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Afternoon Briefs: State chief justices on racial inequality; court worker fired for tearing down signs in video

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State high courts, chief justices issue racial injustice statements

A growing number of state chief justices are issuing public statements following the death of George Floyd. Many of the statements deal with the legal system’s role in perpetuating racial inequality. “We are part of the problem,” wrote Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson of the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Washington Supreme Court was unanimous in its comment. “As judges, we must recognize the role we have played in devaluing black lives,” the court justices wrote. Nineteen courts, chief judges and chief justices had issued statements listed by the National Center for State Courts as of June 18. (The New York Times, National Center for State Courts list)

Court employee fired after tearing down Black Lives Matters signs in video

A family courts employee in Philadelphia has been fired after a video showed him tearing down Black Lives Matter signs and telling a woman that black lives don’t matter to him. The employee, 61-year-old Michael Henkel, was a writ-server supervisor. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Legal Intelligencer)

Minority women are more dissatisfied with law school, survey finds

Thirty-one percent of female minority law students say they seriously considered leaving law school, according to a survey of more than 4,000 law students from 46 U.S. law schools. That compares to 26% of men of color who seriously considered leaving, 24% of white women and 22% of white men. Minority women also had a more negative view of race relations on campus. Only 40% of the female minorities gave a positive rating to race relations at their schools, compared to a 70% positive rating by white men, 59% positive rating by men of color, and 58% positive rating by white women. The study was a joint effort of the NALP Foundation and the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas. (, the study)

Employers can’t require antibody tests for COVID-19, EEOC says

Requiring employees to take COVID-19 antibody tests before being allowed to return to work is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to guidance released Wednesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency noted that antibody tests are different than tests to determine whether someone has an active case of COVID-19, which are permissible under the ADA. (Law360, EEOC guidance)

Cellino & Barnes partners reach breakup deal

The name partners with New York personal injury firm Cellino & Barnes have reached a confidential agreement to wind down the firm. The partners will form two separate firms: Cellino Law and the Barnes Firm. It’s unknown who gets the phone number 800-888-8888. (Law360, WKBW, the New York Post)

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