Monsanto – A Legal Bully

A basic tenet of our American democracy is that where there is an injury there is a remedy as articulated in Marbury v. Madison, a landmark Supreme Court decision which established judicial review of executive decisions.  There, the court wrote: The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury. That basic principle is…

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New York’s Pro Bono Requirement: Impetus to Incorporating a Social Justice Curriculum in the First Year of Law School

— Martin Luther King, Jr. , 18th April, 1959 Last year, in 2012, Chief Judge Lippman announced a new pro bono requirement for all applicants seeking admission to the New York State Bar to perform 50 hours of legal services under the supervision of an attorney.  Pro bono service is defined generally as any law-related activity performed for low income or disadvantaged individuals.  This new requirement was intended to address…

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Perspectives: Civil Rights as Labor Rights

On this May Day, an internationally recognized workers’ day, we are reminded that thousands of American workers continue to face discrimination on the job each year based on a protected status, such as race, gender or religion, despite a patchwork of existing state and federal anti-discrimination laws. In recent years, for example, nearly 100,000 workers have filed discrimination claims annually with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and about…

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Crushing Greed; Building Transnational Labor Solidarity

“The hierarchy of poverty has deadly consequences.” Born during Bangladesh’s war for independence, our home was bombed and I survived as the family tale goes cocooned by the rubbles of concrete and iron bars. Soon after, in December 1971, Bangladesh gained its independence.  Intertwined with the genesis of Bangladesh, I grew up on a steady narrative of survival stories from political unrest, floods, and garment factory tragedies. Bangladeshis would repeat…

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If There’s a Movement, and NYT Doesn’t Cover it, Is it a Movement?

Police Crush Pro Democracy Movement – 1987 Nobel prize poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore has a famous song cherished by Bengali activists which loosely translates to:  If no one heeds your call, then travel the road by yourself.  This has been interpreted as a call for courage and an inspiration to chart a path for social justice on one’s own.  But does that make a social movement? Of course, quotes abound…

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Gideon’s Promise Includes Right to Fair Trial

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court decided in Gideon v. Wainwright that a criminal indigent client has a right to counsel in state criminal proceedings.  The underlying basis for the counsel is to prepare a proper defense. The court reasons: From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which…

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