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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The DOMA victory and the connection between U.S. v. Windsor and U.S. v. Loving

HERE IS WHAT MRS. LO WROTE ON JUNE 12, 2013:  "we are all on 'Windsor Watch,' awaiting the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, as well as the Proposition 8 case.  Regardless of whether the Windsor case

is decided on the grounds of States' rights, federalism, or whatever else is in the Court's toolbox, the Defense of Marriage Act needs to be overturned.  While Mrs. Lo is staunchly pro-same sex marriage, the reason the Windsor case needs to be affirmed is because the federal government simply has no jurisdiction over Family Law and the DOMA act should never have been enacted.

Today, June 12, is the 46th year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).  Mildred and Richard Loving, then a young married couple, were arrested in 1958 for violating the anti-miscegenation laws, which existed in 16 states at the time, including Virgina, and prohibited marriage between whites and non-whites.  The Lovings, were convicted (they had a child by this time), and their motion to vacate was denied.  The Circuit Court affirmed in part, reversed and remanded and the conviction went up on appeal to the Warren Court. 

In one of Mrs. Lo's favorite written decisions ever, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, known as the 'Racial Integrity Act of 1924' as violative of the equal-protection clause and therefore unconstitutional.  This rendered the remaining 15 state anti-miscegenation statutes unconstitutional and gave all couples the freedom to marry -- unless those couples were of the same sex."
This brings us to present day, and I have written extensively on the US v. Windsor case, as Edith Windsor is a New Yorker and a personal hero of mine.  Due to the DOMA, although validly married in Canada, and although her marriage to her deceased spouse is recognized now under New York State Law, she still had to pay over $360,000.00 in estate taxes because her marriage was not recognized under Federal Law."


With the decision yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, violative of the Fifth Amendment.  In addition, by refusing to hear the Proposition 8 appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively cleared the way for California to become the 13th State in the Union to recognize same sex marriage.

The connection to U.S. v. Loving is obvious.  While same sex-marriage is not illegal, the way that "miscegenation" (marriage between a white a non-white) was at the time of the Loving case, the final battleground will be set when a legally married same sex couple relocates to a State which does not recognize same sex marriage.  In the Loving case, this resulted in the arrests of the couple in the State of Virgina.

Let us explore this hypothetical:  a same sex couple legally married in, let's say, New York State, will move to a state which does not recognize same sex marriage.  The couple may seek to assert federal benefits, such as the benefits of the federal Estate tax laws, sought by Edith Windsor, and be denied.  The couple may seek state benefits, such as the right to visit their loved one in the hospital as a "spouse" and be denied.  Yet this couple was legally married in the State of New York.  If this couple then becomes a plaintiff in any myriad of possible constitutional cases to come before the U.S. Supreme Court, that will be the connection between U.S. v. Windsor and U.S. v Loving.  A same sex couple that is properly and happily married in one state, will move to another state, be denied constitutional, federal, and State rights, and bring on an action.

This will finally force the issue to be MORE than one of States' rights or federalism.  Once and for all, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to determine that broad issue of same sex marriage and the benefits that flow therefrom, at every level, to be an inalienable right.  Anything less than the unfettered right of same sex couples to marry in every state of the Union is nothing less than unconstitutional.

Adding to the list of my heroes will be:  Mildred and Richard Loving, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, Roberta Kaplan, and the future couple who will be bringing on this constitutional challenge.  

Juliana LoBiondo
www.LoBiondoLaw.com
Juliana@lobiondolaw.com

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mrs. Lo's Roundup of Local Summer Camps

School is out and for working parents, this can be a dilemma.  Unless you're in that "sweet spot" in life where you have a a teenager at home who you can force into indentured servitude, I mean, convince to watch your younger kids, you're probably going to need a summer camp that serves as child care, hopefully enriches your kids at least somewhat, and also won't break the bank.  Here's Mrs. Lo's roundup of local camps:

1.  Newburgh Rowing Summer Camp.  Of course, as Team Mom, you knew this would be my number one pick. Nestled on 2 docks on the Hudson River at Ward Brothers Memorial Park in the City of Newburgh, this is a hidden gem.  Kayaking and canoeing, rowing in crew shells for advanced rowers, team games, fitness, movies on rainy days, crafts, ecology science training, and more.  Run by certified coaches and certified public school teachers, with Varsity rowers as Camp counselors, this is also a bargain, at only $160.00 per week, from 9 am - 3 pm, with extenion hours available.  But hurry, the first week is almost full, although there is space in weeks 2, 3, and 4 right now.  Sign up at the Town of Newburgh Rec Center or download their brochure at:  http://www.townofnewburgh.org/FCpdf/2013%20Brochure%20no%20Ads.pdf

2.  Summer FUNdamentals at Bishop Dunn Memorial School.  Highly recommended, my kids attend BDMS so I'm familiar with the program.  The highlights are swimming at the Mount Saint Mary's College Pool, the Drama Program and all the sports, academic and enrichment activities you can choose from.  This is where my oldest learned to play chess and he remains a wicked chess player to this day. Check out the website at:  http://www.bdms.org/sumfun/

3.  Hudson Highland Nature Museum Camps.  I highly recommend these camps, they are fabulous but sell out quickly.  If you need coverage from 9 am - 5 pm, this will leave you a little short but if you can find a way to swing it, give it a try.  Christian did the Trekkers Camp, back when it was only 9 am - 12 pm and he loved every minute of it.  It's really a great outdoors experience for all the kids:  http://hhnaturemuseum.org/index.php/summer-camp

4.  Mount Saint Mary's College Sports Camps.  The Mount offers great sports camps, from Basketball to Baseball.  The highlight is the Swim Camp, taught by the Coach of the Award winnin Girls Swim Team (or at least it used to be).  Check out the website at:  http://msmcknights.com/sports/2009/2/19/GEN_0219091013.aspx?tab=sportsc

5.  Washingtonville Soccer Camp.  July 22 - July 26, 2013.  Run by the wonderful granddaddy of all soccer coaches, the Champion-maker, Mr. Martelli, this camp is only one week but if your kids love soccer, at the local level, this is the one soccer camp you don't want to miss.  http://wscsoccerclub.com/index.html

6.  Vassar College also offers great sports camps.  Check them out at:  http://www.vassarathletics.com/sports/2012/3/6/GEN_0306121056.aspx?id=280

7.  Marist College has a wide array of sports camps for kids:  http://www.goredfoxes.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27700&ATCLID=205275262

8.  Just Off Broadway Theatrical Training.  For your budding theatre actor, the fabulous JOB, Inc. offers a wonderful program: http://www.justoffbwy.com/Theatrical_Academy.html

9.  Camp Robbins YMCA.  The oldest and still the leader of traditional summer camps in Newburgh.  Chances are if you grew up in Newburgh, you learned to swim at this camp.  Full days and lots of supervision and outdoor fun.  Check them out at: http://www.newburghymca.org/webpages/CAMP_ROBBINS.aspx

10.  Splash and Dash at the Union Avenue Y.  An affordable option for working parents, there is a heavy emphasis on swimming in the huge regulation size indoor pool.  They have the best swim lessons and the best lifeguards around and take pool safety seriously.  They also have field trips, from Lakes and hiking to Splashdown, and just started a Scholastic book fair.  http://communityfitnesscenter.com/Camp/2013Splash_N_Dash_New_Windsor_Registration_2013.pdf

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The 13th birthday milestone: in other cultures, he'd be alone in the woods with a Spear right now

THE LoBIONDO FAMILY PASSES A MILESTONE - yesterday, we threw the mother of all backyard parties for Christian's 13th birthday.  The planning and execution was more exhausting than any Crew Meet or Gala I've ever been involved with, but so much more rewarding.  It was sort of open house style, with people coming in waves.  I believe the last wave showed up at 10 pm, there were kids who left the party, went to their 8th grade formal, and came back at 10:00 pm.  We had a total of maybe 50 kids all together.  We had the fabulous DJ Emma and Ryan but instead of dancing, the music was a backdrop for fierce games of football, soccer, frisbee, and a King of the Hill type game that was a combination of basketball, soccer and dodgeball.  We went through 600 water balloons and lost all the drinking water in our tank for a while. We measured the amount of hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage and peppers, and barbecued chicken by the dozens.  Mrs. Lo cooked for days and Anthony didn't stop the grill til 10:00 pm.  We had a  certified coach and phys ed teacher, Coach Cunningham, running the games.  Nick Bourne, former NFA Varsity Football and Crew and now a YWCA camp counselor over the summer was on hand to pump everybody up as only he can, and teach everyone the basics of football.  We have a lot of soccer players, so we really started basic, but even the girls learned how to play and were amazed at how good they were.  The kids hiked our stream up to the "waterfall" and almost to the Hudson River.  We brought together kids from all walks of life, from the City of Newburgh to the onion fields of Orange County and everybody bonded and yakked it up all night.  The parents showed me the texts their kids were sending them:  "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't pick me up I'm having so much fun!"  Then around 9 pm, the kids decided they wanted to set up the slip and slide.  Sure, why not.    
     After all, our son is turning 13, utter exhaustion is a small price to pay for this much home-grown fun.  If we were in other cultures, right around this time, there are entirely different ways to celebrate.  For instance, in one culture I read about, at this age, Christian would have been sent into the woods alone.  With a spear.  And would not have been expected to come back until he was carrying dinner on his spear.  This is the age of risky behavior.  So far so good.  But yes, we will continue to offer to have "the party" at our house (also known to the kids as "Club Awesome") because that's how we keep an eye on them.
     Can we all come back tomorrow, Mrs. Lo, can we, can we, can we?  Tomorrow, huh.  Sure, as long as we don't have to cook again.  And bring some garbage bags, we have a lot of water balloon debris to clean up.  Have a great day, everyone!  <3  Mrs. Lo



Friday, June 21, 2013

A Mother's Ode to her son, on his 13th Birthday

HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST ELDER SON A MOM AND DAD COULD ASK FOR! -- Christian, when we were waiting for you to arrive, all we prayed for was your good health, we felt to ask for anything more would be selfish and decided to concentrate on the most important thing. So with your good health, our prayers have been answered. With everything else you have brought to our lives and Little Michael's, you have more than surpassed our wildest dreams. You have all of the best qualities of Mom and Dad and only a few of our worst. From Daddy, you received the greatest, most important quality in a man: Loyalty. You are a loyal son, brother and friend to the point where it can be a problem. Now, you are a bigger boy -- but even when you were a little runt, you would stick up for your less fortunate friends and your little brother, even if it meant you were the one to take a whooping. And that quality has made you a great teammate, just right for the sport of crew. Your loyalty to your family, friends and teammates is inspiring. Last year, you asked me to promise that if we didn't have enough money to save the NFA Crew Team, that we would take it out of your college account, so the team could go on. (Fortunately, it didn't come down to that). Also from Daddy, you received your great diplomacy, your ability to see the big picture, your analytical mind, his beautiful blue eyes, and of course, something you didn't get from me: your incredible eye-hand co-ordination. From your Mother, I am trying to give you a little insight into what it means to have a sister. Don't get me wrong, I will always be your Mother first and will always discipline you. But boys that grow up with sisters really have a better understanding of Female World, so when I kid around with you mercilessly, that is because you don't have a sister to do it, and once in a while, I have to think what would your hypothetical Big Sister say in this situation. I am also very careful to remember my grandmother's advice about my brother. Which is to be nice to every girl he would bring home. Because (in your case), I never know who might end up being my daughter in law someday and having control over whether I see my grandchildren. Maybe changing my Depends LOL! You are a great son, a great older brother, a true and loyal friend, and a great teammate. You have been a world class coxswain, and you are just starting your career as a rower. Whether I have been watching Tiny Christian at coxswain, one hand firmly on the rudder, screaming at your rowers that this is where champions are made and give you a Power 10 NOW, or whether I am watching you come in DFL, rowing stroke in that BDMS boat I love so much, the littlest kids in the race, trying so hard every stroke, or just watching you cox an 8+ into the Boathouse, I swell with pride every time I see you in action. And let's face it, I pretty much never miss a meet, unless Little Michael has a feis. I love that I can share this sport and this rowing world with you, I love that you let me do that, that the coaches let me, that the kids let me. I feel that by the time this whole rowing career of yours is said and done, we will have a pretty unique bond, given my role as Team Mom. Wow, this is pretty long! Time to wrap it up and get ready for your birthday party. If anyone has stuck with me and read through this whole thing, thank you! Happy Birthday, Christian, Mommy and Daddy and Little Michael LOVE you!  Mrs. Lo (LOL)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Last Week of School -- Whatever you do, don't Blink!

This is the last week of school at BDMS.  It's a crazy busy week, as always.  This week we will fit in Field Day, Michael's Class Play ("Charlotte's Web," he's Templeton), the Annual Last Day of School Party at LoBiondoFork on Thursday, the teacher's gifts on the last day of school including the scrapbooks I make them, the NFA Crew Team Dinner Thursday night, and on Friday, the mother of all parties, Christian's 13th Birthday party and the San Miguel Academy Crew Team Graduation Party at LoBiondoFork.  P.S., I still have that other gig going on called being a lawyer and running the Law Office.  The personal planning that goes into this Week rivals anything I have ever seen at any organization I have ever run or worked for, it takes months to get through this week.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.  One moment your little guy is walking off the stage, graduating from pre-K, the next thing you know, they will be walking off the stage graduating from Middle School, then high school.  A few dollars at Sams Club and a lot of late nights of cleaning and planning and scrapbooking is a small price to pay, knowing that every major moment happened at my house, and Anthony and I somehow never missed a field trip, or a class play, a crew meet, a soccer game, a feis, you name it.  That is the reason why God created two parents, to be able to cover all of these childhood events. Well, there was that one time, because when Mrs. Lo messes up, it's on a grandscale.  In pre-school, I missed Parent Day.  That's right, Little 3 year old Michael had no parent on Parent Day.  Apparently, it was supposed to be a "Mother's Day" party but to be politically correct they renamed it Parent Day, which meant absolutely nothing to me.  So one of my friends "adopted" (thanks, Krissy Patsolos) Little Michael for the day.  Because it really does take a village.  Lesson learned:  don't blink, don't think any moment at school is too trivial.  Show up in sweats, show up un-showered, show up in a suit and briefcase, send a grandparent proxy with a handwritten note from you, but remember, whatever you do -- don't blink!  Have a great day, everyone, remember to countyour blessings, and special lots of love to the BDMS Families today, last full day of school!  <3 Mrs. Lo (#picstitch of Little Michael at Union Nursery School, top pic, 2007; bottom left, first day of BDMS 2008; right Christian and Michael and Little Michael's Kindergarten graduation 2009)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"ONE HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW, ...

"ONE HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, or how much money I had I the bank. But the world may be a better place because I made a difference in a child's life." Author Unknown. This is a time of happy endings and new beginnings as well. The 2013 Crew Season, which the NFA Crew Families and supporters worked so hard to raise the money for this past year, will be coming to an end tomorrow with Sectionals. It will be the last crew meet for most of our Senior athletes, although some will go on to row in college.
 It will also be the last time our 8th grade Student Ambassadors row for Newburgh Rowing Club. There will be graduations and tears of joy. Parents will be saying "hasta luego" (until next time) to their seniors going off to college. Mrs. Lo will be saying hasta luego in a month to the Student Ambassadors, the boys who reside in the City of Newburgh, and who were the first ones, two years ago, that we taught to swim and row on scholarships, and who our family loves so much. The Crew Mom Mobile just won't be the same but, as with the college parents, this is what we worked for! The Student Ambassadors have scholarships to go on to fabulous boarding schools, from the Harvey School to Canterbury and St. Benedict's Prep. Some of them will be rowing for these schools. I couldn't be happier. Thanks to my own family, my home is a soft place to land, and when the time comes to say hasta luego to my Student Ambassadors, I will huggle my husband and my own kids that much closer. Happy Friday everyone and PLEASE remember to count your blessings! Have a truly magical day  Mrs. Lo (photo of Little Michael with Najib, Soup, and Kelvin, NYMA Pool Fall 2011)
5/31/2013

Who Are We? It's a Newburgh Crew Team Thing

From June 1, 2013, right before Sectionals.  The NFA Girls and NFA Boys Crew teams each took Second Place overall.

"WHO ARE WE?" - today is going to be a great day, a special day, a tough day. Today is Sectionals for the sport of crew in the HVRL. It's the last day of crew season 2013 for NFA. I will never forget the day the team was eliminated. It was right after we had won a Regatta. The girls who were crying. The girls who knew they needed "varsity" on their applications to row in college, who knew they would have to move school districts to a public high school that had crew, hugging their friends. The boys who refused to cry and looked like they wanted to punch something but you knew were crying on the inside. 72 kids on a varsity team that had been eliminated rowed their entire season, knowing their team officially would not be back the next year, and finished as champions. Not one athlete left for another varsity spring sport. Not one. I remember when the team was reinstated on the condition that we seek funding from the community. I remember sitting at the Boathouse with a core group of crew parents, explaining that it was like this: we could all work very hard to raise the money and you might get families who don't lift a finger but they're as much a part of the team as your kids. My kids go to private school so I know how that kind of thing works. You need to understand that before taking on this massive undertaking to form a 501(c)(3), raise $60,000.00 in the off season, and make sure we are always in the news. We went around the table with about 10 parents, one after another they thought and said, "I'm in," I'm in," and so on. Fundraiser after fundraiser, Big Coach believes there have been 55 in total. But we did it, with the help of so many others, with the help of this community that the media gets down on, Newburgh, came out and helped us. We had our 2013 season. It was wonderful. By one point, we won Counties and remained Orange-Ulster County Champions. Today is Sectionals in Poughkeepsie. I can't believe it, the season we worked so hard for is over. I thought it was hard last year, saying hasta luego to Carlos and Allan and Bourne and the rest. Now, we will say hasta luego to Frankie, Connor, Illenberger, and Kyle and the other seniors. There are always a few that break your heart when they leave, that are like your own family, when they leave, and those would be the ones. They're all going on to blindingly great futures so it's happy but I will not lie to you, my loyal readers, I am sad. The people who were there for Crew Season 2012 and 2013, always remember: You are special. Nobody, but nobody except for you guys could have done what we did. I am so proud of you and I will always tell your story and honor what we did, our families, together, with the coaches. Remember what Big Coach always said: nothing good in life ever comes easy. When Big Coach does our special cheer remember, not only is there no other place we'd rather be, there's no one else we would rather have done this with than you guys. You are not just special, you are extraordinary, I will carry each of you in my heart forever, as will Big Coach. WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU RATHER BE?

The Angel, the Alpha, and the School Lunch

From June 4, 2013

THE ANGEL AND THE ALPHA - they say don't label your kids. However, there is a small asterisk, whereby it's OK if the labels are for purposes of your blog on Facebook. Yesterday, my cherub, Little Michael, came home and said Mommy, you forgot my lunch order again, I had mashed potatoes for lunch. And (NAME OF A CLASSMATE) gave me a chicken mcnugget. As you all know, Mrs. Lo's greatest motherly fault is that I ALWAYS forget to print out and hand in the kids monthly hot lunch order. Someone made Little Michael get off the lunch line. (For those wondering, I am about $75K into this school for tuition and Heaven only knows how much more in extra donations and billable hours but apparently nothing outranks getting that lunch order in on time). Fortunately, Michael has a secret strategy and our Angel Friend helps him out. This strategy got him a "red card" meaning he could eat some "sides." I'm sure he could have chosen fruit or salad but of course he chose the mashed potatoes. Meanwhile there is my 12 yo. By way of example, during Sectionals he bow-coxed his boat with no cox box. This means that instead of sitting facing the rowers, he was in the bow, facing away from them. No big deal if you have a "cox box" which basically is a microphone whereby they can all hear you. He had to turn completely around to yell at them, while holding the rudder with one hand; he couldn't see where they were going he had to judge by the distance from other boats. How was that, I asked him? "All in a day's work" he shrugged and replied. So back to the lunch order, I asked Christian: how come you never complain about mashed potatoes. How do you eat lunch every day? "Like a Boss," he replied. And he wasn't kidding. Lunch order completed and on its way. Have a great day everyone!  Mrs. Lo

MRS. LO'S TAKE ON "LOVING DAY"

From June 12, 2013, "Loving Day" - TIME FOR A MRS. LO STORY, FOR LOVING DAY - June 12 is "Loving Day," a tribute to Mildred and Richard Loving. This married couple was arrested in Viringia in 1958 for violating anti-miscegenation laws, which prohibited inter-racial marriage, specifically between non-whites and whites. Their case went up to the U.S. Supreme Court and on June 12, 1967, the Warren Court handed down its decision in "Loving v. Virginia," striking down anti-miscegenation laws as violative of the equal-protection clause, which is to say, unconstitutional. The couple then returned to Virginia, where they raised a family of three children and remained together until Richard died in a car accident in 1975. Mildred died in 2008. Each year, Loving Day is celebrated for the Lovings and other mixed race couples. Growing up in an inter-racial family in the 1970's was often no picnic for little Mrs. Lo and her brother. But it made me a stronger person, and planted in me an intolerance for intolerance. And so, from Mrs. Lo to everyone who teased or gave me a hard time, due to being "mixed race"  -- I truly thank you -- because I could never have stood up to authority all my life, could never have taken on the challenges I have, could never have been as good a lawyer as I am, and could never have done half the things I've done had it not been for you. I say this without a trace of bitterness, at my age I am at peace with all the storms I have battled through and am thankful for the soft place to land my husband and kids and I have created. And, watching Lolo and Lola (my parents) stick together over 49 years has taught me an indelible lesson in the meaning of true love. Race, gender, same-sex, opposite-sex, socioeconomic status, let it go people, just be at peace with people loving whom they will, and enjoy LOVING day  Mrs. Lo

WHO'S THE PARENT ANYWAY

WHO'S THE PARENT ANYWAY?  Christian has really been insisting that I delete my Instagram account.  "Why would I do that," I asked, "I love Instagram."  It's true, I love taking pictures, I love the hashtags, I love that 90% of the photos for the Hashtag "#Crewmom" are mine.  I put up pictures of my shoes, nailart, rowing, family pics, things I think are interesting.  But my 12 yo son stated his cause so succinctly and on the money, that I had to relent.  Because, Christian answered, "Instagram is for teenagers and you're not a teenager."  True enough and definitely true.  The lesson:  it's really important that we listen to our kids and teach them that they can talk to us about what bothers them, and that the reward is, we will listen and, if necessary, take action.  Here was my 12 yo coming to me with something important to him.   He didn't go to his peers, his coaches, his teachers, he went straight to Mom, with the expectation that Mom would listen. And while I love Instagram, I don't love it as much as I love my son, as much as I want him to grow up to be a good person, not a frustrated kid that gets ignored.  Ever the lawyer, we cut a deal.  If Christian creates a walk in pantry for me out of my junk room by his birthday (June 21), Mrs. Lo will delete Instagram and Vine.  I can, however, keep my 3 Facebook accounts and 2 Twitters, and he will not get Facebook or Twitter (believe me, he's not interested).  So far, the junk room is looking pretty good.  My gosh, these negotiations were like the Versailles Peace Treaty.  But more fun, and I get a walk in pantry out of it.  Who's Henry Kissinger now?  Have a great day, everyone!  <3  #MrsLo

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wouldn't it be great is US v. Windsor were decided on the anniversary of US v. Loving?

We are all on "Windsor Watch," awaiting the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, as well as the Proposition 8 case.  Regardless of whether the Windsor case
is decided on the grounds of States' rights, federalism, or whatever else is in the Court's toolbox, the Defense of Marriage Act needs to be overturned.  While Mrs. Lo is staunchly pro-same sex marriage, the reason the Windsor case needs to be affirmed is because the federal government simply has no jurisdiction over Family Law and the DOMA act should never have been enacted.

Today, June 12, is the 46th year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).  Mildred and Richard Loving, then a young married couple, were arrested in 1958 for violating the anti-miscegenation laws, which existed in 16 states at the time, including Virgina, and prohibited marriage between whites and non-whites.  The Lovings, were convicted (they had a child by this time), and their motion to vacate was denied.  The Circuit Court affirmed in part, reversed and remanded and the conviction went up on appeal to the Warren Court.

In one of Mrs. Lo's favorite written decisions ever, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, known as the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924" as violative of the equal-protection clause and therefore unconstitutional.  This rendered the remaining 15 state anti-miscegenation statutes unconstitutional and gave all couples the freedom to marry -- unless those couples were of the same sex.

This brings us to present day, and I have written extensively on the US v. Windsor case, as Edith Windsor is a New Yorker and a personal hero of mine.  Due to the DOMA, although validly married in Canada, and although her marriage to her deceased spouse is recognized now under New York State Law, she still had to pay over $360,000.00 in estate taxes because her marriage was not recognized under Federal Law.

Today is celebrated as "Loving Day" throughout the country, and couples who are of different races are celebrated.  Wouldn't it be great if same sex couples were given the same freedom on Loving Day, by having the US Supreme Court decide US v. Windsor and strike down the DOMA once and for all?  We should call it Loving-Windsor Day if that happens.

Monday, June 10, 2013

NYS Judges are Suing NYS for $51 Million in Salary Increases

The case of "Pines v. State of New York" is now being argued before the Appellate Division, Second Department.  State Judges, from New York State's Supreme Court, argue that the $51,000,000.00 appropriation by the NYS Legislature is lawful.
At issue are retroactive raises of 27% between April 1, 2005 and April 1, 2009.  The raises were to increase in 4 steps from the then amount of $136,770.00 per year for Supreme Court Justices to $174,000.00 per year between April 2005 and April 2009.

The following is quoted from today's New York Law Journal:  "In her 2011 ruling in Pines, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Karen Murphy accepted the plaintiffs' argument that the Legislature's appropriation of $51 million was sufficient to make the raises legal.
Murphy said the appropriation met the requirement that has been in the state Constitution since the 1920s that judicial pay raises be "established by law" (NYLJ, Feb. 14, 2011).
"The State Constitution does not mandate a specific format for judicial salaries, and consequently, Chapter 51 is enforceable as it stands," Murphy wrote in Pines v. State of New York, 13518/10.
The lead plaintiff is Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Emily Pines. Other plaintiffs are Supreme Court Justice David Demarest in St. Lawrence County, Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Lebowitz, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Ferradino in Saratoga County, Supreme Court Justice Ralph Boniello in Niagara County and Nassau County Court Judge Joseph Calabrese."