A daily look at legal news and the business of law:
Supreme Court Will Rule on Arizona Immigration Law
Although the recently passed Arizona immigration law requiring noncitizens to carry documents and empowering police to detain suspected illegal immigrants has gotten a lot of attention, on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to rule on a different, but extremely important Arizona immigration law.
The law in question punishes employers for hiring illegal immigrants, and requires them to use a generally voluntary federal system for identifying whether workers are legal called E-Verify. (It's mandatory nationwide for any company that's a federal contractor.) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit business lobbying group, has challenged the law, arguing that federal law preempts Arizona's statute. If the Chamber wins, states will have even less power to cope with the immigration situation despite the federal government's ongoing inaction. If the Chamber loses, I imagine many states will enact similar statutes. Illegal immigrants are primarily here to work: If employers won't hire them, they'll have little reason to come. Indeed, the population of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has apparently leveled off since the start of the recent recession.
UBS Investors Want to Sue Ex-Executives
Since an April UBS meeting at which shareholders rebuked ex-UBS executives by voting against giving the bank management absolution for causing huge losses in 2007, the Swiss shareholder activist group Ethos has called for UBS to file suit against its 2007 chairman and its 2007 CEO. On Wednesday, the The Wall Street Journal reported that two more shareholders' organizations had taken up the call. It'll be interesting to see how many more shareholders jump on the bandwagon.
SEC Loses Insider Trading Case
The Securities and Exchange Commission's most recent court loss was an insider-trading case involving credit default swaps. Jon-Paul Rorech, a Deutsche Bank trader, was accused of giving material, confidential information to a client that resulted in the client profiting on related trades. Ruling in favor of the trader last Friday, the judge found that he had done nothing wrong: He had acted within industry norms and followed Deutsche Bank's internal policies. Rorech's defense attorney noted that the industry norms in the "fixed-income market" were significantly different from those in the stock market. Given the acquittal, that seems to be so, but why it is acceptable from a public-policy standpoint isn't at all clear.
Superfund Act Is Ruled Constitutional
General Electric (GE) just lost its suit trying to get part of the Superfund Act declared unconstitutional as a violation of due process. GE had sued as part of its efforts to fight the Environmental Protection Agency's demand that GE clean up PCB contamination in the Hudson River.
Lawyer Steals from Veterans
A lawyer and his wife have been charged with stealing more than $2 million over six years from veterans they represented, reports the Houston Chronicle.
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