They didn’t call it “The Paper Chase” for nothing.
What have I been up to? Well, this photo should give you a clue.
Along with blogging about the law, I have begun to practice it (again),
I am now a volunteer attorney with the BIA Pro Bono Project of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC). What the lawyers in the program do is represent immigrants before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). We are their lawyers in their appeals from the immigration courts. In some cases they are appealing an adverse ruling by the immigration judge; in some cases, they won before the judge but the Department of Homeland Security is appealing. It is all done on paper: the BIA hears very few oral arguments, and that is completely understandable given their caseload. Cases can take months, even years, to decide. If we win before the BIA the case ends there. If we lose we can appeal it to the federal circuit court of appeals that governs the area where the initial action took place. For example, if the immigrant was arrested in Pennsylvania, an appeal from the BIA would be heard in the Third Circuit, even though the person may be in a detention center in Louisiana.
I can’t speak for every area of the law (I have never done tax law) but it is one of the most complex, rapidly changing and acronym-riddled areas of the law. It even exceeds environmental law which I did practice for 15 years. The learning curve has been steep and climbing it has taken up the last two months. Challenging? Definitely. Rewarding? Absolutely. I will be doing this for the foreseeable future; no one thinks the end is in sight.
So what does that mean for the blog? Well, l will be posting about immigration law. And in keeping with the primary directive of the blog, these posts will be about the law of immigration. not immigration policy or politics, which are very important topics but not what this blog is about. And I won’t stop posting about one of my favorite topics, the Supreme Court, which always gives me a chance to talk about a point of law or two. And I will take suggestions from you, my readers, who have been extra patient and very supportive over that last two-plus months. And finally, I do promise a few lighter, but I hope educational, posts.
Given that I will usually have a BIA appeal on my desk (each one takes about 6-8 weeks from start to finish) there may not be quite as many blog posts as in the past, or maybe shorter ones. But then again, I have a whole new area to blog about.
And the first case to be decided by the Supreme Court in the October 2018 term is…..
In an 8-0 opinion (Justice Kavanaugh was not on the Court for the oral argument so he did not participate in the decision) the Court, in a short (9 page) opinion by Justice Ginsburg, held that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to states and political subdivisions regardless of size. (If you are in a business “affecting commerce”, really anything you might call a business, you have to have 20 or more employees). And that’s it.
I also promised you an interesting case. Remember the attack on the USS Cole? It was before the Supreme Court this week, and it involved service of a complaint on a foreign government and a strange litigation position by the federal government.
Republic of Sudan v. Harrison in my next post.