THE TOL LAW BLOG

Embryo Wars

By TOL Social

EMBRYO WARS LA couple Anni and Ashot Manukyan have filed suit against a fertility clinic after one of their embryos was carried to term by another woman in New York.  In a mind-twisting legal case filled with what must be incredible personal heartbreak, the baby boy has now been returned to his biological parents in California.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman who gave birth to the Manukyan's baby is of Korean descent and that she was “surprised” when “neither of the two baby boys [that she delivered]… were of her own ethnicity.”  Predictably, law suits have followed. The Manukyans have sued the clinic in LA. The New York City family, identified only as A.P. a...

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What Is “Reading the Law,” Kim Kardashian's Law Study Apprenticeship?

By TOL Social

When media personality Kim Kardashian-West announced to her loyal following that she was studying to become a lawyer without attending law school, many of you asked "HOW?" (and some asked "why," but that’s for another day). How can you become a lawyer without attending law school or, in Kardashian’s case, without a college degree? We are here to explain. Kardashian’s path to lawyerdom is sometimes called “reading the law,” which, while exceptionally rare today, was once the norm.   WHAT IS READING THE LAW? So first, what is “reading the law?” Basically, it’s a JD via apprenticeship but without the actual degree. In her case, Kardashian will need to spend at least four yea...

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Contested Paternity between Identical Twins

By TalksOnLaw Editorial

► TOL Foreign Law Update A woman is pregnant, and the father is one of two identical twins.  But what happens if each twin claims he is not the father? Well, according to a court in Brazil, both will pay. The twins, referred to by the court as Fernando and Fabrício, are alleged to regularly impersonate one another while pursuing women.  The judge, left unable to identify the father, imposed child support on both men.     Additional Resources For an in depth conversation on bioethics, including the ownership of sperm and contested paternity, watch this interview with Harvard Law Prof. Glenn Cohen.  Click here. For the legal decision (in Portuguese), click here.  ...

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Jussie Smollett–All Charges Dropped

By TalksOnLaw Editorial

In an example of the broad powers of prosecutorial discredition, Chicago prosecutors dropped all 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett. The actor had been previously accused of staging a fake hate crime against himself and then lying to police about it.  Without reversing on the allegations from Chicago PD, the DA’s office dropped the charges after Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and perform community service. According to DA Kim Foxx, the crimes may not have been serious enough to merit pursuing further, given that Smollett wasn't likely to face jail time. Kim Foxx said, “This is a Class 4 felony — We recognize that the likelihood that someone would get a pri...

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BROWSE POSTS


Embryo Wars

EMBRYO WARS LA couple Anni and Ashot Manukyan have filed suit against a fertility clinic after one of their embryos was carried to term by another woman in New York.  In a mind-twisting legal case filled with what must be incredible personal heartbreak, the baby boy has now been returned to his biological parents in California.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman who gave birth to the Manukyan's baby is of Korean descent and that she was “surprised” when “neither of the two baby boys [that she delivered]… were of her own ethnicity.”  Predictably, law suits have followed. The Manukyans have sued the clinic in LA. The New York City family, identified only as A.P. a...


Published: July 15, 2019
Robert Mueller's 12 Secret Criminal Referrals

Deep within its appendices, the report lists 14 criminal referrals that were made by the special counsel’s office.


Published: April 19, 2019
Contested Paternity between Identical Twins

► TOL Foreign Law Update A woman is pregnant, and the father is one of two identical twins.  But what happens if each twin claims he is not the father? Well, according to a court in Brazil, both will pay. The twins, referred to by the court as Fernando and Fabrício, are alleged to regularly impersonate one another while pursuing women.  The judge, left unable to identify the father, imposed child support on both men.     Additional Resources For an in depth conversation on bioethics, including the ownership of sperm and contested paternity, watch this interview with Harvard Law Prof. Glenn Cohen.  Click here. For the legal decision (in Portuguese), click here.  ...


Published: April 3, 2019
EU Bans Single-Use Plastics

The European Parliament approves a new law banning single-use plastics by 2021.  The law bans items such as plastic straws, plates, q-tips and plastic cutlery.  Additionally, the new legislation calls for EU states to reach 90% collection targets for all plastic bottles by 2029.  “Today, we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas. We got this, we can do this.” Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission. Additional Resources For details on the ban from the European Parliament, click here. For the EU's factsheet on the new rules reducing plastics and the damage of such plastics to the oceans, click he...


Published: March 28, 2019
Bump Stock Now Illegal

The federal ban on bump stocks is officially law as of March 26, 2019.  Bump stocks modify semiautomatic rifles, allowing them to fire continuously with one pull of the trigger.  Back in December 2018, the Dept of Justice provided owners with 90 days to turn in or destroy their bump stock before banning them outright.  Bump stocks are now included within the federal definition of a "machinegun" in the Gun Control Act (GCA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA). Possessing them can result in fines and a prison term of up to 10 years.  To learn more, read the official Bump-Stock-Type Devices Final Rule released by the Department of Justice December 18, 2018.


Published: March 26, 2019
Justice Thomas Speaks

#THOMASspeaks  Justice Thomas breaks a silence of over three years at the high court. The case involves racial bias in jury selections. Curtis Flowers, tried 6 times for the same murder charges, was convicted after the prosecutor was alleged to have repeatedly removed jurors for being black, violating the so-called Batson rule. What did he ask? He asked about whether jurors were excluded from the 6th trial by the defense and if they were white or black. They were white... Supreme Court Grant of Cert. {This is the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case.}


Published: March 21, 2019
John Roberts –– King of the Court

#KingOfTheCourt: After joining the liberal wing on the Louisiana abortion case (June Medical Services v. Louisiana Dept. of Health), Chief Justice John Roberts has solidified his status as THE swing vote on #SCOTUS. In the vote, the conservative 👨🏻‍⚖️ tipped the court against a Louisiana law severely restricting abortion.  Not since Earl Warren (correct us if we’re wrong!?) in the 1950’s have we had a chief justice also serve as the main swing vote, making him the new #PowerJustice.


Published: March 7, 2019
What Is “Reading the Law,” Kim Kardashian's Law Study Apprenticeship?

When media personality Kim Kardashian-West announced to her loyal following that she was studying to become a lawyer without attending law school, many of you asked "HOW?" (and some asked "why," but that’s for another day). How can you become a lawyer without attending law school or, in Kardashian’s case, without a college degree? We are here to explain. Kardashian’s path to lawyerdom is sometimes called “reading the law,” which, while exceptionally rare today, was once the norm.   WHAT IS READING THE LAW? So first, what is “reading the law?” Basically, it’s a JD via apprenticeship but without the actual degree. In her case, Kardashian will need to spend at least four yea...


Published: June 21, 2019
Extradition Battle: Who Gets Julian Assange?

Who gets Julian Assange? The (in)famous Wikileaks founder was arrested on April 11 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.  But with charges still pending in the UK (skipping bail), the possibility of a sexual assault case in Sweden, and a felony charge in the US for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” (helping Chelsea Manning take and release classified military docs), who will end up with custody of the famous white-haired hacker?  While many experts see the U.S. as the favorite for custody, Sweden is also a contender; Assange’s alleged rape victim is pushing Swedish prosecutors to reopen her case.  Another mystery yet unsolved – why after 7 years of asylum (plus Ecuado...


Published: April 11, 2019
Should Sending Nude Pics Be Illegal?

A Texas state senator, backed by the founder of the popular dating app Bumble, is pushing to criminalize unsolicited nude or indecent photos in Texas. The law would apply to images sent over text, social media, and dating apps.   Bumble founder, Whitney Herd, argued before the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, "If indecent exposure is a crime on the streets, then why is it not on your phone or computer?” The bill, drafted by State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) and co-authored by Rep Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), would criminalize sending photos of: "(A) a person engaging in sexual conduct or with the person's intimate parts exposed; or (B) covered genitals of a ma...


Published: April 1, 2019
Jussie Smollett–All Charges Dropped

In an example of the broad powers of prosecutorial discredition, Chicago prosecutors dropped all 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett. The actor had been previously accused of staging a fake hate crime against himself and then lying to police about it.  Without reversing on the allegations from Chicago PD, the DA’s office dropped the charges after Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and perform community service. According to DA Kim Foxx, the crimes may not have been serious enough to merit pursuing further, given that Smollett wasn't likely to face jail time. Kim Foxx said, “This is a Class 4 felony — We recognize that the likelihood that someone would get a pri...


Published: March 27, 2019
Parents Charged with Mail Fraud for Cheating on College Admissions

Federal prosecutors have brought charges against dozens in a high profile admissions fraud case involving purchasing access to the nation’s top universities.  Parents, school coaches, and facilitators who profited from the fraud scheme face charges.  Notable parents include famous lawyers, celebrities (e.g. Aunt Becky from Full House 📸), and prominent CEOs.  The charges against the parents are particularly interesting; they're brought mostly under the broad federal mail fraud laws that ban fraudulent or illegal activities through the US mail systems or carriers and wire fraud, a similar crime that makes use of telecommunications or information technology. For the DOJ's press ...


Published: March 23, 2019
Heroes of Law

Celebrating the women of SCOTUS on International Women's Day!


Published: March 8, 2019
It's Time to Teach Law to Kids

"KIDS DESERVE TO UNDERSTAND THEIR RIGHTS" Teaching teens about the law gives them much more than a bedrock of legal facts; it provides a tool for self-advocacy and a shield against abuse. Take racial or sex discrimination for example. Incidents of being “arrested while black” or being mistreated for being different are unlikely to disappear completely in the near future, so why not train students on how to respond intelligently while preserving their legal rights to combat such injustices. Deportations and immigration enforcements are increasing. Helping a kid learn some of the basic rules of immigration law not only increases awareness, but it can help her down a path to lea...


Published: March 7, 2019