HHS broadens states' ability to nix Medicaid funds for abortion providers | Federal courts outline contingency plans amid government shutdown | Negligence suit alleges Facebook could have prevented Ohio slaying
January 22, 2018
DCBar SmartBrief
Late-Breaking Legal News
HHS broadens states' ability to nix Medicaid funds for abortion providers
The Department of Health and Human Services is reversing Obama-era guidance that said states can refuse Medicaid payments to abortion providers only if providers cannot perform or bill for covered services. The move will let states determine "what reasonable standards they use to protect Medicaid programs and their beneficiaries," said Charmaine Yoest of HHS.
Courthouse News Service (1/19) 
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Federal courts outline contingency plans amid government shutdown
The Supreme Court and other federal courts will remain open through Feb. 9 if the partial government shutdown is still underway, according to the Administrative Office of the US Courts. More than half of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate staff will continue to work, but former DHS official James Norton says the shutdown particularly heightens cyberrisk at nonsecurity agencies.
Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (1/21),  SCOTUSblog (1/21),  The Hill (1/22) 
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Negligence suit alleges Facebook could have prevented Ohio slaying
A wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the estate of Robert Godwin, an Ohio man whose shooting death was broadcast via video on Facebook, accuses Facebook of negligence and failing to warn authorities ahead of the shooting. The man suspected of shooting Godwin and putting the video on Facebook killed himself two days after the incident.
Courthouse News Service (1/20) 
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Business Practices and Professional Development
Commentary: Successful personal branding relies on trust, value
Attorneys can promote themselves through content and gain trust by understanding their audience and defining an area of focus, writes Jay Harrington of Harrington Communications. Many attorneys are successfully creating brand identity through podcasts and videos in addition to blogs, he writes.
Attorney at Work (1/22) 
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PTAB-related growth continues as firms await high court ruling
Law firms are increasing staffing and infrastructure to accommodate the unexpectedly rapid growth in cases since the Patent Trial and Appeal Board began hearing cases in 2012. The Supreme Court, however, is scheduled to rule this year regarding whether the PTAB can constitutionally rule in matters of inter partes review.
Bloomberg Law (1/16) 
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Laws, Cases and Regulations
Appeals panel hears DOJ rationale for withholding "sanctuary city" grants
A federal appeals panel heard arguments Friday in the Justice Department's appeal of a lower court ruling that suspends requirements that cities must comply with federal immigration-enforcement activities to receive grant funds. Judge Ilana Rovner questioned whether the Justice Department is exceeding the authority Congress meant to allow in establishing the grants.
The Associated Press (1/20) 
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Judge in Texas sex-trafficking case says God told him to intervene with jury
Jack Robison, a Texas state district judge, said God directed him to tell the jury in a sex-trafficking case that the defendant should not be convicted. The jury, however, found the defendant guilty, and Robison recused himself from sentencing in the case.
Austin American-Statesman (Texas) (free content) (1/19) 
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Ginsburg discusses sexual harassment, plans to stay on court
Ginsburg discusses sexual harassment, plans to stay on court
Ginsburg (Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a Sunday appearance at Sundance Film Festival, said she faced sexual harassment from a professor when she was a college student and voiced support for women who speak out against harassment. The 84-year-old justice also said she plans to remain on the high court through 2020.
CNN (1/22),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/22) 
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D.C. Bar News
Member Spotlight: Geetanjali Bhushan
Member Spotlight: Geetanjali Bhushan
Bhushan (courtesy of Bhushan)
For Geetanjali Bhushan, founder and chief executive of Solstrat Solutions, success did not come easily or happen on first try. But Bhushan is also not the type who gives up when the going gets tough. "I have often compared myself with those little ants that climb up the walls," she says. "They climb the wall. They fall. They climb again. They fall again ... but eventually they make it up over that wall. That's me."
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Get published in Washington Lawyer or on the D.C. Bar website
Get published in Washington Lawyer or on the D.C. Bar website
The D.C. Bar is putting out a call for all writers interested in sharing their expertise on law-related topics in its Washington Lawyer magazine and online at the D.C. Bar website.
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