AllAboutLaw Blog: a legal perspective of the impeachment inquiry, the unexpected consequence of Disney’s success and more

This week’s edition of the AllAboutLaw blog looks at the impeachment enquiry against Trump, the double-edged sword of “Frozen 2”’s success, and the trafficking of Pakistani brides to China.

  • Last updated Dec 11, 2019 3:01:20 PM
  • Tuula Petersen
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The impeachment inquiry continues

The impeachment process against President Trump began in September concerning the alleged solicitation of the Ukranian president to provide investigations into his political rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for US military assistance.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee heard from four legal scholars about the constitutional grounds for impeaching the president. The scholars were asked to provide an interpretation of Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution. Article II, whereby the president, vice-president and all civil officers may be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other higher crimes and misdemeanours”. 

Four of the legal scholars invited to opine on the constitution were chosen by Democrats. They all agreed that Trump had committed acts worthy of impeachment. Michael Gerhardt found that: “when we apply our constitutional law to the facts found in the Mueller Report and other public sources, I cannot help but conclude that this president has attacked each of the Constitution’s safeguards against establishing a monarchy in this country”. Jonathan Turley was the legal scholar picked by the Republicans. He acknowledged that Trump’s actions were far from “perfect”.

Following these hearings, hundreds of law professors published an open letter last Friday asserting the president’s conduct as “clearly impeachable”.

The information provided by the legal scholars will contribute to the formulation of formal articles of impeachment against Trump. These will then be put to a vote in the House of Representatives, and if the vote is successful in finding sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, the Senate will be forced to hold a trial.

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“Law is traditional by definition. It is designed for gradual change. This can be a positive—for example, you may not want systems to be too pliable if democracy is under threat. But in times of crisis, when hundreds of thousands of people are suffering due to inhumane laws, the legal profession needs to adapt faster and undo the damage we’ve caused.”

Swapna Reddy, a lawyer and co-founder of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP).

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Firm News

Deloitte has launched its own legal technology incubator—Deloitte Legal Ventures, following a similar move by PWC.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has expanded its Wall Street M&A team, with the hire of four lawyers from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

A Sidley Austin partner has been disqualified from defending Huawei due to an “obvious conflict of interest”.

Clyde & Co will offer trainees a six-month seat within its data lab, to meet client demands in innovation and technology.

Clifford Chance has decreased the number of places available on its vacation scheme and is launching a new internship called LIFT to help future trainees develop business and entrepeneurial skills.

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Frozen 2: the Disney classic that may just be too successful

Frozen 2 has been a success in the box office, grossing just under $1 billion worldwide. Yet, surprisingly, the consequences of its success are not all positive. A South Korean civic group, the Public Welfare Committee, has filed a complaint with local prosecutors against Disney due to allegations that the film occupied 88% of local screens two days after its release. The NGO claims that this violates South Korea’s anti-monopoly law, whereby any individual or company with over 50% of market share is qualified as a “market-dominant enterprise”. 

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Deadlines are fast approaching to apply to vacation schemes, so make sure to submit your application soon.

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The illegal trade of brides

A file compiled by Pakistani investigators lists hundreds of Pakistani girls and women who were sold as brides to Chinese men. The list includes 629 names and provides evidence on the extent of trafficking schemes in the country. Despite its creation in June, the file has only recently been made public due to fears of damaging Pakistan’s ties with China. China’s Foreign Minister stated they were unaware such a list existed. An Associated Press investigation found some of these women were forced into prostitution. Court proceedings have begun against Pakistani and Chinese suspects, however, the Chinese defendants in the cases were all granted bail and left the country.

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Recommended reading

1. The scope of Amazon’s responsibility for products sold on its platform is at the centre of a court case at the CJEU and could have wider implications for online retailers.

2. A look back at the landmark legal case that pitted the right to travel against the right to abortion.

3. If Bosnia is to join the European Union, it must improve its justice system.

4. Snitching on fellow inmates has proved to be a successful ‘get out of jail card’ for a notorious con man.

5. The US is host to hundreds of outdated laws, yet states are not acting on removing them.

6. “How to tell the difference between persuasion and manipulation”.

7. Kashmiris are disappearing from WhatsApp—and India’s shutdown on the country’s internet is to blame.

8. Seventy Labour officials have made statements about antisemitism as part of an Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation.

9. Elon Musk has won a defamation case over the “pedo guy” description of a diver.

10. The strange case of a people smuggler who built a fake Russia-Finland border.

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