Pioneer Public Interest Law Center convenes experts across all practices to educate the public about the most timely issues. Topics have included school choice, tax reform, federalism, and more.
PPILC Spotlights Judicial Reform in Ukraine
BOSTON — On Thursday, June 15, Pioneer Public Interest Law Center hosted “Judicial Reform in Ukraine: A Challenge That Must Be Met,” an event featuring Justice Robert J. Cordy (ret.) of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
A country must have an impartial, fair, and honest judiciary to construct a system of social justice and economic and political progress. In June 2021, the Ukrainian government announced the formation of the Ukrainian Judicial Ethics Council, which evaluates the integrity of present members and selects new members of Ukraine’s highest judicial governing body, the High Council of Justice.
Justice Cordy, a member of the six-person Ethics Council, spoke on his experiences and insights on the Council’s work, which was recently substantially concluded, as well as the ongoing legal reform efforts in Ukraine.
The event was held at the University of Massachusetts Club at One Beacon Street in Boston and via livestream.
Pioneer Public Interest Law Center (PPILC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest law firm that defends and promotes educational options, accountable government, and economic opportunity. Through legal action and public education, PPILC works to preserve and enhance liberties grounded in the constitutions and civil rights laws of the United States.
‘’Reasonable Minds Can Differ’’: Major Cases in the 2022-2023 Term of the U.S. Supreme Court
Several recent polls have shown that confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court is at historic lows, but interest in the cases that come before the nation’s highest court remains strong.
The implications of several cases currently before the Court were explored at a March 1 forum, “Reasonable Minds Can Differ,” sponsored by PioneerLegal, the Federal Bar Association, and the Social Law Library.
More than 100 people gathered to hear Boston University School of Law Professors Gary Lawson and Jessica Silbey lay out the facts of five cases currently before the Court. Use the timestamps below to navigate to the portion of the program that deals in detail with each of the five cases discussed.
09:22-25:15 — Tyler v. Hennepin County
“In twenty-first-century United States all private land is held of the state — if you don’t pay the property tax assessment mean people are going to come, they’re going to grab the land, put it up for a judicial auction, and use the proceeds to pay off your debt.”
25:20-39:38 —National Pork Producers Council v. Ross
“The question is whether that extraterritorial effect is so burdensome that it violates the dormant Commerce Clause principles, and that California cannot export its morals legislation, its policing legislation, to the rest of the United States.”
39:40-55:08 — 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis
“The question … is whether applying a public accommodation law like this compels a web designer (or an “artist”) to sell web designing services (or to “speak”) — whether it violates the free speech clause … Is this a services case … or a speech case.”
55:30-1:06:34 — Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh
“The Court will consider whether Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 should shield tech platforms from liability when they direct third-party content to individuals who are radicalized by that content and then participate in terrorist attacks.”
1:06:40-1:19:25 — Moore v. Harper
This case may decide whether state legislatures alone get the last word on how federal elections are conducted. “Here’s the bottom-line question—and this is a law professor’s dream: When the Constitution talks about those state bodies, is it talking about them as institutions or as functions?”
PioneerLegal is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest law firm that defends and promotes educational options, accountable government, and economic opportunity. Through legal action and public education, PioneerLegal works to preserve and enhance liberties grounded in the constitutions and civil rights laws of the United States.
Carson v. Makin Supreme Court Case Virtual Briefing
In December 2021, Pioneer hosted a policy briefing on Carson v. Makin, an important religious schooling case out of Maine, which we hope will be another victory for school choice in the wake of Espinoza. Pioneer’s Director of Education, Jamie Gass, was joined by Mike Gilleran, partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, and co-author of Pioneer’s amicus briefs for both Espinoza and Carson cases, the first of which was cited by Justice Alito in his concurring opinion, and Jason Bedrick, director of policy at EdChoice, and author of Pioneer’s school-choice state toolkits, successfully used to help legislators adopt new, post-Espinoza laws in 10 jurisdictions so far.
Systemic Failure in Special Needs Funding for Private School Students
On April 8th, 2021, Pioneer Institute hosted a webinar on how to ensure school districts allocate sufficient federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds for students with learning differences who attend private schools. Featured speakers: Tom Olson and Steve Perla (Principal Partners of ADAC), Nancy Kriegel (Executive Director of Yad Chessed), Kate McConnell (Director of Inclusive Education of the Archdiocese of Chicago), Jason Bedrick (Director of Policy for EdChoice), with introductory remarks from Jamie Gass, PioneerEducation Director. The topic was based on Pioneer’s new report: “Bad IDEA: How States Block Federal Special Education Funding to Private and Religious School Students.”
Reflections On The Bench
On February 7th, 2017, recently retired Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Robert J. Cordy joined Pioneer Institute to engage in conversation with his former clerks to discuss a range of topics, including insights on how the Court made decisions behind-the-scenes during the Justice’s 15-year tenure, legal highlights of the Court during that period and what the Justice believes the future holds for the Court given its historic transformation under the administration of Governor Charlie Baker. An audience question-and-answer opportunity followed the discussion.
What Tax Reform Means for Massachusetts and the National Economy
On April 24th, 2018, Pioneer hosted a breakfast event on “What Tax Reform Means for Massachusetts and the National Economy” at the Omni Parker House in Boston. Pioneer partnered with WilmerHale and Deloitte to present this event. Deloitte provided two of their top national tax experts (former senior Treasury Department officials) and WilmerHale provided two Boston-based partners who are tax experts.
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PioneerLegal is a non-partisan, public interest law firm that defends and promotes educational options, accountable government and economic opportunity across the Northeast. PioneerLegal achieves its mission through legal research, amicus briefs, and litigation.