Author: Michael

Who is Likely to be Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Replacement?

The Successor to a Supreme Court Justice

Marxist Justice Ginsburg
Leftist justice on SCOTUS

Ruth Bader Ginsburg served 27 years on the Supreme Court, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1973. As a major force on the Court, Ginsburg often steered the liberal wing of the court for decades. This included important votes on cases like Bush v. Gore and Obergefell v. Hodges. These major cases often were important moments in American history.

And since Justice Ginsburg was often the 5th vote on important decisions, her role looms large. Furthermore, as one of the 4 liberal members of the court, if she is replaced it is likely that the court could shift significantly to the right.

What Affect Would this Have on the Majority?

In this case, the conservative majority will likely grow to 6-3 from the previous 5-4. The court has been divided in a similar fashion for a while now. Before the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, Anthony Kennedy served as the swing vote. Now Chief Justice John Roberts, himself a George W. Bush appointment, is often the swing vote. It was Roberts who was the deciding vote in the famous ObamaCare in

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius in 2012. As a result, the importance of Ginsburg on the court is hard to overstate. This is why the decision of who will succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is so important. Furthermore, there are many more issues involved than simple politics.

Often, the makeup of the court will have implications in the Senate and beyond. Even the President appointing the next justice with the advice and consent of the Senate will prove to be a major media circus.

Attorney Michael Ehline
Attorney Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is leading civil rights and personal injury attorney based out of Los Angeles. Ehline is the head of the Ehline Law Personal Injury Attorneys APLC. His legal training allowed him a chance to better understand the wider implications of the court and its effects. Ehline’s role as a civil rights attorney also gave him insight on some of the important decisions of the Supreme Court– both past and present. As a result, the role of what will happen to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat weighs large.

For more info, contact Michael at losangeles@ehlinelaw.com. He also writes a legal blog here.

Who Might Succeed Justice Ginsburg?

Justice Ginsburg came with a major amount of evidence prior to being appointed to the court in 1993. She served as a federal judge and as legal counsel for the ACLU. She also played a major role in the organization’s founding. Furthermore, our recent appointees came with a tremendous amount of legal experience, usually on the federal bench.

As a result, there is a high chance that whoever appoints the next justice will choose someone on the existing circuit or appeals courts. Furthermore, other experiences such as service on a State Supreme Court or as a Solicitor General or Attorney General may be of paramount importance. The highest chance is that President Trump will appoint the next justice. One major factor will be whether or not the Senate has 50 votes to confirm the next justice.

It’s not clear that the Republicans in the Senate will have enough votes. They have 53 members of the Senate and have a chance to do so– so long as the GOP doesn’t lose four votes. Furthermore, Democrats destroyed the judicial filibuster in 2013 to force through President Obama’s nominees. By attempting to block Neil Gorsuch in 2017, the Democrats left a wide-open role for the President.

Furthermore, the Democrats destroyed the filibuster through both actions. This makes it possible for President Trump to be able to name a successor– rather than requiring the 60 votes needed prior.

This is likely to have a major implication to happen next.

Amy Coney Barrett:

The first is Amy Coney Barrett, the 48-year-old member of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Barrett is a Catholic, who was insulted by Democrats during her confirmation hearings in 2017. This resulted in the major takeaway of the hearings:

“The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that people have fought for years in this country,” Feinstein said to Barrett.

Barrett responded sharply: “It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they arise from faith or anywhere else, on the law.”

Up until this weekend, Barrett would have been considered the front runner. Furthermore, the odds of Barrett being named is high, considering that President Trump stated that he would name a woman to the Supreme Court. However, this is not a certainty, considering that he will try to get the 50 votes to get the nominee through the Senate.

Barbara Lagoa

Barbara Lagoa is a likely choice for the court herself. She was the first Latina to serve on the Florida state Supreme Court. Furthermore, her family is Cuban American. She would be the second Latino member of the Supreme Court after Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Lagoa previously went through a confirmation process last year. She was nominated to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals by President Trump.

She is 52 years old, making it likely that she could serve for decades on the court. By comparison, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 60 when she first started on the Supreme Court. Many presidents recently have been naming younger and younger members to the court in order to get more time out of their lifetime appointments. Lagoa is a graduate of Columbia Law School who later served as a federal prosecutor and over a decade as a state judge. Governor Ron DeSantis chose her as a member of the Florida Supreme Court before she joined the 11th Circuit in 2019.

What Happens Next?

Most likely, President Trump will name one of these qualified candidates to the court in the next week. Then the Senate will hold hearings on their qualifications. Whether they make it to 50 votes is another topic entirely– and one that will dominate the media until the election, or beyond.

Works Cited

Politico: What you need to know about Amy Coney Barrett
Politico: What you need to know about Barbara Lagoa

The Case Against Google: How it Uses Censorship in Its Business Model

Using the Standard Definition Of “Monopoly.”

Attorney Michael Ehline
Attorney Michael Ehline

Depending on your definition, Google may now be the most powerful company on the planet. It is worth billions and controls a large share of the data spread over the internet. Think of its search engine, its Google Chrome browser, Gmail service, Google Fi cell service, sprawling advertising network, etc. Google has tremendous power.

Consider Their former Code of Conduct. Tell me whether or not you think the company is living up to its former standards:

Back in the early days of Google, its motto was “Don’t be evil.” Things have changed. Two years ago the tech giant removed this from their code of conduct. Googlers generally apply those words to how Google serves its users. But “Don’t be evil” is much more than that.

Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to info, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that they can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably, and treating co-workers with courtesy and respect.

The difference is stark. And below we will go into some of the reasons how Google acquired this incredible power and according to many, misused it. It is now in Congress’ hands. How properly can it put an end to the growing monopoly power of a company that won’t commit to not “be evil.”

What Happened To “Don’t Be Evil”?

As you read above, Google has gone through quite a transformation over the last 20 years. It started with its role in the mid-2000s as the dominant internet search engine. It gradually transformed as the tech giant developed or bought out a number of services. By controlling the largest share of many aspects of tech. This includes internet browsers, searches, emails, ads, and more it has a unique position among internet companies.

As a result, Google has the ability to influence not only consumer behavior but also elections. Google and much of Silicon Valley has an open disdain for conservative politics. We see that their efforts in being an “open provider” of news and info is being flouted. Hence the role of the big tech hearings on Capitol Hill last week.

The Causes For The Hearings?

If you didn’t get a chance to watch CSPAN last week you missed a great deal of fun. The heads of Google, Facebook, and Amazon all digitally beamed into the Congressional hearing. At the heart of the issue was the growing power– and increasing misuse of it by the major tech giants.

Google’s case is particularly interesting. Combine precedent of previous large conveyors of info with modern tech law. We get a better understanding of the issues at the heart of Congress’ concerns.

The big tech companies have been able to hide behind Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act in their operations. Let’s take a closer look at the section before we go any further.

1)Treatment of publisher or speaker
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

Put all of this together and you can see that the internet companies are not acting in good faith. They do not act as a neutral platform for the dissemination of information.

So What Happens Now?

There is a good chance that Section 230 of the Telecommunications Law will change in the near future. It may be before the 2020 election or due to a bipartisan consensus after the election. Democrats fear the power of an oligarchic internet company commanding billions of dollars and tremendous influence. Republicans resent the fact that Google, Facebook, and Amazon have their thumbs on the scale for Democrats. As we’ll see below.

Section 230 was written in the internet’s infancy. So much has changed since then. A rewrite of regulation to reflect the modern state of tech. It may very well be useful and needed in this day and age.

A Valuable Precedent?

Let’s look back to a case that helped build the 1996 statute. Go back two years further to 1994. We have the case of an investment firm accused of fraud and an internet provider. Stratton Oakmont is better known for its profile in the famous movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

However, in 1994 it was an investment firm accused of fraud. The posts were uploaded anonymously onto servers operated by Prodigy. Prodigy claimed that it could not be held responsible because it simply indexed the info, rather than created it. The courts sided with Stratton Oakmont in the resulting case, Stratton Oakmont vs. Prodigy. But it did so due to an unexpected element. Since Prodigy manually edited content and moderated, it could be held responsible for its content.

It’s this precedent that helped build our modern internet. If Google did not touch search results or bend the rules for certain causes, there would be a difference. It could not be held liable in the same way due to the law. It would be acting as a library– and if there are books the government or politicians don’t like– too bad. However, once it starts creating results instead of just providing a neutral view, that becomes trouble.

Look no further than testimony on Capitol Hill. The most famous case of a company prosecuted despite Section 230 was Backpage. Prosecutors went after the company due to its involvement in its classified listings. That included looking the other way when there were sexual listings or prostitution.

Cox draws this distinction of websites like Backpage — involved or connected with their content — and sites that are “pure intermediaries.” He wouldn’t say whether that term applied to Facebook or Google.

Evidence of Google’s Involvement?

Unfortunately for the web giant, there is clear evidence that the company has been involved in clear manipulation for a long time. Most conservatives and people looking for negative results about democrats will find them buried. But if one were to look for positive stories about conservatives, they are buried.

Comparisons of web results are a clear indicator, especially revolving around the 2016 election. Users would find vastly different results when searching for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump– and it showed. Still, Google holds the cards.

Look at the recent testimony of the company’s CEO who donates large sums of money to Democrats. He admits that the tech giant willfully is involved in the manipulation of results. Even more evidence emerged from a recent CNN interview. The CEO Sundar Pichai even bragged about how it removed videos that violated its terms of service. But were selective about it.

The CEO bragged that YouTube had taken down 9 million videos that violated its policies, adding that YouTube is aiming to correctly draw the line between free speech and hate speech “over 99% of the time.”

A Bias Against Conservatives?

Part of the overwhelming problem is that the large majority of these accounts are of conservatives. Twitter recently pulled the same thing. It censored the posts of President Trump and using its power to restrict the accounts of other conservatives.

Even worse, YouTube can use its vast power controlling both the video platform and the ad revenue. This revenue supports it to effectively mute conservative causes. In these cases, right of enter accounts can still post but they may face restrictions. This may be in settings for “controversial” topics or Google shuts their ad revenue cut off. As a result, accounts that may bring in thousands of dollars per month. Google selectively brings them down to zero, as below:

Even if YouTube did draw the line at the right place, this 1% margin of error would imply that 90,000 perfectly acceptable videos would be deleted wrongly. But there is no reason for us to trust YouTube to draw this line at the correct place. YouTube’s censorship and demonetization of Steven Crowder, Prager U, and other conservative figures is proof of this.

What To Do About Google’s Massive Power?

The public agrees: Google has too much power. So do many of the web giants. The question is how to do so using the Constitutional principles of freedom of speech. If the government can force Google’s compliance with Section 230 and not show bias, this is key. Then there would be no need for additional legislation and the original intent of the law can be upheld. This is key.

If not, don’t be surprised if Congress considers a raft of new legislation next year. It could come from either party. It may also be a bipartisan agreement. There is a wide agreement about the abuse of power by web giants. Whether Trump or Biden wins, the new law may still be similar.

Google has a fair warning. Hopefully, it will heed it well. Until then, expect some major changes. The CEO’s comments play a major role in how the public perceives Google. We want them to not be evil. Te question is whether Google feels the same way. It is too early in telling so far. And if Trump loses the next election, don’t expect Google to change anything.

Keep your eyes on this site. We continually update on the current events around the tech giants. We also use our expert legal eye. Google is in the sights. Both in Congress and the public eye. Ehline Law passes out the info for you.

About the Author:

Michael Ehline is the lead attorney for the Ehline Law APLC Personal Injury Attorneys. In addition to personal injury cases, Ehline is committed to civil rights and internet privacy causes. He is a former lobbyist in Washington DC. He studied the means in which Google enriched itself over the years at the expense of its users. He’s tracked the habits of multiple tech companies. He’s acquired a bit of insider knowledge on the subject and reasonable expectations of how they will likely act in the future. This goes double in case the companies are not properly reined in by Congress.

If you’d like to know more, he recommends reading his legal blog. He will update our site with more content for the reader. Also, be on the lookout for our cooperation with large publishers. This includes such as the Boston Herald and Yahoo News on a variety of subjects. For more info, reach out to him at losangeles@ehlinelaw.com.

Works Cited:

How Google’s Work from Home Order is Likely Going to Become the Norm

Attorney Michael Ehline
Attorney Michael Ehline

Google Setting The Trend, But You May Choose Which Path To Take

Google recently announced a profound shift in its working environment due to the COVID crisis. The tech giant announced that it would have almost all of its employees work from home through the rest of the year and into 2021. The news was on the one hand expected.

Google pioneered much of the work from home tech and precedents we’ve seen over the last four months. On the other hand, I can say that I was at least a little surprised that the company extended the work from home order for that long. It also sets a bar that other tech companies and the economy in general may work towards.

I saw an article on CNN that described the new policy as a “game changer.”

The total plan is to keep almost all employees at home for another year. Furthermore, it may provide valuable changes for several reasons. On the one hand, it shows a concern for the safety of the employees at Google. Considering the tech giant received negative press recently due to their alleged hostile work environment, this is a welcome change.

On the other hand, such a policy may make it so that the company will never return to a traditional office. Sure, the company will still have an address. Someone will have to open the mail and get thing arranged. However, for the large majority of employees, don’t be surprised if there is a permanent sea change in how they are asked to perform their jobs.

About the Author.

Michael Ehline is a leading personal injury and technology affairs attorney in the greater Los Angeles area. Living just several hours from some of the hottest tech companies in the world, I’ve learned a lot about how they operate and how the precedents they set now are often the dominant trends of tomorrow. By keeping track of such paths, I’m hoping to provide a better look at why Google made the decision they did and the likely effect on the workplace of tomorrow. For more info or to contact me, reach out at losangeles@ehlinelaw.com.

Effects on the Tech Sector

It might not seem as obvious looking at this in July 2020, but this could be a crucial series of changes for the tech sector, outside of Google. Google may be the flagship, but it’s also the industry’s precedent machine. Due to its sheer size and influence, other tech companies simply follow whether they choose to or not. And in this case, coupled with the pandemic, there may not be much of a choice.

This could have profound effects for the industry in general. If the largest, richest of the tech companies decides that its employees don’t need to go in anymore, why should yours? Firstly due to the risk of the disease. Second for the cost of the office. Third for the pace of the employees. What happens if the experiment works? There may be a bevy of tech employees who find that they work better from home. Happier employees and better results could propel Google into yet another decade of dominance.

And there would likely be a large shift in the means around the current tech sector in Silicon Valley. So much of the greater San Francisco / Bay Area’s economy and way of life is centered around the whims of major tech companies. What happens when those tech companies downsize from needing a campus or skyscraper down to a six room office?

What happens when the demand for utilities falls dramatically? Are there effects from thousands of tech employees realizing they no longer need to live within an hour’s commut of those offices?

A Ripple Effect

As you can probably tell, there is a strong chance that the bubble would burst in and around the greater San Francisco area. The full effects of the Coronavirus are still yet to be seen. However, the early results seem to show a catastrophic economic decline. The number of houses in the Bay Area sold fell by half year over year (just so far.)

The result is palpable so far. Just imagine if tens of thousands of educated, young, well paid people decide to pick up stakes and leave. One of the major underpinnings of the modern economy of one of our nation’s top hotspots is now gone.

The Effect in the Wider Workforce

As I noted above, there are significant effects well beyond the tech sector. Since Google is setting a large precedent, expect other industries to follow as well. Many of them use Google products and are very well aware of the steps that the search engine giant is taking.

That being said, Google is also pioneering the further tech needed to work from home no matter what the industry is. By using and expanding such tech as the Google office suite, Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts), Google Classroom, and more the company is setting itself up as the indispensable man in the room.

It will likely affect the legal field, as well. We’ve already made some major changes to the way our office works. This includes the role of consultation for our prospective clients. But that is only one piece of many in how a modern law office operates. By being able to work remotely, our attorneys were ahead of the curve dealing with the effects of the Coronavirus.

Furthermore, our experience working within the courts also allowed us to handle what happened next. Many courtrooms now operate virtually, holding their hearings on Zoom. This is very different from what we’ve seen in the past.

That all being said, Google is likely going to usher in a very different workplace over the coming decade compared to what were are used to. In many ways, it should be easier without the commute or the same fixed schedule. However, as we’re likely going to discover, there will be many unintended consequences.

Works Cited

CNN, Why Google’s new WFH plan is a game changer
San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area home sales fall by half in May vs. last year; prices off 2.5%

Federal Internet Search Bill Violates the Bill of Rights

Worst of Both Worlds?

In the years following the passage of the Patriot Act, the rationale behind the invasions of privacy receded. A new generation became more concerned about their personal rights. In addition, a better understanding of the 4th Amendment empowered attorneys concerned about the Bill of Rights protections. Now a provision in a recently passed bill flips many of these concerns with a flick of a pen.

Understanding the Law.

As if the Bill of Rights was not straightforward enough, there is ample evidence against mass internet surveillance. Unfortunately, the Obama Admin expanded the original Patriot Act provisions. Now that much of the Patriot Act sunsetted, Congress restored some of the overreaches in the USA Freedom Act. The bill restored powers lapsed in March from Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

This is a topic of particular interest to me. Being involved in civil rights issues in Los Angeles gave me a keen eye for government overreach. The original premise of the Patriot Act was not as well understood in the early days of the internet. Combined with the pressure from the September 11th attacks, Congress handed spy agencies far too much power. Now, nearly 20 years later there is no excuse. The government exists to protect rights, not to trample them.

Next Steps:

The next steps in privacy go beyond the halls of Congress. It is up to each American to protect their data, including using end to end encryption. Unfortunately, the federal government wants to get around that as well. Furthermore, our modern understanding of warrantless surveillance means more vigilance during elections. Often, both Democrats and Republicans seek such laws when elected. Only by electing liberty-minded individuals can there be any restraint on the growth of federal power.

For more info, including updates, keep reading this site. In addition, I’ll update with new articles as the situation evolves.

How Twitter May be Trampling Trump’s Civil Rights

A Large Overstep?

Honest AbeTwitter reached deep into its political bias this week. Following assertions by President Trump that voting by mail could case massive voter fraud, the company responded. Twitter placed an instant “fact check” on his Tweet, claiming otherwise. This led to a sharp and deepening political firestorm. The President and his allies fought back– seeking a means to punish the web giant.

Conservatives Often Censored?

Most definitely, the left runs and shapes social media. And this isn’t an issue that is solitary to Donald Trump. Over the years, conservative accounts complained of regular bias by Twitter. Complaints included that leftist employees refused to verify conservative leaning user accounts, which hurts the user and account holder. Most of all, it is obvious the platform applies a double standard in enforcement of its Big Brother policies.

Furthermore, users are shadowbanned– meaning their account will seem open but will remain unseen by other users. Google pioneered this white listing technique. The idea is to filter the search results of businesses and people who do not support left wing viewpoints. And there is a lot of evidence that Google employees have baked this into their algorithm with tacit approval.

From my experience watching Twitter and the conservative movement– they certainly have a point.

A Terrible Precedent?

Democrats have been pushing hard against verifying the legitimacy of votes ever since the flood of undocumented aliens allowed under the Obama Administration into the USA. The idea is to say there is no proof of voter fraud, while simultaneously refusing to pass a voter ID law to confirm if the person voting is REALLY the person voting. It all started after a tweet this week discussing voting by mail.

Twitter’s leftist leaning fact checkers responded with an unprecedented move. It added a “fact check” to the bottom of his tweet.

According to the New York Times, these actions led Trump’s supporters to blast Twitter. There are many questions still unanswered:

  • Will Twitter apply the same to all politicians? Many mainstream media “fact-checkers” tend to support one side over another– usually Democrats.
  • How will this affect the 2020 election? Is Twitter stepping in to give Joe Biden a hand?
  • Are Donald Trump’s rights being violated? That is more of a question for the courts– but there is one key element. If Twitter does not apply the standard equally, then he could have a strong case.
  • What will be the response from lawmakers? Republicans are already pushing for more regulation of Twitter after the incident. Don’t be surprised if they get legislation through the Senate– only to have it blocked in the House.

Considering the stakes of the election, Twitter’s actions are chilling. They also set a dangerous precedent for future actions against politicians–especially Republicans. We will cover the legal and political ramifications of these actions in the coming weeks and months.

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