Legal Grounds

Lisa T. McElroy is a law professor at the Drexel University School of Law. She regularly comments on legal issues on CBS Radio and several NPR affiliates, as well as in newspapers, journals, and blogs like the New York Times, the National Law Journal and the Huffington Post.

Can You Be Blocked From Jury Duty if You’re Gay?

Imagine that you’re called for jury duty. Maybe you’re excited – you’ve always wanted to see the justice system from inside. Maybe you’re bummed out – you’ve already been through this routine more times than you can remember. Whatever you feel, you’re likely to trust in a system that is supposed to be fair to all – including prospective jurors. And because you’re over 50 years old, you’re more likely to be selected for a jury than others in the …

Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law

Sometimes, if you fight very, very hard against injustice, you win. That’s what happened in Pennsylvania last week, where a court struck down the state’s voter ID law. As the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia described in its complaint and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania acknowledged in its opinion, the evidence of disenfranchisement is vast and the stories are compelling. The court found that “approximately 430,000 electors remain without compliant ID.”  That’s 4 percent of eligible Pennsylvania voters!  Just …

Fighting Health Care Fraud: The Power of One

Can a single federal prosecutor make much of a difference in the war against health care fraud? Yes, a new analysis of Justice Department statistics suggests. And the stakes are enormous: Fraud is thought to cost the Medicare program alone up to $90 billion each year. The analysis – from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonprofit group based at Syracuse University – shows that federal prosecutors filed a record number of new health care fraud cases in fiscal …

Risky 401(k) Investments: The Supreme Court Steps In

Do you know just how much you’re saving for your retirement? If so, you’re not alone. AARP studies show that most Americans 50 and older are thinking about and planning for their future financial security. So imagine, for a moment, that your company has a pretty generous 401(k) plan. That’s great, right? Well, in a case that the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear, the plaintiff employees say, “Not so much.” Here’s what happened to them. Fifth Third Bank, a …

Activists Who Burgled the FBI Come Forward – 43 Years Later

The holiday season is the time for big-screen blockbusters. So perhaps it’s appropriate that 2014 has ushered in a real-life tale of activists, break-ins, surveillance and the FBI that has all the makings of an action-packed, big-screen thriller. The story starts in 1971, with the Vietnam War still going strong and protests against it at their peak. One night, antiwar activists broke into an FBI field office in Media, Pa., and stole pretty much every document inside. They hit a …

Nanny Cams in Nursing Homes – Protection or Invasion of Privacy?

Imagine that your mother is in a long-term care facility. On your weekend visits, she’s told you that the nurses and aides there are taking things from her, pinching her and refusing to change her diapers when she soils them. You want to believe your mother, but you’ve been told that her nursing home is one of the best in the state. You also know that your mother has mild dementia and that when you gently raise the issue with …