The Supreme Court’s Job

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once stated that “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.” During the years of the Marshall Court and those that followed, when the huge social issues of the day made their way to the Supreme Court, people like you and me and all the other members of the LGBT community held out hope that achieving that definition of equality could happen someday for us. Maybe it would not be today and maybe not tomorrow – but the hope and the faith that one day we would be […]

Is There Justice … in the Immigration Court system?

This past August 8th, the National Association of Immigration Judges filed a grievance/complaint with the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) based on the actions of US Attorney General Sessions, who ordered an assistant chief judge from Falls Church, Virginia, to travel to Philadelphia for the sole purpose of entering an order of removal against a person who had not appeared for a hearing. The immigration judge (IJ) who had handled the case had closed the removal case because the Office of Chief Counsel (“OCC”) in Philadelphia had not been able to prove that the person had actually received the […]

Who Inherits Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

Even if you have a valid will, it probably doesn’t address a surprisingly valuable asset – your frequent flyer miles. Whether you often travel by air or simply use an airline credit card, these miles can quickly add up. Some credit card companies will give you thousands of miles just for opening an account, as well as additional points for every purchase you make. Airlines value these miles differently, but each mile is typically worth about 1.5 cents. That means that a cache of 200,000 miles could be worth $3,000. That’s not nothing, but of course the real value comes […]

Finding the Right Lawyer for You

A good lawyer is like a good friend – someone who is smart and honest, has your best interests at heart, and is enjoyable to be around. But finding such a lawyer can be an intimidating experience. Should you look online? Ask a friend to suggest someone? And how do you know when you’ve found the lawyer you need? Here are four things to look for when seeking legal counsel: 1) LGBT bona fides – Your first priority should be to find a fellow member of the LGBT community. Working with a lawyer means letting down your guard and entrusting […]

The Loss of 1,500 Kids in ICE Custody in 2017

In 1997, the administration of former President George W. Bush entered into a settlement agreement to address the problems that caused a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The “Flores Agreement” of 1997 became law when most of the provisions were included in Federal regulations. The “Flores Agreement” and regulations required that ICE officials detaining unaccompanied children (“UAC”) who entered the US without a parent or guardian provide 1) food and drinking water, 2) medical assistance in emergencies, 3) toilets and sinks, 4) adequate temperature control and ventilation, 5) adequate supervision to protect minors from others, and 6) separation […]

Separating Children from Parents Is it legal under US law? Under international law?

  It’s become clear that the zero-tolerance policy of the current administration began with a memorandum issued by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions this past April 6th (to clarify the memorandum he issued on April 11th, 2017, about “the prioritization of the prosecution of certain criminal immigration offenses”) has a direct result of separating children from their parents. In fact, there’s no limit to the age of the children given the evidence that nursing mothers have had their infants taken from their arms, with no hope of seeing them again. The mental and physical health risks of such actions are enormous […]

The Loss of 1,500 Kids in ICE Custody in 2017

In 1997, the administration of former President George W. Bush entered into a settlement agreement to address the problems that caused a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). The “Flores Agreement” of 1997 became law when most of the provisions were included in Federal regulations. The “Flores Agreement” and regulations required that ICE officials detaining unaccompanied children (“UAC”) who entered the US without a parent or guardian provide 1) food and drinking water, 2) medical assistance in emergencies, 3) toilets and sinks, 4) adequate temperature control and ventilation, 5) adequate supervision to protect minors from others, and 6) separation […]

MD ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban

Though largely discredited by medical and mental-health associations, conversion therapy, also referred to as “reparative therapy” and “ex-gay therapy,” seeks to treat and resolve a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity as though it is something curable. In 2012, California was the first state to ban such therapy on youth. Since 2012, ten other states have followed suit prohibiting the use of conversion therapy on children. In Maryland, the new law is referred to as the Youth Mental Health Protection Act. Practitioners who attempt to engage in conversion therapy will be subject to disciplinary proceedings. This is not the first […]

The Baker and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court decision is more LGBT-friendly than it seems

On June 4th, 2018, the US Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al. The case involves the 2012 decision by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (“CCRC”) finding that the bakery had violated Colorado law in denying a request by a gay male couple to prepare a wedding cake for their reception. The couple was getting married in Massachusetts because, in 2012, same-sex marriage was not legal, and they wanted to have a nice reception in the Colorado town where they lived. Indeed, Justice Kennedy, the author of […]

What is the Best Interests of the Child Standard? How judges decide the fates of the young

After families separate, parents must decide where the children will primarily live. Some families can settle this among themselves while others require court intervention. Often parents assume the court will award custody to the mother however, that’s not necessarily the case. Put simply, the Best Interests of the Child standard simply means that the court looks at certain factors to determine what is in the best interest of the children involved in the family situation. Even when parents have an agreement, the court still must make a finding that the agreement is in the best interest of the child. Often […]