Legal Briefs: What’s Happening in the Law

December 29, 2014

Each week, we bring you updates on the legal world.

Looking ahead …

Baby on the way? Your wallet wants you to have it by 12/31. Claiming your son or daughter as a dependent will shelter $3,950 of your income from tax in 2014, saving you a quick $975 if you’re in the 25 percent bracket. You get the full-year’s exemption no matter when during the year the child was born or adopted. (Turbotax)

The Supreme Court could decide as early as January 9th whether it will consider legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide in what would be a landmark clash over an issue that has divided the country. (Bloomberg)

Nebraska and Oklahoma are not happy about Colorado’s pot law, and Colorado doesn’t care. The two states have joined in a lawsuit against Colorado, claiming that the 2012 provision — Amendment 64, which legalizes recreational marijuana use for people over the age of 21 — violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, however, refuses to back down, “promis[ing] to vigorously defend the state’s historic law.” (Washington Post)

Does Taylor Swift have a new career as a lobbyist in her future? Maybe. As the music industry continues its evolution from physical CDs to online platforms like Pandora and Spotify, more and more recording artists such as Swift are pushing for reforms to strengthen copyright laws and increase royalties. (Politico)

And in case you missed it …

In Texas, residents are now statutorily permitted to use the greeting of their choice without fear of legal reprisal: “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy holidays.” (CNN)

Sony has hired litigator David Boies in the wake of the disastrous hack of its computer systems. Boies said last Sunday that the massive hacking represented a “state-sponsored criminal attack” and suggested that the company did not get enough help fighting back. (NBC)

Uber continues to make headlines. On Christmas Eve, South Korea indicted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The charges echo complaints heard in the United States, that Uber’s activities violate licensing laws — in this case laws that prevent rental car companies from operating taxi services.”(Slate)

Protests are in the news lately, and not just in the US. Citizens in Spain gathered on December 20th to oppose the nation’s Public Security Law. If it gains full approval from parliament, this law will establish substantial fines for political and social demonstrations, including burning the Spanish flag and protesting outside government buildings. Protestors engaged in the very activities the law seeks to avoid. (Washington Post)

The American Civil Liberties Union has won against the National Security Agency. In a lawsuit, the ACLU pressed the NSA to release “heavily redacted reports” detailing its employees’ violations of individual Americans’ privacy in the broad surveillance net cast after September 11th. Reports detailing activities from 2001 to 2013 were released to the public on December 24th after being previously published to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board. (Wall Street Journal)