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Afternoon Briefs: Supreme Court rules for religion; Ramsey Clark dies at 93

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SCOTUS blocks restrictions on religious meetings at homes during pandemic

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked California’s restrictions on religious meetings at homes during the COVID-19 crisis in a 5-4 vote Friday night. The state limits gatherings in homes to three households, including religious gatherings. The high court’s per curiam majority opinion said California treated some comparable secular activities more favorably than the home gatherings. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. dissented but did not join the dissenting opinion by Justice Elena Kagan. Her dissent was joined by the court’s two other liberal justices. (The New York Times, the Washington Post, the April 9 opinion via How Appealing)

Former AG Ramsey Clark dies at 93

Ramsey Clark, who was the U.S. attorney general in the Johnson administration, died Friday at age 93. Clark backed civil rights as attorney general and then went on to defend a “rogues’ gallery of accused terrorists and war criminals,” according to the Washington Post. Clark commented on his controversial clients in a November 2018 interview with the ABA Journal. “The worse the public perception, the more important the effective defense is,” Clark said. “That’s where you really measure whether our rights are applicable in the most hateful circumstances.” (The Washington Post, the New York Times)

Morgan Lewis sues Pierce Bainbridge over rent

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has filed a complaint in California court alleging that Pierce Bainbridge and its predecessor firm owe more than $436,000 in unpaid rent under a sublet agreement. The suit says Morgan Lewis sublet a floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Los Angeles to Pierce, Bainbridge, Beck, Price & Hecht in January 2019, but the successor firm, Pierce Bainbridge, stopped paying the full amount in April 2020. Pierce Bainbridge has seen the departure of several lawyers amid lawsuits for alleged unpaid loans. (Bloomberg Law, Law360, the April 2 complaint)

State elections commission general counsel faces child porn charges

Eric M. Lipman, general counsel for the Florida Elections Commission, has been arrested on 11 counts of child pornography. Lipman has been placed on administrative leave. The Leon County, Florida, sheriff’s office began to investigate after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Investigators found child porn in files sent to Lipman’s email account, an arrest report alleged. (The Tallahassee Democrat)

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