Social Media Travel Alert: There’s No First Amendment in the EU

In America, we pride ourselves on our freedom of speech, and readily point to how much we support the First Amendment, even when it protects speech we don't like, like racist, sexist, or fascist ideas.
But the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are American creations, and their protections don't follow us as we travel. And Europe isn't so welcoming to hate speech. Therefore the First Amendment may not apply to our social media speech, if that speech is appearing on platforms in the European Union.
European Regulation
In 2008, the European Union passed legislation outlawing hate speech — defined broadly as speech advocating genocide or inciting hatred against an identifiable group — and allowed individual countries to implement statutes and procedures to prosecute illegal hate speech. In May 2016, in response to terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube, unveiled a new code of conduct to remove hate speech in less than 24 hou..

What Can I Do If My Landlord Breaks a Lease Agreement?

Just like any other contract, a lease agreement binds both parties, landlord and tenant, to abide by its terms. And, just like any other contract, a lease agreement can be broken. And while most of us are familiar with the repercussions of tenants breaking a lease — late fees, loss of security deposit, eviction, etc. — what recourse does a tenant have if it's the landlord violating the terms of a lease agreement?
Here's a look:
Landlord Termination
A landlord can terminate a lease agreement for a valid reason, like if the tenant fails to pay rent, violates a clause in the lease or rental agreement, or violates some other responsibility imposed by law. And if that's the case, the landlord must provide written notice of the termination and the reason, and may give the tenant an opportunity to pay rent or otherwise “cure” the violation. The exact kind of notice required and the timing can vary from state to state, and even city to city.
But a landlord's options f..

Trump Waives Jones Act: What Is It, What Does It Mean for Puerto Rico?

It took President Trump six days to address the devastation that Hurricane Maria wreaked on Puerto Rico, a United States territory. And even then, the messages have been mixed. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security said it did not expect to waive the Jones Act, a century-old regulation that limits shipping into Puerto Rico to U.S. flagged vessels. On Thursday, the Trump administration reversed course, temporarily waiving the Jones Act, ostensibly in an effort to get more aid to the island.
But how does the Jones Act really work? And will waiving it work to get more humanitarian aid to people in need?
Keeping up With the Jones Act
America's relationship with Puerto Rico has always been a bit complicated, ever since the former Spanish colony was ceded to the U.S. following the Spanish-American war in 1898. While the commonwealth has its own constitution, bicameral legislature, chief executive, and judiciary, Puerto Rico ultimately draws its authority from the consent of..

Lying About Child Custody: What Are the Consequences?

There's no doubt that child custody determinations can be hotly contested battles between parents. So it's probably not surprising that not all parents play by the rules. Even though it may come from a place of love and caring for the child, some parents have been known to stretch the truth or lie during child custody hearings or on court documents in order to gain or maintain custody.
Parents have been known to fib about a child's proximity to friends and family, dissemble about their own drinking or drug use, and even falsify allegations of child abuse. Needless to say, you should never lie about child custody. And if you or your ex-spouse do, here's what can happen.
Custodial Appeal
Child custody decisions are always subject to modification if there is a significant change in circumstances. And the discovery of falsifying testimony or documents during custody determinations could qualify as such a change. In addition, parents can appeal a child custody ruling ..

DHS Looks to Collect Social Media Info for All Immigrants

A new rule will allow the Department of Homeland Security to gather social media information for immigrants, including “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.” While this might seem like a normal update to the vetting process for incoming visitors or visa applications, the rule would reportedly also apply to people who have already obtained a green card or completed the naturalization process.
Additionally, the new rule could make U.S. citizens' conversations with immigrants on social media subject to government surveillance. Here's a look.
Update Your Status
Buzzfeed first reported on the new rule, which was published in the Federal Register last week, and will go into effect October 18. DHS at that point will expand the categories of information it collects under its Alien File, Index, and National File Tracking System of Records to include “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search res..

Should I Have an Annual Legal Checkup With a Lawyer?

We know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and even then, we know regular checkups with our doctor are healthy. We go to the dentist every six months (or at least we should) to make sure our teeth are clean and we don't have cavities. It's easy to understand the value of preventative medicine, but what about preventative legal advice.
Too often, we wait until a crisis before talking to an attorney, and, in many cases, by then it might be too late. Instead, try to avert a legal crisis by having an annual checkup with your lawyer.
Don't DIY
With a treasure trove of information and forms on the internet, it's easy to think we can handle any legal issue ourselves. But an essential part of wisdom is knowing what you don't know, and knowing that there are some legal issues that absolutely require the assistance of an attorney. And while you may be thinking that you're not facing any of these issues right now, remember an experienced lawyer can not only get..

ACLU: Michigan Adoption Agencies Discriminating Against Same-Sex Couples

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services, claiming the agency allows state-contracted and taxpayer-funded child placement agencies to use religious objections as a way to discriminate against qualified families based on their sexual orientation. The suit was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied the opportunity to adopt or foster children because of agencies' religious objections, as well as one woman who was in Michigan's foster care system as a teenager.
All are objecting to Michigan allocating taxpayer funds to adoption and foster services that discriminate against qualified parents and homes.
Same-Sex Discrimination
While the lawsuit is clear that it is not trying to challenge the right of any private agency to practice its religion, it contends that practice can't include taking taxpayer money and then discriminating based on religious beliefs:
DHHS has..