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D.C. in Brief

Congresswoman Invokes Authority
To Arrest U.S. Attorney General

     A member of Congress said Sunday she wants to use a rarely invoked legal authority to compel the arrest of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for contempt.
     The House voted last week to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over an investigator's recording of President Joe Biden being interviewed about classified documents found in his garage.
     The Justice Department is declining to prosecute Garland, who heads the Justice Department.
     Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida said in a Fox News interview that she wants the House sergeant-at-arms to arrest Garland.
     Luna has introduced a resolution recommending the arrest and discussed it with the speaker of the House.​
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Legal Briefs

We Could Use Your Help

     Thousands of DC residents need a lawyer, but can’t afford one. They could be illegally evicted from their homes, lose custody of their children, experience domestic violence, and more, all because they lack legal representation. 
      You could make a difference. By making a donation to the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, you will provide free, high-quality, zealous legal representation to low-income DC residents. 
      Your support could prevent homelessness, domestic violence, hunger, or family separation. In fact, if just 10 people who see this ad give $28 to Legal Aid, it will be enough to staff an experienced attorney at the courthouse for a day.
      That way, DC residents like Keith King (pictured above) can get the legal representation they need to win their cases. As Mr. King put it, if it wasn’t for his Legal Aid lawyer, “I would have been homeless again.”
     Here is the link to the Legal Aid website for donations: https://www.legalaiddc.org/donate-to-legal-aid/

     For more information, contact Rob Pergament at Legal Aid at rpergament@legalaiddc.org​

Democrats Criticize Chief Justice
For Supreme Court Ethics Enforcement


     Congressional Democrats are criticizing the Supreme Court's chief justice for failing to enforce ethics standards on the court as they consider a proposal to intervene.
     Lawmakers are discussing a Senate Judiciary Committee bill to impose a new code of ethics on the Supreme Court.
     They accuse Chief Justice John Roberts of overlooking ethical lapses by fellow justices, such as Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.
     "The chief justice has, not only the authority, but the responsibility to deal with the problems of behavior on his own court, and he's not doing it. He is not doing it," Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said on the Senate floor last week.
     He spoke minutes after the Senate struck down a proposal to expedite a final vote on a Supreme Court ethics bill. The bill still is pending but now it must pass through the normal procedures required for all legislation.

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Power the Civil Rights Work of Our Time

     Each day members of our community are experiencing wage theft, the effects of gentrification, discriminatory policing, collateral consequences, marginalization in schools, and barriers to public accommodations. 
     We fight alongside people facing the effects of gentrification like Amira Moore. Our work empowers the people and communities who need it most, “We can do more than we think. There’s a path to equity, we just have to step to it.” –Ms. Moore
     For more than 50 years, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has been on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights in our community. We deploy the best legal talent, we tackle the tough cases, we fight, and we win. 
     Our work is as important today as it has ever been. Through your support, you can play a role in creating justice for thousands of marginalized members of our community. Together, we will dismantle injustice and pursue lasting change.
     Join us! Donate & subscribe: https://www.washlaw.org/support-us
     Volunteer with us: https://www.washlaw.org/get-involved/
     For more information, contact Gregg Kelley at Gregg_Kelley@washlaw.org​

Consumer Advocates Want GE
To Put Warnings on Gas Stoves


     A consumer advocacy group is alleging in a new lawsuit that a kitchen manufacturing division of General Electric is creating a public health risk with its gas stoves.
     The lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund seeks to compel the manufacturer to put warnings on the stoves that inform consumers about the risks.
     “Cooking with GE Appliances gas stoves produces indoor levels of nitrogen dioxide that pose health risks,” the lawsuit says.
     Nitrogen oxide is a pollutant commonly found in smog. It can irritate airways and contribute to the development of asthma
     About 40 percent of American homes use gas stoves.
     The lawsuit is filed against Haier U.S. Appliance Solutions, which does business as GE Appliances.
     It accuses the company of violating a ban on deceptive trade practices listed in the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The Act is a general consumer protection law that prohibits a wide variety of deceptive and unconscionable business practices.
     The U.S. Public Interest Research Group and other environmentalists recommend that consumers switch to electric stoves.
     The Environmental Protection Agency does not have standards for indoor nitrogen dioxide levels.
     The lawsuit in Washington is part of a growing trend by activists to use legal action to enforce their preferences on public issues. Other public interest lawsuits have led to pesticide labeling and forced oil companies to pay for climate impacts.
     For more information, contact The Legal Forum (www.legal-forum.net) at email: tramstack@gmail.com or phone: 202-479-7240.

Federal Trade Commission Plans
Effort Against Drug Patent Abuses


     Lawyers are being blamed as part of the problem in high drug prices as Congress considers proposals to give consumers a better deal.
     Federal officials are discussing a strategy to block pharmaceutical companies from abusing patent rights that can keep drug prices high.
     The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee met with the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission last week on a plan to prevent drug companies from extending their patent rights beyond their normal expiration dates. 
     When their patent rights are close to expiring, some companies are accused of filing for extensions based on false claims.
     Extensions to their rights can be granted by filing claims in the Federal Trade Commission’s “Orange Book.” It consists of a list of drug products approved as safe and effective that might be eligible for additional patent protection.​
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Congressional Bill Would Prevent
Student Athletes Being Employees


     A U.S. House committee approved a bill last week that would prevent student athletes from being categorized as employees of their universities.
     A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled in February that student athletes were university employees, thereby allowing them to earn salaries and to unionize to protect their rights as workers.
     The bill approved by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would reverse the NLRB decision.
     The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., said the classification as employees would block students from some benefits, such as receiving compensation for commercial use of their names and images as well as the ability to transfer schools without losing eligibility.
     Both the NLRB and the House committee are trying to protect student athletes but disagree on the technique.
     Good said that few college athletes become successful in professional sports, meaning they need to depend on their education to help them reach their career goals.
     "University or conference employment status would take the focus off their education and have unintended negative consequences," Good said.
     The classification as employees also could extend union influence too far over universities, he said.
     Good was a wrestler for Liberty University when it was an National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II school and later worked as an administrator in its athletics department.
     Democrats argue employment status for student athletes protects them from abuses that have included requiring them to spend so much time on sports that their grades suffer. Meanwhile, their teams and schools reap sometimes huge revenue from the multi-billion dollar college sports industry.
     In the Senate, negotiations continue over a more comprehensive college sports bill. 
     The legislative proposals are taking on greater urgency after a $2.8 billion lawsuit settlement three weeks ago between the NCAA and the Power Five college sports conference.

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