The German fashion firm Hugo Boss apologises for its maltreatment of forced workers during World War II when it supplied the Nazi regime with uniforms.
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Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger are the latest fashion companies to announce their own Android Wear 2.0 watches at Baselworld 2017. The news continues the trend we’ve been seeing of fashion brands...
Fur Free Alliance
GERMANY, 6 JULY 2015 –The Fur Free Alliance praises luxury brand Hugo Boss for phasing out all real animal fur. The progressive decision was recently announced in the HUGO BOSS Sustainability Report 2014 and has been an issue in discussions between HUGO BOSS and the Fur Free Alliance. HUGO BOSS will be dropping all fur, including rabbit
by Mark Joseph Stern @ Slate Articles
Fri Sep 08 14:03:49 PDT 2017
On Thursday afternoon, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Civil Rights Commission, a constitutional challenge to LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws. The DOJ urged the Supreme Court to rule that laws barring businesses from refusing to serve gay couples may violate the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee. Its brief is an exercise in cynical dishonesty, one that’s difficult to read as anything less than politicized bigotry dressed up in inane legalese.
Masterpiece Cakeshop centers around a Colorado statute that prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations. In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips to make them a wedding cake. Phillips refused, explaining that he did not sell cakes to same-sex couples. Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which ordered Phillips to stop discriminating against gay people. Phillips appealed, alleging that the commission’s decision violated his First Amendment rights. The Colorado courts sided with the commission, but in June, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review the case.
Phillips alleges that Colorado is violating both his right to free speech and his right to free exercise of religion. The latter claim is frivolous: For decades, the Supreme Court has held that a neutral law of general applicability does not run afoul of the First Amendment if it imposes incidental burdens on religious freedom. The former claim should be frivolous, too: Courts have long assumed that states have an overriding interest in eradicating discrimination, and may require businesses to treat all customers equally without violating freedom of expression. But in recent years, anti-gay activist groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom have asserted that nondiscrimination laws infringe on free speech when they are used to protect same-sex couples.
ADF is representing Phillips, which is no surprise: It opposes LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws and has also argued for the criminalization of homosexuality and the mandatory sterilization of transgender people. Masterpiece Cakeshop is just another chapter in its long-standing effort to strip LGBTQ people of all legal protections.
It’s more shocking that the Justice Department is weighing in on this case. The DOJ’s involvement is utterly gratuitous, likely a political ploy designed to shore up support among President Donald Trump’s anti-LGBTQ base. Indeed, a close reading of the DOJ’s brief reveals that it makes no sense as anything other than partisan pandering. If its goal is to persuade the court, it will likely backfire: The brief’s dismissive attitude toward the dignity of same-sex couples will certainly alienate Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote will be necessary for ADF to triumph.
The DOJ’s basic argument is twofold. First, it says that baking a cake in exchange for money is “expressive conduct” and “association” that raises First Amendment concerns, and a state’s interest in protecting gay residents is not strong enough to justify “compelling” this “creative process” for same-sex couples. Put differently, Phillips doesn’t want to create a cake for a same-sex couple or to be associated with that couple’s wedding, and the First Amendment protects his right not to do so.
Even if we assume that baking a cake involves genuinely expressive conduct and association under the First Amendment—a highly contestable supposition—there’s a huge flaw in this logic. The Supreme Court has never held that for-profit businesses have a free speech right to discriminate against anybody. And for good reason: Carving out a First Amendment exception to nondiscrimination laws would blow a hole through the modern civil rights regime, fatally undermining legal protections for all minority groups.
Nondiscrimination laws, after all, regulate many forms of expression. Racist restaurateurs cannot put up a sign that reads “no blacks allowed.” Sexist bosses cannot make crude comments about women. Anti-Semitic professional photographers cannot refuse to shoot a bar mitzvah. The First Amendment protects freedom of association, but employers cannot refuse to associate with racial, religious, or sexual minorities. Private organizations like the Boy Scouts may have a constitutional right to discriminate against groups they dislike. For-profit businesses, though, must open their doors to everyone.
There is a principled libertarian argument to be made that nondiscrimination laws should not supersede businesses’ free speech rights. Barry Goldwater deployed this reasoning to explain his vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, insisting that the government should not force businesses to associate with certain people. But the courts have never adopted this argument, and the DOJ does not make it. Instead, the agency attempts to carve out a single exception to civil rights law to permit discrimination against same-sex couples.
Why? Homophobia, the brief asserts, is not as bad as racism. To bolster this claim, the brief cites a portion of Obergefell v. Hodges which states that “[m]any who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises.”
The brief conveniently excludes the remainder of this passage, probably because it contradicts the very argument the DOJ is attempting to make. Obergefell continues:
But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied. Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.
Ironically, were the court to adopt the DOJ’s position, it would inflict the kind of harm that Obergefell forbade, demeaning same-sex couples by subjecting them to discriminatory rules.
Even worse, the brief does not explain why homophobia deserves special respect under the law. The Supreme Court has said that homosexuality is immutable, like race. Why, then, should animus toward same-sex couples be treated differently from animus toward interracial couples? And what about religious bigotry? Can a devout baker refuse to sell a cake to an interfaith couple, and can an atheist one say a Christian can’t buy cupcakes for a christening? Can a sexist baker refuse to serve a female customer? What if his misogyny is derived from religion? And why stop at a cake? Shouldn’t the preparation of other foods qualify as expressive conduct, too? Doesn’t every good or service involve some measure of expressive conduct or association that the First Amendment could theoretically protect?
In its brief, the DOJ implicitly raises all of these questions without answering them because it can’t answer them—not honestly, at least. The reality is that the courts cannot, with any logical coherence or consistency, deny civil rights protections to some groups but not others. Either nondiscrimination laws are constitutional or they aren’t. The First Amendment does not grant greater rights to homophobic bakers than racist or sexist ones. Plenty of bigoted business owners wish they could assert a constitutional privilege not to associate with specific groups. If the courts open the door to one, they’ll open the door to all. Shopkeepers do not have a special right to turn away gays from their stores.
The brief strives to avoid this problem because it is, at bottom, a political document. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently gave a speech to ADF thanking the organization for its “important work” defending “religious liberty.” Through Sessions, President Trump is discharging his obligation to appease the bigots in his base. The DOJ’s efforts, however, may prove counterproductive. This brief will delight the court’s reactionaries who favor religious supremacy and disdain gay rights. But it can only estrange Kennedy—who notably, has allowed an LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy to trump a First Amendment claim in the past. Kennedy is always eager to protect the “equal dignity” of same-sex couples; the DOJ now seeks to undermine it. The Trump administration might score political points with this brief, but it won’t win enough votes at the court.
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by Dahlia Lithwick @ Slate Articles
Fri Sep 08 13:01:45 PDT 2017
On Tuesday evening, in keeping with the finest traditions of the Trump administration’s legal team, the president’s special counsel sent off a string of expletive-laden emails to a total stranger. It was like Groundhog Day for lawyers with huge egos and seemingly no self-control. Earlier this summer, Marc Kasowitz, then the lead lawyer for Trump’s outside legal team, upped his ethical lapse game when he issued an obscenity-laden late-night rant at a random email correspondent. Kasowitz’s threats included the memorable phrase: “Watch your back, bitch.” Kasowitz apologized, blamed his late hours, and eventually saw his role on Trump’s legal team diminished. That’s when the notably named Ty Cobb stepped in as lead lawyer and White House special counsel.
But—as if it is now a prong in any Trump lawyer’s hazing regime—we have since learned that Cobb has also engaged in protracted, nasty email battles. As Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider reported on Wednesday, Trump’s lawyer went several rounds with Jeff Jetton, a citizen-journalist and celebrated D.C. restaurateur who’s made a name for himself by befriending strange characters in Trump’s orbit and occasionally scooping the rest of the press corps with information on Trump-Russia connections. After Jetton sent an email to Trump’s attorney asking how he could stand to work for this president, Cobb wrote back from his official White House account, justifying his legal work in the Trump administration with claims that he and John Kelly were the “adults in the room.” “I walked away from $4 million annually to do this, had to sell my entire retirement account for major capital losses and lost a shitload to try to protect the third pillar of democracy,” he told Jetton. “Your hate I will never understand as an American. Hope you get help!”
Two comments: The first is that being a millionaire, it appears, is no longer just a prerequisite for a high-level Trump job. It’s now also the moral justification for it. Additionally, why is it that Trump and Trump alone never had to sell off retirement accounts or step away from his millions to work in the Trump administration?
In any event, Cobb went on to reject any Russia–Trump collusion allegations as “bullshit Russian bullshit that hurts us now and is totally political limiting Russian cooperation against NK.” He continued: “This shit is real and real time.”
In Lawyer Land, profanity-laced emails from White House attorneys to private citizens still manage to horrify. But in Trump Lawyer Land, we have come to dismiss such conduct as “it’s just Tuesday.” This latest outburst, though, also raised questions about whether any professional standards had been violated. Despite the ugliness of the entire episode, which was punctuated on Thursday with a new report from Bertrand that Cobb had joked about droning her, it seems as though Cobb broke no official rules of any relevant bar association.
The New York State Bar Association’s particularly stringent ethics rules, which would have applied to Kasowitz, include provisions that preclude attorneys from engaging “in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer” or anything “that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.” Another ethics rule prevents attorneys from doing anything to “embarrass or harm a third person.” But legal ethics experts at the time were mostly of the view that Kasowitz’s conduct didn’t seem likely to engender disciplinary action.
Since Cobb is not a member of the New York bar, he is subject to less rigid rules but still is formally bound by the American Bar Association’s rules of professional conduct, which prohibit lawyers from “engag[ing] in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment.” Georgetown University Law Center’s ethics expert David Luban explained to me that what Cobb wrote to Jetton was gross but not an ethics violation. “The only rules governing what a lawyer says (outside of court and official documents) to someone other than his client are the rule of confidentiality and the catch-all rule against ‘conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation,’ ” he told me over email. No confidences were revealed here and “Cobb’s emails don’t seem to be true-false statements except in the most innocuous sense,” so Cobb should be fine.
Later in the week, though, Cobb came closer to revealing some confidences but still appeared to be fine after being tricked by a British email prankster. Bertrand reported that the prankster, posing as White House social media director Dan Scavino, got Cobb to reveal a potential legal strategy in the Russia case: pin the blame on former campaign boss Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“I have great confidence there is nothing there implicating the President or the White House,” Cobb wrote in an email to the fake Scavino. “Manafort and Flynn have issues separate and apart from the WH that will cause the investigation to linger but am hoping we get a clean bill of health soon.”
Again, this conduct came closer to the line but still didn’t cross it. Luban notes, however, that the D.C. bar association “warns lawyers sending electronic communications to be scrupulous in insuring that they don’t inadvertently reveal confidences or secrets of the client.”
More from Luban:
The underlying principle is that confidentiality requires being really careful about what you reveal through electronic media. Now I think Cobb’s emails would violate this principle if he was representing Manafort or Flynn, or if he had reason to believe that Manafort or Flynn’s legal woes might rub off on the president. But they aren’t his clients, and it seems from the content that he is telling “Scavino” that Manafort and Flynn’s legal woes don’t tar the president, who is not implicated. That doesn’t reveal any confidences or secrets (i.e., privileged information or embarrassing information about his client). … Of course, it’s remarkably bad judgment for Cobb to be so profligate in his emails and careless about who he sends them to.
Of course, the idea that White House lawyers don’t casually swear at strangers from their official White House accounts, or carelessly reveal legal opinions to an email prankster, is merely a norm. As every last norm around civil and sober conduct collapses during this administration, though, the only recourse when lawyers behave like Real Housewives seems to be sadness for the reputation and esteem of the profession.
Former Hugo Boss Model Sentenced for Murdering Reality Star Loredana Nesci: ‘You Gutted Her Like a Farm Animal’
Robert Reagan claimed girlfriend Loredana Nesci was accidentally stabbed after she threatened him with a knife
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