Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director for Lambda Legal, to discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado  case.

 

Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. A few months ago, on episode 79 we were joined by another Lambda Legal attorney, Currey Cook, to talk about faith-based adoption and child-welfare agencies that discriminate against LGBT individuals and receive state protection..

 

Today’s episode continues the discussion we had with Widener University Law School Dean, Rod Smolla, on episode 66. Dean Smolla did a fantastic job breaking down the case and giving opinions on how the Supreme Court might rule. Now that the Supreme Court has made its ruling we wanted to bring in an expert to talk about the implications it will have on future cases.

 

Jennifer Pizer has been an attorney with Lambda Legal since 1996 and has been a leading voice for ending marriage discrimination against lesbian and gay couples, for stopping anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, health care, and education, and against the misuse of religion to discriminate. In addition to litigating impact cases, she develops legislation, advises policymakers, and works with community advocates to advance family law and nondiscrimination protections, and to oppose overbroad religious exemptions.

 

Though the ruling in this case is very narrow, Jennifer explains how the Justices’ various opinions in the 7-2 decision give us insight as to how the High Court may rule in future cases.

 

This is a fascinating discussion about not only the Masterpiece Cakeshop case but also the balance between religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws in the United States.

 

To read the Supreme Court’s opinion click here.

To learn more about Lambda Legal visit their website: https://www.lambdalegal.org/

To learn more about Jennifer Pizer and her work visit her page: https://www.lambdalegal.org/about-us/staff/jennifer-c-pizer

 

Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Jennifer Pizer

 

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Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Nan Aron, President of the Alliance for Justice and a leading progressive voice on matters related to the federal judiciary to discuss judicial selection. We wanted to continue talking about this incredibly important topic and present a different perspective having already talked with Grover Joseph Rees about Judicial Selection in episode 76.

 

The Alliance for Justice believes that all Americans have the right to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives. The AFJ is a national association of 130 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society.

 

Nan is an unrivaled expert on the legal framework, importance, and assessment of nonprofit advocacy activities. She started the AFJ in 1979 after working as a staff attorney for the ACLU’s National Prison Project, where she challenged conditions in state prison systems through lawsuits in federal and state courts, and later as a trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she litigated race and sex discrimination cases against companies and unions in federal and district courts.

 

On today’s episode, Aaron and Nan talk about a recent review by the Senate Judiciary Committee Minority Members which you can find here. The committee looked at the Republican efforts to stack federal courts.

 

For a conservative take on Trump’s judicial appointments, see episode #76 with Grover Joseph Rees.

To learn more about the Alliance for Justice visit their website https://www.afj.org/.

 

Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Nan Aron  

 

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Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Dalene Hemerka, an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Public Interest Law Center to talk about the Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act.

 

The Public Interest Law Center uses high-impact legal strategies to advance the civil, social, and economic rights of communities in the Philadelphia region facing discrimination, inequality, and poverty. They use litigation, community education, advocacy, and organizing to secure their access to fundamental resources and services.

 

Darlene focuses on representing parents in IEP meetings, advocating for teens with disabilities in the Philadelphia School District, and teaching students and their families about secondary transition services. This area of the law is a passion for Darlene because she was born with Cerebral Palsy.

 

During the episode she talks about her experience transitioning from high school to college and what she has observed in many other students’ transitions. She noticed that the school system was leaving many students unprepared for life after high school. Even with students that had an IEP or Individualized Education Program in place, she noticed those students were often underprepared.  

 

The Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act is a new law passed in Pennsylvania that could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country. It is an act the requires the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to work with school districts to ensure students are being properly prepared for life outside of high school.

 

Join Aaron Freiwald and Darlene Hemerka for this impactful episode of Good Law | Bad Law. To learn more about the Public Interest Law Center go to their website www.pubintlaw.org. To learn more about the Life After School project that Darlene is working on visit the webpage https://www.pubintlaw.org/cases-and-projects/life-after-school/.

 

To learn more about The Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act click here.

 

Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Darlene Hemerka  

 

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Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Currey Cook an attorney and advocate for Lambda Legal to discuss discrimination in the foster care system.

 

Currey Cook is the Director of the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project and Counsel in the National Headquarters Office of Lambda Legal which is the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and people with HIV.

 

On today’s show, Currey and Aaron talk about the new law passed in Oklahoma as well as laws passed in Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Alabama, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Virginia that protect faith-based adoption agencies’ right to restrict child placement based on religious beliefs. Currey explains these organizations, like any other organization or business, can’t discriminate based on things like sex or gender because those are protected classes. But these organizations are discriminating based on sexual orientation and identity and other factors that fall into a grey area. Currey explains that these organizations receive state and federal funding which is the reason these laws protecting them and their practice of discrimination cause such concern.

 

The faith-based organizations say they will not place children with same sex couples because of their religious or moral convictions and forcing them to do so would violate those rights. Furthermore, there’s no consensus on how to handle these situations. The eight states mentioned above have passed laws protecting the organizations while others like Illinois and Washington DC have vetoed such measures.

 

To read the latest Bill that was signed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Bill number 1140 click here.

 

Join Aaron Freiwald and Currey Cook as they examine faith-based adoption agencies and the laws passed by 8 states that protect their right to discriminate.

 

Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Currey Cook

 

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Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Melissa Gomez, President of MMG Jury Consulting LLC., to talk about how Juries have changed over the past few years.

 

Melissa Gomez is a jury consultant with a PHD in psychology and a Master of Science in education from the University of Pennsylvania. In her career as a jury consultant she has worked on over 600 jury trials across the United States and has written two books; Jury Trials Outside-in: Leveraging Psychology from Discovery to Decision, and The Witness preparation Partner: A Guide to Becoming the Ready Messenger.

 

We brought Melissa in today to talk about the second Bill Cosby trial which resulted in a conviction, to see if she thinks the changes in the political climate and the #MeToo movement had any impact on the jury’s decision. She explains that since 2017 she has seen a sharp increase in distrust among juries towards those who come from a position of power. And, this distrust isn’t just with people like Bill Cosby, it extends to corporations, celebrities, and politicians. She has also noted that jurors are less willing to compromise resulting in more hung juries. Another interesting find Melissa has noted is juries have an increased desire to send a message to those coming from a position of power.

 

Finally, Aaron asks Melissa to give some insight on what all of this means for jury trials as a whole in our country moving forward; if she believes jurors will go back to the way things used to be or if they will continue to polarize and send messages to those in power.

 

Join Aaron Freiwald and Melissa Gomez as they discuss the differences between the two Cosby trials and the state of jury trials in America today.

 

Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Melissa Gomez

 

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