Afternoon Briefs: SCOTUS will consider cheerleader’s First Amendment case; former AG dies at 88
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Supreme Court asked to weigh in on student’s discipline over social media
At its first private conference after the holiday break, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this week whether to hear a case involving a former high school cheerleader who sent vulgar messages on Snapchat to about 250 friends. In Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the justices have been specifically asked to consider whether “Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which holds that public school officials may regulate speech that would materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school, applies to student speech that occurs off campus.” After the student was suspended from cheerleading for a year, she sued the school district and won in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Philadelphia. (The Aug. 28 petition, The New York Times)
Former US attorney general, Pennsylvania governor dies at 88
Richard “Dick” L. Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general and former Pennsylvania governor, died Dec. 31 at age 88. Thornburgh, who began his legal career with K&L Gates in 1959, was remembered by Jim Segerdahl, the firm’s global managing partner, as “a giant in the legal world and in the realm of public service.” He joined the Department of Justice as the U.S. attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania in 1969 and later led its criminal division. After serving as a two-term governor, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the U.S. attorney general. He was then retained by President George H.W. Bush. In a Jan. 2 statement, Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said, “Gov. Thornburgh was widely respected as a brilliant lawyer, a true patriot and a model leader.” (The Washington Post, Law.com)
Judge dismisses bias suit against Quinn Emanuel after ex-associate refuses to abide by deadlines
A federal judge has dismissed a former associate’s employment discrimination lawsuit against Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, citing a series of missed deadlines, including the Nov. 27 due date for a response to the law firm’s motion to dismiss her case. Crystal Nwaneri alleged in her 2019 lawsuit that she was fired from the firm three years earlier in retaliation for raising concerns about its “frat-house atmosphere.” Quinn Emanuel said Nwaneri was fired for poor performance. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden of the District of Columbia wrote that “Nwaneri’s habitual lack of diligence and refusal to abide by this court’s deadlines warrants dismissal.” (The Dec. 30 memorandum opinion, Law.com)