Weekly Legal News 5/4/14

Some of the 55 colleges and universities facing federal investigation for their handling of sexual abuse allegations say they’re cooperating with the U.S. Education Department, though few are offering details about what information the agency is seeking. The Obama administration is seeking more openness about the issue of sexual violence on and around the nation’s campuses. On Thursday, the Education Department revealed its list of schools facing investigations that were started after complaints were filed with its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) or as part of a review to see whether the schools were complying with Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination at institutions receiving federal funds. It is the same law that guarantees girls and women equal access to sports, but it also regulates institutions’ handling of sexual violence and increasingly is being used by victims who say their schools failed to protect them. The government emphasized the list was about investigations of complaints, not judgments. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said there was “absolutely zero presumption” of guilt.


In an unforgiving job market, graduates of top-ranked law schools have had a far easier time landing full-time employment than their peers from the lower ranks. A Law Blog analysis of the latest American Bar Association employment data paired with the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings suggests the gulf between the top 50 schools and the rest of the bunch is huge. The unemployment rate for graduates from the top 50 is more than 60% lower than the unemployment rate for everybody else. About 5% of class of 2013 graduates from a top 50 school were still looking for work in February, about nine months after spring 2013 graduation. Meanwhile, 14% of graduates of schools below the top 50 were searching for a job.

A 6-to-2 decision by the Supreme Court upheld an Environmental Protection Agency rule that regulates the pollution that Rust Belt and Appalachian states send downwind to East Coast states, mostly by burning coal to generate electricity.The gases at issue here are nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides, carried on prevailing winds from 27 midwestern states to places like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. A study of six U.S. cities from 1974 to 2009 estimated that about 34,000 premature deaths a year could be prevented by reducing annual levels of particle pollution. Chronic exposure to particle pollution has been linked to slowed lung function growth in children and teenagers; significant damage to the small airways of the lungs; increased risk of dying from lung cancer; increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and increased risk of lower birth weight and infant mortality.