With a presidential election coming up next week, there is a lot going on both in Georgia and in the country more broadly. That said, here are some of this week’s significant developments in legal news. Some you have definitely heard about, and others you may have missed.
Let’s start with the most significant event. On Monday, October 26, 2020, the Senate confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. This makes her President Trump’s third appointee to the highest court in the country, and her confirmation gives the Supreme Court a 6-3 conservative majority. Read more at NPR.
A new study published this week recommends that bar exams, as they currently are, may not be the best way to determine if a person is competent to practice law. The study, entitled Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence, which you can read here, recommends reducing reliance on multiple-choice questions, or at least giving exam-takers more time to complete them. It also recommends that applicants be judged based on performance in clinical assessments.
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google for alleged violations of U.S. antitrust laws. The complaint alleges a number of abuses, including entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid preinstallation of competing search services (such as Yahoo or Bing). The lawsuit follows a report out of the House Judiciary Committee detailing anticompetitive business practices by some of the United States’ top tech firms, including Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple. The full report can be found here (a warning: it’s a doozy), or you can read CNBC’s breakdown.
This is a few weeks old, but it’s significant nonetheless, especially for Georgia attorneys and clients. Georgia courts will resume jury trials, after a blanket suspension issued back in March of 2020 put all jury trial cases on hold. The order does not mandate that trials resume, but it gives judges the discretion to resume them “if that can be done safely and in accordance with a final jury trial plan.” It is likely that COVID safety precautions, such as mask mandates, will remain in place. Read 11 Alive’s reporting on the subject.
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