Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Southern District of New York’

20th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission was recently noted for comments regarding the future economic prospects of the ASEAN Community. In order to provide further information regarding these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The Philippine Star, PhilStar.com

KUALA LUMPUR (Xinhua) – As global stock markets tumbled over the week in response to the US credit woes and the Europe debt crisis, Malaysia’s Securities Commission chairman, Zarinah Anwar holds a positive view that markets in Southeast Asia is strong enough to fend off the crisis…”Domestic demand is still strong and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) has to continue to look at its neighbours to pick up selective demands that may arise as a result of the economic woes in our traditional export markets,” she aded. ASEAN’s effort towards an integrated regional economy, with 2015 as a deadline, also contributed to ASEAN’s sound environment…Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines are in the process of developing a cross-trading arrangement linking their trading system, giving investors direct access to other markets. Currently, Bursa Malaysia, Singapore Stock Exchange, Vietnam’s Hanoi Stock Exchange and Hochiminh Stock Exchange, the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the Philippines Stock Exchange Inc have already linked up on a website labelled as “ASEAN exchanges” which provides investors with access to check the top stocks in the region…[sic]

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this fascinating article in detail.

There has been a great deal of discussion surrounding the future of the economies in the jurisdictions comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). In fact, there has even been discussion about a possibly unified ASEAN visa similar to that utilized by some of the members of Schengen area in Europe. As of yet, such discussion has yet to yield tangible results, but there are those who hope that further discourse on the topic may result in a unified visa of some kind coming into being. Hopefully, ASEAN continues along the path of economic growth to the benefit of all concerned.

In news pertaining to the continuing struggle for LGBT Equality it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American government appears to have noted the un-Constitutionality of certain provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) in the US Courts. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the website of Metro Weekly, MetroWeekly.com:

Back on July 1, the Department of Justice took a big step in defining what its Feb. 23 decisionthat the federal definition of marriage found in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional would look like. In Karen Golinski’s case seeking equal health benefits for her wife, DOJ argued that the case should not be tossed out of court and should be allowed to proceed. On Aug. 19, DOJ went a step further, telling a judge in the Southern District of New York that Edith Windsor — who is seeking a refund of the more than $350,000 estate tax bill that she had to pay because her marriage to her deceased wife, Thea Spyer, was not recognized by the federal government — should be granted that refund because DOMA’s federal definition of marriage is unconstitutional…This is the first time the government stated affirmatively in court that a lawsuit requiring that Section 3 of DOMA be struck down as unconstitutional should succeed…[sic]

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more about these developments in detail.

For those unfamiliar with the current immigration implications of DOMA it should be noted that said legislation precludes accordance of US visa benefits such as the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, or the IR-1 visa to same sex couples even where the couple has entered into a same sex marriage in a American State jurisdiction which legalizes such unions. Currently, proposed legislation such as Representative Jerrold Nadler‘s Uniting American Families Act and the Respect for Marriage Act would rectify this current discrimination to one degree or another, but the ultimate fate of these bills remains to be seen.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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12th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the often venerated alternative media outlet ZeroHedge.com has posted an analysis of issues pertaining to a proposed change to the forms used by those seeking a US Passport. To provide further insight it is necessary  to quote directly from the Zero Hedge website, ZeroHedge.com

In the US, the government now requires all citizens to have a passport in order to pass the border, even when driving into Mexico or Canada. Obtaining a passport, however, is neither free nor guaranteed.  You must apply, pay an ever-increasing fee, and wait for weeks to be approved and receive it. Recently, the State Department quietly proposed a new ‘biographical questionnaire’ in lieu of the traditional passport application. The new form requires you to provide things like:

- names, birth places, and birth dates of your extended family members
– your mother’s place of employment at the time of your birth
– whether or not your mother received pre-natal or post natal care
– the address of your mother’s physician and dates of appointments
– the address of every place you have ever lived in your entire life
– the name and address of every school you have ever attended

Most people would find it impossible to provide such information, yet the form requires that the responses ‘are true and correct’ under penalty of imprisonment. Naturally, the privacy statement on the application also acknowledges that the responses can be shared with other departments in the government, including Homeland Security. If this proposal passes, then US citizens will have a nearly insurmountable hurdle to obtain a passport and be able to leave the country at will…

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted prior to this excerpt. Also, it is advisable to click upon the hyperlinks contained within this quotation in order to understand this situation in context.

Each year, many Americans traveling abroad, or those Americans resident abroad, renew their passport at an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. It has always been this blogger’s opinion that personnel of the Department of State who handle such matters do so in an efficient and courteous manner. Meanwhile, many United States Citizens opt to seek passport renewal in the USA. This blogger has undertaken both endeavors and in each case the officers involved processed the request quickly and with little difficulty. Although it remains to be seen how the proposed questionnaire would actually impact the processing of passport issuance requests one can hope that the process will not become overly cumbersome.

In news pertaining to the struggle for LGBT Equality, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that a woman in the sovereign State of New York is challenging the legal status and Constitutionality of the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). In order to provide the reader with some relevant insight it is necessary to quote directly from an article by Mark Hamblett for the New York Law Journal posted on Law.com:

Challengers to the federal Defense of Marriage Act insist that every justification offered by Congress for defining marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman is contrary to logic and the law. In summary judgment papers filed in the Southern District of New York, lawyers for Edith Schlain Windsor argue that there is no good reason for treating her marriage to the late Thea Clara Spyer any differently than a heterosexual union. Read Ms. Windsor’s motion and memorandum. Ms. Windsor’s lawyers call the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) a radical measure and a clear violation of the right to equal protection of the laws under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “DOMA is a sweeping statute that rewrites over one thousand federal laws and overturns the federal government’s long-standing practice of deferring to state determinations of marital status,” the lawyers claim in a memorandum asking Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV for summary judgment in the case of Windsor v. United States, 10-cv-8435. “Throughout history, the federal government has never married people, leaving that to the states…”

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read about this case in detail.

Those unfamiliar with the current predicament of the LGBT community should note that in immigration matters same sex bi-national couples, even those who have entered into a same sex marriage in one of the sovereign American States which legalize and/or solemnize such unions, are unable to petition for the same immigration benefits as their different-sex counterparts. In order to attempt to remedy this particular discrepancy Representative Jerrold Nadler recently introduced legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). The Respect for Marriage Act was also introduced by Representative Nadler in order to remedy the issue of “certainty” in such cases. As of the time of this writing, neither of these bills has seen enactment although there has been recent news that the Senate Judiciary Committee may be holding hearings pertaining to the Respect for Marriage Act soon. On a related note, the Reuniting Families Act, which apparently includes UAFA-like language, was lately introduced by Representative Mike Honda although passage of this legislation remains to be seen.

There is certainly an “equal protection” component to any argument against DOMA, but relatively few commentators seem to take note of the fact that the way DOMA is currently enforced may also violate notions of States’ Rights. Generally, matters pertaining to the prerogatives of the Several States are debated by the United States Congress before enactment of legislation which maintains interstate compliance with the provisions of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. In this case, Congress has arguably abrogated the notion of Full Faith and Credit inherent in the provisions of the Full Faith and Credit Clause since section 3 of DOMA effectively renders the prerogatives of the sovereign States ineffective when it comes to the issue of same sex marriage.

The issues associated with DOMA have yet to be fully resolved, but it seems likely that these matters may remain contentious both inside the Courtrooms of America and elsewhere.

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