Weekly Round-Up: April 18th, 2014


  • During Congressional debates over the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, one of the main topics was whether federal and state tax dollars would be used for the purpose of abortion. The compromise was that it would be up to the states to decide, and so far, 26 states, including New York, allow abortion through plans purchased on the Marketplace. However, even in these 26 states, access to information about whether a particular plan covers the cost of abortion is reported to be very hard to find. To read more, click here. (NPR)


  • Charlie Wells explores the issue of college loan debt and divorce in this piece for the Washington Post. “College students who took out loans and earned bachelor’s degrees in 2012 graduated with an average $29,400 in educational debt,” states Wells. The division of the debt will depend on the state where the couple seek a divorce. For example, in some states where one spouse’s debt is viewed as marital property the other spouse may be ordered to provide temporary spousal support based 0n the individual spouse’s ability to pay back the student loans. In New York professional degrees can be considered marital property, according to the Court of Appeals in O’Brien v. O’Brien. ​(Washington Post)


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Weekly Round-Up: April 11th, 2014


  • The Chancellor of the Department of Education has proposed a new regulation that will shift the guidelines for promoting 3rd through 8th grade students based on test scores to a more individual, performance based assessment. Teachers will be required to put together portfolios for students who are struggling and leave it up to the principal to decide whether the child should be promoted or would benefit from summer school. (WNYC)

Health Care

  • The White House has announced that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, will resign and Sylvia Mathews Burwell will take her place.  Burwell has been the director of the Office of Management and Budget since last April.  Many speculate that Sebelius is stepping down due to a marred relationship with President Obama over the rocky roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.  For more information, please click here. (NYTimes)

Municipal ID Cards

  • The New York City Council has introduced a bill that would allow NYC residents to obtain a New York City municipal ID card. The reason for these ID cards is to alleviate some of the basic challenges undocumented immigrants and other people face who don’t have government identification. For example, the ID card could help people with opening bank accounts and having access to public facilities. For an article on the bill, please click here. (CBS)

Juvenile Justice

  • Governor Cuomo has announced the names of those who will serve on the Commission for Youth, Public Safety and Justice.  This commission is tasked with coming up with juvenile justice recommendations this year.  
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Weekly Round-Up: April 4th, 2014


  • New York Law School’s Safe Passage Project initiative, which assists immigrant children who are facing possible deportation with their immigration matters, was recently featured by NY Daily News. The article follows Ian, a 3 year old from Mexico, while he was in court, and discusses the assistance that Safe Passage provides to Ian and many other children. According to Professor Lenni Benson, founder of Safe Passage, over 12% of the more than 6,000 cases on New York’s immigration docket are juveniles. Many of these children are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. (NY Daily News)

2014-2015 State Budget Agreement

The State Legislature approved the 2014-2015 budget on March 29th, 2014. Included in the budget are important changes for the Family Court and Education. Some highlights include:

Family Court-

  • The State Legislature approved the creation of 20 new Family Court Judgeships and allocated $5 million towards the Family Court Judgeship approval.


  • The budget increased the amount of school aid by $1.1 billion, 70% of which will go towards high-needs school districts.
  • The budget promoted the growth of charter schools by, among other things, providing for free space in public schools and also increased tuition funding for charter school students.
  • The budget provided for $1.5 billion over 5 years for the State-Wide Universal Pre-Kindergarten program, including up to $300 million for New York City for 2014-15.
  • The budget created a new scholarship fund which will provide a full scholarship to either SUNY or CUNY schools, offered to high school students who perform in the top 10th percentile and wish to pursue a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math program and who will work in New York for 5 years.
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Abbey Center Capstone Projects: Student Contributions to Family Law Practice

by: Susan Imam

On April 2nd, 2014 New York Law School held its sixth annual Faculty/Student Presentation Day. Among those presenting were four Abbey Center Associates who discussed their Capstone projects. Capstones are independent research projects that also serve a practical purpose, and generally are done in collaboration with a non-profit organization or government agency. The panel included Michael Cabasso (3L), Mallory McGee (2L), Janine Diljohn (4L), and Sabine Rospide (4L).

  • Michael Cabasso began the panel discussing community based programs for court-involved youth and proposed a guide for judges, attorneys, youth and others of the alternative services. Michael worked with the New York Center for Juvenile Justice.
  • Mallory McGee, who worked with the Queens County District Attorney’s office on Saturdays, presented on the Queens County District Attorney’s Office Weekend Intern program and introduced a guide for future interns.
  • Janine Diljohn discussed health care proxies and powers of attorney and how they both can be used by the ill and elderly. Janine worked with The Family Center.
  • Sabine Rospide concluded the panel by proposing a new divorce mediation clinic at NYLS which would allow students the opportunity, working under the supervision of an attorney, to assist a couple in negotiating the terms of their divorce and completing the paperwork. Sabine worked with the New York Legal Assistance Group. 

Congratulations to the presenters and thank you to everyone who attended the presentation.

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Weekly Round-Up: March 28, 2014


  • A recent federal court decision reviewing the Texas law passed last year which placed heavier restrictions on abortion clinics and doctors, found that the laws did not place an unconstitutional burden on a women’s access to abortion. The new law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic and also places strict limits on a doctor’s ability to prescribe abortion-inducing pills. As a result of the recent decision, over a dozen abortion clinics will be shut down that fail to comply with the 30-mile hospital rule. For more about this law, please click here. (HuffingtonPost)


  • A recent study by the UCLA Civil Rights Project has shown that New York City schools are among the most segregated throughout the country.  According to the report, up to 85% of Black and Latino students attend “intensely segregated” schools.  The study also shows that over half New York City schools are more than 90% black or hispanic.  For more on the report, please click here. (Chalkbeat)


  • Last week, 300 same-sex Michigan couples were married before a federal appeals court granted a stay to stop the weddings from being performed.  Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government will recognize the marriages.  Recognition from the federal government allows for these couples to receive all relevant federal benefits.  For more information about this announcement, please click here. (Washington Post)

Public Health

  • The Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH) group has brought a suit against the City for the ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces.
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