“Sue” Your Job: Congressional Inaction Taken to a New Level

by Deborah Steinberg

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Photo of U.S. Capitol Building, available here

Before there was “Repeal and Replace,” there was House v. Burwell.[1] In 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives filed a lawsuit against the Democratic Administration for allegedly failing to implement several provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.[2] A simple majority of Republican Representatives passed a House Resolution entitling Speaker Boehner to sue the Executive Branch to commence House v. Burwell,[3] which is currently on hold at the appellate level due to the anticipated overhaul of the American health care system.[4] Rejecting the majority of the allegations, the lower court ruled in favor of the House of Representatives on its claim that the Obama Administration was unconstitutionally funding the ACA because certain payments had never been authorized.[5] Beyond the lack of merits for this interpretation of the statute, the Court critically erred both in granting standing to the House and in denying the Administration’s motion for summary judgment, violating judicial precedent and the Constitution.[6] Consequently, the House Republicans could prevent lower and middle-income citizens from obtaining their benefits provided under the ACA, creating additional barriers to the accessibility of affordable healthcare without the fear of political accountability.[7]

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On-call is Being Called Off: Attorneys General Inquiry Leads Several Retailers to End On-Call Scheduling

By Rachel Deitch

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Photo available here

In 2016, eight state attorneys general, including the attorney general for the District of Columbia, launched an inquiry into several retailers’ “on-call” scheduling practices.[1] When retail workers are assigned to on-call shifts, they must call their employer an hour or two before a potential shift to learn if they should appear for work.[2] The attorneys general sent letters to the companies, and requested information and documents.[3] Several news outlets covered the investigation, highlighting the negative effects on-call scheduling has on employees.[4] In response, six companies, including Disney and Aeropostale, agreed to stop using on-call scheduling.[5]

On-call scheduling can have a negative impact on employees despite its popularity among employers. Retailers use on-call scheduling because they can adjust their staffing based on the amount of store traffic, [6] and address unexpected staff absences.[7] However, the attorneys general argue that on-call scheduling has a negative financial impact on employees because it creates unpredictable work schedules. If employees are not assigned to work, they receive no compensation and may have already paid for unnecessary childcare.[8] Employees who keep their days open are also unlikely to obtain other work to make up for the shortfall.[9]

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In Memoriam: E. Clinton Bamberger Jr. (1926-2017)

by Brendan Kearney

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From left to right: Clinton Bamberger, Author’s sister, Author’s mother. Photo provided by Author.

Growing up in Baltimore, I attended Corpus Christi, a liberal outpost of the Catholic Church led during my childhood by a nun and then by a former Federal Communications Commission lawyer turned priest. After Mass, my mom would chat with other parishioners, and one of her favorites was a kindly older gentleman named Clinton Bamberger L’51. I liked him, too: he had an easy manner, spoke slowly and deeply, and one day, taught me a “secret” handshake, my memory of which he tested each time we crossed paths. I’m not sure where it came from, but the sequential combination of handholds and gestures made me feel like I had a special bond with an important man.

Over the years, my mom told me about things Mr. Bamberger had done, like help run the Legal Services Corporation and travel the world teaching law. I remember Mr. Bamberger himself telling me about his time at Piper & Marbury, when it was only a dozen or so lawyers, a far cry from the international behemoth DLA Piper is today. I came to understand that Mr. Bamberger had lived a full and admirable life. But I didn’t grasp the full measure of it until he died last month.

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