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Friday morning docket: Red Flag reprieve

Were you one of the many lawyers frantically drafting written anti-identity fraud policies for your law firm before the Federal Trade Commission begins enforcing its ‘Red Flags’ regulations this weekend? Well, you can step back and breathe a sigh of relief.

The American Bar Association won an early victory in a D.C. federal court yesterday, where a judge granted the group’s motion for partial summary judgment in its lawsuit against the FTC challenging the agency’s authority to enforce the Red Flags rule against attorneys.

District Court Judge Reggie Walton granted the ABA’s motion from the bench, rejecting the FTC’s argument that Congress intended to include lawyers in the definition of “creditors.” The FTC is set to begin enforcing the rule Sunday.

But as any good lawyer knows, this was just Round One. Expect the FTC to appeal.

Meanwhile, over at the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices will return from a brief recess for a private conference today to consider certiorari requests. As always, SCOTUSBlog has a list of petitions they think are likely to get the nod from the justices.

Monday oral arguments continue at the High Court in a number of cases, including one asking whether state lawmakers may bar federal courts from considering state statutory recovery claims in class action litigation (Shady Grove Orthopedic Assoc. v. Allstate Insurance Co, set for argument Monday); whether a prosecutor can face civil liability for allegedly introducing false testimony against a defendant at trial (Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, set for Wednesday); and whether a defense attorney’s failure to present evidence of the defendant’s impaired mental functioning in a capital case constituted ineffective assistance of counsel (Wood v. Allen, also set for Wednesday).

And as you prepare to buy mounds of candy for all your neighborhood trick-or-treaters, here’s a look at the legal news:

Chamber pushes tort reform: As lawmakers prepare to vote on a plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system, the legal reform advocacy arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for stronger medical malpractice reform efforts at its annual summit. (Lawyers USA)

Iqbal and Twombly on the Hill: House lawmakers discussed the impact on the judicial system of two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that toughened federal civil pleading standards. (Lawyers USA)

Signs of discrimination: The EEOC has revised posters employers are required to post in the workplace to reflect new federal employment discrimination laws. (Lawyers USA)

Hate law expanded: President Obama signed a bill expanding hate crimes protection by the end of that year to include attacks based on sexual orientation. (Washington Post)

Monday status conference: Night at the Opera

We knew the Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg love the opera. Well, this weekend, they were in the opera.

Saturday night, the justices were on stage for the entire performance of the Washington National Opera’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Scalia, Ginsburg and her husband, Georgetown University law professor Martin Ginsburg, had nonspeaking roles as dinner party guests, and were seated at tables for the 90-minute performance.

But the highlight of the evening was reportedly when Russian soprano Lyubov Petrova perched herself right on Scalia’s lap and draped an arm around him. The audience to burst into applause, according to reports.

Afterwards Ginsburg said it was “an entirely enchanting evening.”

(Photos By Karin Cooper for The Washington National Opera)

More on the performance from The Baltimore Sun’s Clef Notes blog and the Associated Press.

Here’s some other legal news to kick off your week:

‘Red Flags’ of confusion: Lawyers take heed – the new “red flags” identity protection rules enacted last year are set to be enforced starting in November. Or maybe they won’t. And those rules apply to you. Or maybe they don’t. Confused yet? You are not alone. (Lawyers USA)

New sentencing commission chair: Six months after his nomination by President Barack Obama, Vermont federal district court Judge William K. Sessions III was confirmed by the Senate as chair of the United States Sentencing Commission. (Lawyers USA)

Hate crimes bill heads to POTUS: The Senate has passed an amendment to the defense spending bill that would give expand federal protections and investigatory powers in connection with hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity. (Lawyers USA)

CFPA bill advances: The House Financial Services Committee has approved legislation that would create a new agency to promulgate rules and impose penalties for unfair and deceptive trade practices, fraud and data security breaches. (Lawyers USA)

Stirring the pot: Health and law enforcement officials around the nation are scrambling to figure out how to regulate medical marijuana now that the federal government has decided it will no longer prosecute legal users or providers. (The New York Times)