Hot Documents: From FaceBook to Voter ID Laws

Over the last few days we’ve seen a number of newsworthy filings and decisions in the Hot Docs pages of JD Supra, covering topics as diverse as our contributors. Here are a few:

US SUPREME COURT DECISION ON CHALLENGE TO VOTING LAW:
Yesterday’s United States Supreme Court decision, which struck down a challenge to a voter ID law in Indiana. In a 6-3 opinion, the majority said the state interests “are both neutral and sufficiently strong to require us to reject petitioners’ facial attack on the statute,” and the burden imposed on voters was “minimal and justified.” JD Supra contributor EPIC had submitted an amicus brief detailing problems with the law. "Not only has the state failed to establish the need for the voter identification law or to address the disparate impact of the law, the state’s voter ID system is imperfect, and relies on a flawed federal identification system." Justice Souter seemed to agree, as he wrote in dissent, “this statute imposes a disproportionate burden upon those without” government-issued photo IDs.

PETITION TO CANCEL FACEBOOK’S TRADEMARK:
A petition before the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to cancel the FACEBOOK trademark presently attributed to Facebook, Inc. The petition alleges that Think Computer Corporation, which posted the document on JD Supra, has been using "FACEBOOK," "FACE BOOK," "UNIVERSAL FACE BOOK," and "FACENET" as trademarks since as early as September 19, 2003 "in association with on-line information services featuring information regarding, and in the nature of, collegiate life, classifieds, virtual communities and social networking."

CHALLENGE TO GOVERNMENT EXCLUSION OF POST-1968 RESIDENTS FROM BEACHES:
A first amended complaint challenging Nevada’s Incline Village General Improvement District’s  exclusion of some District resident’s access to a District  owned beach, allegedly in collusion with the developers of Incline Village pursuant to a 1968 "sweetheart deal." Submitted by attorney Steven Kroll, who has filed the suit on his own behalf (and clearly took note of Jordan Furlong’s Tips for writing document summaries for the JD Supra Hot Docs pages).

USDOL AGENT ORANGE CLAIM ISSUED FOR THE DEATH OF A US FEDERAL CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE
JD Supra contributor James R. Linehan shares this decision – which, he states, is the "only documented OWCP claim issued by the USDOL for the death of a US federal civilian employee due to Agent Orange."  According to James, after argument in this case, the "United States finally conceded and admitted that the claimant was indeed exposed to Agent Orange as a federal civilian employee in Vietnam and died as result of exposures to Agency Orange. Following the government’s admission of liability, an internal U.S. Government Accountability Office document report (GAO-05-371) revealed that the current Administration is well aware of these past toxic exposures of American civilian employees but continues to deny their existence or liability for same."