News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Trump faces suit over rape denial; Biden opposes SCOTUS term limits

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump in 2019. Photo from

Trump can be personally sued over rape denial

A federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday refused to substitute the federal government as the defendant in a defamation suit filed against President Donald Trump by a woman who accused him of rape. The plaintiff, journalist E. Jean Carroll, had alleged that Trump defamed her when he denied her rape claim. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York said he couldn’t make the substitution because Trump wasn’t an employee of the government, and his allegedly defamatory statements weren’t in the scope of his employment. If Kaplan had allowed the substitution, the government likely could have ended the case by invoking sovereign immunity. (The Washington Post, the New York Times, Politico, the Oct. 27 decision)

Biden opposes SCOTUS term limits, mentions rotations

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, said Monday he opposes term limits for U.S. Supreme Court justices. “It’s a lifetime appointment. I’m not going to try to change that at all,” Biden told reporters. Biden hasn’t said whether he would support adding more justices to the Supreme Court. Instead, he has pledged to appoint a bipartisan commission to consider reforms. “There’s some literature among constitutional scholars about the possibility of going from one court to another court and not always staying on the Supreme Court. But I have made no judgment,” Biden said. (The Hill, Fox News)

California Supreme Court announces new commission focused on bar exam

A commission to develop bar exam recommendations was approved Monday by the California Supreme Court. Items that the commission will consider include adopting alternative or additional testing to ensure minimum competence and whether the bar exam should be administered in person or online. Nominations for the commission will be collected by the state bar in November and submitted to the state supreme court. Appointments are expected to be made by the end of the year, according to a news release. (The Oct. 26 news release)

BigLaw firm reportedly conducts stealth layoffs

Kirkland & Ellis is reportedly laying off several staff members without saying anything publicly about the moves, according to sources who spoke with Above the Law. One tipster said more than 50 people had been let go. Kirkland did not respond to Above the Law’s requests for confirmation. (Above the Law)

Federal appeals judge Juan Torruella dies

Judge Juan Torruella of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Boston has died at age 87. Torruella was the first Puerto Rican to serve on a federal appeals court, according to the Associated Press. (The Associated Press, 1st Circuit announcement)

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