Looking Forward After Kennedy v. Bremerton School District

by Jack Ruello

Introduction

In the summer of 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District significantly changed the rights of many Americans by expanding the protection of the Free Exercise Clause. Historically, there has been tension between the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause with respect to balancing the rights of a person’s freedom to practice their religion against the public’s interest in separation of church and state.[1] The Free Exercise Clause grants Americans the right to practice any religion of their choosing, if any at all.[2] Incidentally, the Establishment Clause prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another by mandating a separation of church and state.[3] The facts in Bremerton also bring the Free Speech Clause into play due to the bifurcated nature of analyzing free speech.[4] This Blog Post will analyze the implications arising from the Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.

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Cooking Caremark? Amendment to Delaware General Corporation Law Permits Exculpation of Corporate Executive Officers

by Blake Vick

Introduction

For several decades, Delaware law has permitted corporations to eliminate or limit corporate directors’ personal liability to the corporation or its stockholders for monetary damages arising from breaches of a director’s fiduciary duty of care.[1] This corporate elimination or limitation of directors’ personal liability is known as exculpation. Traditionally, Delaware law permitted exculpation from personal liability only as to directors.[2] Corporate exculpation of director liability has become “ubiquitous” in the 35-plus years since its introduction to corporate law.[3] Effective August 1, 2022, Section 102(b)(7) of the Delaware General Corporation Law has been amended to extend the traditional, director-only exculpation allowance.[4] Per the amendment, Delaware corporations may now exculpate from personal liability both corporate directors and certain executive officers.[5]

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Sailing Into the Sunset? The Unified Gift and Estate Tax Lifetime Exemption, Set to Sunset and Revert to Pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Levels in 2026, Says Otherwise

by Jack Aguillard

Introduction

With the federal gift and estate tax lifetime exemption amount currently set to sunset and return to pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act levels in 2026,[1] tax and estate planning attorneys and other professionals are facing huge uncertainties. The gross estate threshold amount excluded from the estate tax will essentially be reduced by 50% from $10 million to $5 million.[2] However, these figures are indexed annually for inflation, so the current threshold amount in 2022 is $12.06 million.[3] Although these taxes affect a very small percentage of the American population—roughly only 0.2% of decedents paid the estate tax in recent years[4]—they still create big issues. Specifically, attorneys and advisors in this area will soon be forced to speculate as to whether Congress will revive the current lifetime exemption limit or allow it to sunset, reverting back to the pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act amount.

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The First Circuit Court of Appeal’s Limitations on a Usufructuary’s Rights: Cole v. Thomas

by Macy Spencer

Introduction

Louisiana law grants different rights and obligations to usufructuaries and naked owners.[1] A usufructuary who reserves a lifetime usufruct over a property has the right to enjoy the property as she pleases, and the naked owner has an obligation to not interfere with that enjoyment.[2] However, in Cole v. Thomas, the First Circuit Court of Appeal limited the right of the usufructuary when it held that the usufructuary could not evict the naked owner solely on the basis that the usufructuary no longer desired the naked owner to live on the property.[3]

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Puff, Puff, Passed: Governor John Bel Edwards Greenlights Smokable Medical Marijuana with the Passage of House Bill 391

by Harper G. Street

Introduction

Historically, when the media has discussed the question of marijuana legalization in the United States, Louisiana was not among the states that experts predicted would ever pass pro-cannabis legislation.[1] Since 2015, however, the state has taken several steps to ensure that medical marijuana becomes available to people suffering from ailments that can be treated with THC products.[2] Though it has been a slow and incremental process, the proliferation of marijuana legislation in Louisiana evidences that the legislature is taking meaningful steps to formulate the most progressive drug-related policy the state has ever seen.

Notably, Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed House Bill 391 into law, allowing, in part, for the Louisiana Medical Marijuana Program to provide raw, smokable cannabis to its patients with a doctor’s recommendation.[3] Prior to the enactment of this bill, only THC oils, edible gummies, and processed tinctures were available for patients in the program to purchase.[4] These changes not only have the benefit of pushing Louisiana towards adopting a more progressive marijuana policy as a whole, but they also make medical marijuana itself much more readily available to the numerous patients who truly need it.

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