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Moscone Center

Last year, Google hosted Google I/O at Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco, a destination city with abundant hotel and dining options. So, it came as a bit of a shock to us when Google announced that Google I/O was moving to Shoreline Amphitheatre, which is literally just down the street from us in Mountain View, California.

Google I/O is a developer conference that explores the latest in technology and mobile. Our own software engineer, Nick Moline, has attended previous I/Os where he’s learned about Structured Data markup and knowledge graph search which powers Google Now. Nick notes that I/O is also where Google first launched various APIs that people use every day. “Most of the Google Maps API was first announced at the original Google Developer Day back in 2007, and SPDY, the precursor to what is now known as HTTP\2 a new faster way of working with the internet, was pushed heavily in 2010.” This year, Nick is looking forward to the sessions focused on high performance websites, in particular for mobile. These sessions should be of interest to lawyers and law firms seeking to improve their marketing reach.


Posted in: Technology