News Roundup

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25 ex-DC bar leaders decry election suits

Twenty-five former presidents of the District of Columbia Bar are criticizing lawyers who attacked the electoral process through unfounded allegations of voter fraud or ballot tampering. “In the absence of any meaningful evidence, we must condemn the abuse of the judicial system to subvert the democratic process,” they wrote in a statement published by the Washington Post. The former bar leaders cite the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which say lawyers should not bring a proceeding “unless there is a basis in law or fact for doing so that is not frivolous.” (The Washington Post)

Ex-1L presses due process claim over GPA ouster

Texas Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared skeptical of a former first-year law student’s claim that the Texas Southern University violated his due process rights by dismissing him for a grade-point average of 1.98, which was short of the school’s 2.0 GPA requirement. The student, Ivan Villarreal, said TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law failed to thoroughly investigate a cheating scandal in which a professor showed students attending his unauthorized review sessions a criminal law exam with at least 13 questions that ended up on the real exam. The university rescored the exam without the 13 questions and allowed students to accept the new score if it was better than the original. The school also offered Villarreal the option of returning in two years. “It seems the law school did everything it could to ameliorate the situation, and that the impact on your client, Mr. Villarreal, was arguably negligible,” Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman told a lawyer for Villarreal. (The Texas Lawyer, Law360)

Transgender bias suit settles after SCOTUS decision

A federal judge has approved a settlement benefiting the estate of Aimee Stephens, the transgender woman who died before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law protects her from being fired because of gender identity. The funeral home that fired Stephens, R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, agreed to pay $130,000. (The Detroit News via How Appealing)

Ex-FBI director takes another teaching gig

In January, former FBI Director James Comey will teach a seminar at Columbia University’s law school called “Lawyers and Leaders.” The course is part of the Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership, and Comey was appointed as a senior research scholar and distinguished fellow, according to the Columbia University’s website. The appointment follows Comey receiving an endowed chair in public policy at Howard University for the 2017-2018 academic term and him co-teaching a 2018 ethical leadership class at the William & Mary Washington Center. (Columbia Law School, Time, Politico)