News

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  • 26 Jul 2016 10:40 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    The Lavender Law Conference is just around the corner! This year, the annual conference hosted by the National LGBT Bar Association is in DC from August 4-6. We hope to see you there!

    We are still seeking additional donations for our Lavender Law scholarship! If your company has not already done so, please make a contribution to help Bay Area LGBT law students attend Lavender Law.  Please send your check to BALIF with “Lavender Law” in the memo line, at BALIF, P.O. Box 193383, San Francisco, CA 94119.

  • 12 Jul 2016 9:39 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV) are pleased to announce Ian Barber, a rising 2L at Hastings, as their 2016 BALIF/ABAPA-SV Joint Scholarship recipient.  Out of many applicants who submitted applications by 06/13/16, Ian was selected to receive the one $3,000 scholarship. Ian's commitment to LGBT representation and helping asylum seekers find safety in the United States were some of the determining factors leading to his selection.  Congratulations, Ian!

  • 12 Jun 2016 4:35 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    BALIF extends outrage and sorrow for the victims of the Orlando massacre, for their families and friends, and for queer and people of color all across the world who remain the target of hate and homophobia.

    Please join us at 8:00pm tonight at Harvey Milk Plaza for a vigil for the victims in Orlando. And during this Pride month and beyond, please continue marching and demanding justice and change. We are stronger than hate.

  • 20 Apr 2016 3:49 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)


    BALIF would like to congratulate the following attorneys and law students who were elected to the 2016-2017 BALIF Board:

    Sarah Nicole Davis
    Lauren Putsch
    Peter Catalanotti
    Nick Clements
    Stan Sarkisov
    Alex Touma
    Ashley Pellouchoud

    Law Student Representatives:

    Stephan Ferris
    Sam Potts

  • 08 Mar 2016 5:49 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release
    Date
    : March 8, 2016
    Contact:  John Unruh and Jessica Bogo at Chair@balif.org

    Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) Joins Bar Associations Around California and California State Bar President, David Pasternak to Call on President Obama and Senate to Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

    San Francisco, CA – Today, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) joined bar associations from across the state of California to send a letter to President Barack Obama and Senate leaders urging them to heed their constitutional duty to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. The bar associations, representing over 30,000 lawyers throughout the state, called on the president to quickly nominate a qualified candidate to the Supreme Court, and for the Senate to consider that nominee without delay. In addition to BALIF, the signatories to the letter include the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Alameda Country Bar Association, the Lake County Bar Association, the Yolo County Bar Association, and over a dozen other statewide and local bar associations.  California State Bar President David Pasternak also signed on to the letter in his individual capacity.

    Commenting on the decision to join forces with other bar associations in this effort, BALIF Co-Chair Jessica Bogo said, “BALIF stands with tens of thousands of California lawyers in calling on our nation’s elected officials to fulfill their constitutionally required duties to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.” BALIF is the nation's oldest and largest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the field of law.  BALIF’s decision to join in the letter was taken after a vote of the members of its governing board on March 4, 2016.

    In addressing the possibility that the nomination and confirmation process might be thwarted, the letter warns that “[t]he implications of this course of action would be significant, subjecting people in different regions of the country to different legal standards on matters of constitutional importance and leaving open the specter of an unresolved constitutional crisis.”

    The letter goes on to explain that “the framers placed in the hands of the executive and legislative branches of our government a duty to ensure that the third pillar of our democracy, our courts, would be protected from entanglement in partisan politics.” “While careful evaluation and reasoned debate regarding the qualifications of the nominee are central to the Senate’s role to advise and consent, it would undermine the rule of law and risk nullifying the Supreme Court’s power to serve its constitutional role as arbiter of disputes, were the confirmation process to be delayed until a new president is inaugurated.”

    With the issuance of this letter, bar associations representing the two most populous cities in the United States, New York and Los Angeles, have now called on the Senate to consider a nominee to the Supreme Court without delay. The California letter comes on the heels of similar calls by the New York State and New York City Bars  respectfully requesting the Senate to reconsider its refusal to consider a nominee put forward by the president. Constitutional law scholars at universities around the country have also weighed in via a joint statement, pointing out that the Constitution “has no exception for election years.”

    The letter signed by the California bar associations ends, “We ask that you carry out your constitutionally prescribed roles with full fealty to the oaths you have taken so that our Supreme Court is returned to its full membership.”

    ###

  • 08 Mar 2016 4:55 PM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    On March 4, 2016, BALIF joined the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and a coalition of other organizations in an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas. The case concerns Texas’s challenge to President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

    NQAPIA’s brief informs the U.S. Supreme Court of the special concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders (API). An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share are API.

    According to Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, “The Supreme Court is extremely supportive of LGBT people, and we aim to show how immigration laws and policies have a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people.” He continued, “We also lift up the voices of Asian Pacific Islanders to demonstrate the ethnic diversity of undocumented immigrants.”

    Julie Wilensky, chair of BALIF’s Amicus Committee Chair, said, “Immigrants rights are LGBT rights, and BALIF is proud to stand with NQAPIA. The brief vividly illustrates how the expanded immigration programs protect LGBT immigrant families, especially APIs, from harassment, discrimination and hardship.” 

    Click here to read the brief.

    Amici are represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

  • 10 Feb 2016 10:11 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Public Justice, a national public interest law firm dedicated to pursuing high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, protect the Earth’s sustainability, and challenge predatory corporate conduct and government abuses, seeks to hire a law school graduate to serve as a Fellow for two years in either its Washington, D.C. headquarters or its Oakland, California office.  The Fellow will help develop and litigate Public Justice’s cases.  The position will start in the fall of 2016. 

    Click here for more details!

  • 05 Jan 2016 9:30 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    On January 4, 2016, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and a coalition of 13 other LGBT, racial justice, and health equity organizations filed an amicus brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down draconian restrictions on abortion providers enacted by the State of Texas in 2013 which, if upheld, would lead to the closing of most abortion clinics in the state. The brief urges the Court to carefully scrutinize the state’s asserted justification for the law, just as the Court has done with other laws that infringe upon fundamental freedoms. The State of Texas has argued that the law protects the health of women seeking abortion, but the evidence at trial showed just the opposite. In fact, medical organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association have explained that the restrictions imposed by the new law are medically unnecessary and endanger, rather than advance, women’s health.

    In addition to BALIF, the organizations filing the brief are the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the Equal Justice Society, the National Black Justice Coalition, the Family Equality Council, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, Equality Federation, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, Immigration Equality, the National Health Law Program, and Movement Advancement Project.

    U.S. history is replete with attempts to use pseudo-science and unsupported health-related justifications to exclude individuals and groups from the full protection of essential constitutional liberties, including laws barring interracial marriage, excluding women from certain professions, permitting the forced sterilization of those deemed “inferior,” and criminalizing and discriminating against LGBT people. BALIF and its fellow amici urge the Court to remember this history and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to look carefully at the State’s asserted justifications for restricting women’s fundamental right to reproductive autonomy. 

    “The brief powerfully reminds us of the history of using empirically indefensible social science to justify discrimination against vulnerable groups," said Julie Wilensky, chair of BALIF’s Amicus Committee. “With this history in mind, it is especially important for the Court to meaningfully review the public health rationales Texas has asserted here."

    BALIF and the other amici are represented by Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

    Click here to read the brief.

    Click to view a PDF of the press release.
  • 24 Nov 2015 10:23 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Dennis Nix, a treasured BALIF member and dear friend and neighbor, was killed early Sunday morning while driving his scooter home, in an apparent hit and run (SF Gate Article).

    If you would like to assist with plans for a celebration of Dennis's life, please email chair@balif.org.



  • 06 Oct 2015 9:56 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)

    Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal is the only legal aid office in the entire zip code, and they are doing something that's never been done before -- attempting to offer universal access to civil representation for everyone who lives in the zip code, regardless of issue. Currently, they only have two full-time attorneys on staff.  They were just selected by Google as one of the "10 most innovative nonprofits in the Bay Area". Google will be giving a half-million dollar grant to four of the ten organizations -- the four who get the most votes. You can vote for Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal here. 

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