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On July 9, Donald Trump announced that he was nominating Brett Kavanaugh, Judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Kavanaugh’s views pose a real threat to our nation’s core principles of equality and freedom for all.

LeGaL, the LGBT Bar of New York assembled a rockstar panel for this podcast to discuss Trump's SCOTUS pick and what's at stake for civil rights.

Panelists:
 
Shannon Minter , Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Leslie Proll , Civil Rights lawyer, advising NAACP on judicial nominations
Keith Thirion , Director of Outreach, Alliance for Justice
Eric Lesh , Executive Director of LeGaL, LGBT Bar of NY
Sanaa Abrar, Advocacy Director, United We Dream
Matry Rouse, National Field Director, HRC
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On this episode of the LeGaL LGBT Podcast, we discuss Justice Kennedy's retirement, his LGBT rights legacy, and what's at stake for the future of civil rights claims.

We are joined by Professor Art Leonard of NY Law School. Art literlally knows everything about LGBT litigation, so you are not going to want to miss this.

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We call this episode, “What’s Cake Got To Do With It?”. This is because we will discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding Trump’s travel ban and its relation to Masterpiece Cake Shop, Arlene’s Flowers, and the restaurant, Red Hen’s refusal to serve White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders.

For many of us, the travel ban decision left us feeling heartbroken and helpless. The decision reminds us of Korematsu, the SCOTUS decision upholding Japanese-American imprisonment. It does not uphold this country’s most basic principles of freedom and equality.

 In a powerful dissent, Justice Sotomayor points out the disconnect between the majority’s ruling in this Hawaii v Trump, “where the majority completely sets aside the President’s charged state­ments about Muslims as irrelevant,” and the holding in Masterpiece Cakeshop, “where the majority consid­ered the state commissioners’ statements about religion to be persuasive evidence of unconstitutional government action.”

 Today, LeGaL was joined on our LGBT Podcast by Lambda Legal’s Omar Gonzalez-Pagan. Together, we discuss the decision in the travel ban case, as well as the Court’s decision yesterday in Arlene’s Flowers, a case involving a same-sex couple that was refused service by a flower shop because they were gay.

 

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We will not be discussing cake in this podcast. If you want our take on Masterpiece, please have a listen to the special episode we recorded 24 hours after the ruling came down—oh and share it with your friends. Make sure they know that the Supreme Court did not give every homophobe across the country a license to discriminate.

We call this episode. “LGBT eyes still on SCOTUS” That’s because the Supreme Court has received two new petitions asking it to address whether Title VII bars discriminationbecause of sexual orientation, a request from a man who may have been sentenced to
death because he was gay, and the possible sequel to Masterpiece Cakeshop in Arlene’s Flowers, and a request from a transgender asylum recipient whose attempt to get a legalname change is being blocked by an Indiana law.

We will begin by chatting about these cases with Professor Art Leonard of New York Law School. Art is the chief editor and writer of LGBT Law Notes, the most comprehensive monthly publication covering the latest legal and legislative developments affecting the LGBT community here and abroad.Then, we will chat with Art about 2 new rulings involving access to restrooms for transgender students—including more in the Gavin Grimm case.

Finally, Art will let me go on about an area of interest for me, namely 2 rulings in different states on the discriminatory exercise of peremptory strikes to eliminate gay jurors.

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The Supreme Court ruled narrowly against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in Masterpiece Cakeshop, based on concerns that the original case was not decided “with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.”

In doing so, the Court also reaffirmed the core American principle that businesses open to the public must be open to all.

The unfortunate result of this ruling is that cases like this will continue to be litigated in the courts. In the meantime, LGBT people will have to go about their day to day lives fearing they might be refused service because of who we are.

It is important to note that the Supreme Court did not change the long-standing rule that businesses open to the public must be open to all. This ruling was limited to facts specific to this case, and the court importantly did not give businesses the broad right to discriminate that the bakery and the Trump administration sought here.

Eric Lesh, Executive Director of the LGBT Bar of NY discusses this case with Professor Art Leonard of New York Law School.

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We call this episode “Stacking the Courts: The Fight Against Trump’s Extremist Judicial Nominees.”

That’s because in nomination after nomination, Trump’s picks for federal courts are hostile to civil rights in general and specifically hostile to LGBT rights.

As the Senate tries to rubberstamp and rush these nominees through by confirming them at an alarming pace, Lambda Legal has spearheaded a broad effort elevate the importance of this issue. Lambda is working overtime to expose the records and inform both senators and the public of the dangers Trump’s nominees pose to our rights, to the rule of law, and to the nation itself.

We are speaking with Sasha Buchert, a staff attorney at Lamdda Legal who has been leading their amazing work in this area.

 

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Thursday, May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

It was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBT people internationally. May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where homosexuality is criminalized.

We have been trying to highlight how Trump’s immigration policies and rhetoric are dangerous and deadly for LGBTQ people.

I am thrilled to be joined by our special guest, Adam Eli. Adam is a community organizer and the founder of Voices4, a non-violent direct action activist group committed to advancing global queer liberation. We also have Azis Toktobaev, a 20 year old, from Kyrgyzstan who is an intern for Voices4.

We will be talking about the treatment of queer people in Russia, the realities that Russian refugees face in the US, their activism, and what our lawyer and activist listeners can do to effectuate change. 

 

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We call this LGBT Law Notes episode of the LeGaL Podcast “Trump Benchslap.” That’s because a district court hearing one of the challenges Trump’s hateful transgender military ban saw right through the Administration’s attempt to dress up the same old ban with some fresh paint. The Administration also suffered a tatol defeat in an asylum case before the 9th Circuit. Trump’s favorite Circuit.

We will begin by chatting about these cases with Professor Art Leonard of New York Law School. Art is the chief editorand writer of LGBT Law Notes, the most comprehensive monthly publication covering the latest legal and legislative developments affecting the LGBT community here and abroad.

Then, we will chat with LeGaL's legal director, Brett Figlewski about a NY case involving a child who was conceived and raised by the three individuals in a tri-parent arrangement. 

And of course, Art will be surprising us with his choice for our "Of Note" segment.

Hosted by Eric Lesh, Executive Director of the LGBT Bar of NY (LeGaL)

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LeGaL (LGBT Bar NY) discusses the brief we joined urging the Supreme Court to strike down Trump’s discriminatory Travel Ban. The Ban is extremely dangerous — particularly for members of the LGBTQ community.

LeGaL’s Eric Lesh, Executive Director, and Brett Figlewski, Legal Director discuss.

Read the brief:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/17/17-965/39930/20180326080438530_17-965%20bsac%20Immigration%20Equality.pdf

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We call this installment of the LGBT Law Notes Podcast: “The Transgender Trio.” We will be discussing serval cases with significant implications for three very important issues impacting transgender rights.

First, a unanimous Sixth Circuit panel held that discrimination based on transgender status is protected under Title VII

Second, we will give you an update on Trump’s hateful trans military ban.

Third, we will tell you about the flurry of activity around equal access to accurate birth certificates for transgender individuals.

We also have a very special segment this month. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I sat down with the Anti-Violence Project’s legal director Virginia Goggin to discuss their legal work and how violence impacts our community.

And of course, Art will be surprising me with his choice for our of note segment.

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