News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Bill Gates Sr. dies at 94; federal judiciary seeks $500M for better security

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Bill Gates Sr.

Bill Gates Sr. was a recipient of the 2009 ABA Medal.

Bill Gates Sr., lawyer and ABA Medal winner, dies at 94

Lawyer and 2009 ABA Medal winner Bill Gates Sr. has died at age 94. Gates was a name partner at K&L Gates and a co-chair at the foundation established by his son, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. When he was awarded the ABA Medal, Gates Sr. was praised as “a ‘lawyer’s lawyer’ among his colleagues, a civic force in his native Seattle area and a benevolent friend to disadvantaged people around the world.” (The New York Times,, K&L Gates press release)

Federal judiciary seeks $500M for security upgrades

The U.S. Judicial Conference is asking Congress for $500 million to improve security at federal courthouses and the homes of federal judges. Money is sought to hire 1,000 additional deputy U.S. marshals to upgrade security systems and to replace video surveillance systems at courthouses. The request follows the shooting death of the son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas of the District of New Jersey. (Law360, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Sept. 9 press release, U.S. Judicial Conference Sept. 4 letter)

State will appeal decision striking down coronavirus restrictions

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the state will appeal a federal judge’s decision striking down restrictions designed to restrict the spread of COVID-19. U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV of the Western District of Pennsylvania, an appointee of President Donald Trump, said a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 25 people violates the First Amendment. He also said orders shutting down “non-life-sustaining” businesses and directing residents to stay home violate the due process and equal protection clauses. The shutdown and stay-at-home orders have since been suspended. (NPR, the Sept. 14 decision)

Resolution will support children’s environmental rights

Members of Congress will introduce a resolution next week that recognizes children’s environmental rights. The resolution supports the principles of Juliana v. United States, a lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 children seeking to force the federal government to create a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Our Children’s Trust press release and fact sheet)

Judge won’t toss nurse’s lawsuit alleging firing over COVID-19 concerns

A judge in Cook County, Illinois, has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by a nurse who said she was fired from Northwestern Memorial Hospital after warning co-workers about ineffective face masks. The Sept. 15 ruling by Judge Patricia O’Brien Sheahan dismissed claims against some defendants but allowed a retaliatory discharge claim against Northwestern Memorial Hospital. A press release said the decision favoring nurse Lauri Mazurkiewicz is the nation’s first litigated COVID-19 retaliation case. (Sheahan’s ruling)

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