How the 117th U.S. Congress Can Preserve American Democracy

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The 51 State Flag

Over the last half century Americans have developed a romanticism with the pageantry of a fifty-state nation. It’s easy to see why — The white stars representing each State line with perfect symmetry across the blue of the American flag. 100 US. Senators sit in Congress every year and vote on issues with a clean 50-person majority. And, perhaps most notably, the simplicity provides a comforting sense of stability to our nations basic structure.

None of those are ultimately compelling reasons to keep it that way. Like the 435-seat U.S. House cap inherited from a 1911 Reapportionment Law, there is no Constitutional or legal mandate to maintain fifty states. In fact, the reasons to not maintain this rather arbitrary number of states are far more more pressing when you consider there are currently millions of tax paying American citizens spread across several U.S. …


How the 117th U.S. Congress Can Preserve American Democracy

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U.S. House Apportionment 2010

America has maintained a nucleus of 435 elected seats in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1913. It does not have to be this way. In fact, if decided by James Madison, luminary Father of the U.S. Constitution, we might have closer to 6,000 seated members today.

While 6,000 may be a bit of overkill, expanding the number of U.S. House Representatives is one of the most impactful changes to preserving American democracy over the next century. To understand the importance of this paradigm shift we should start with the 1st United States Congress in 1789, when it nearly became the First Amendment to the U.S. …


A History of Misleading Maps

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“Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Méjico by John Disturnell, the 1847 map used during the negotiations of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Growing up in New Mexico I took my identity rather for granted. My food was New Mexican, beans and squash and corn and deep fried sopapillas dripping in red and green chile. My family was New Mexican, descendants of Spanish colonists tracking back to the late 16th century who settled along the bosque of the Rio Grande before British settlers had set roots in Massachusetts or Virginia.

The unique blend of New Mexican cultures were especially strong in my hometown of Taos. In summers we celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and star spangled flags, Las Fiestas de Don Fernando de Taos with old Spanish music and flair, the harvest celebrations of San Geronimo Day with dances and food at the Taos Pueblo with our Native American friends. My father, a history professor at the University of New Mexico-Taos, was always proud to point our our deep roots in the region, and blend of distinctive attributes that spanned Native history, Spanish governance, Mexican revolution, and eventual American statehood. …


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The thick snowflakes fell upward as I stepped back.

They floated from beneath my shoes, past my eyes, into the darkened night sky above. The smoky chill of my breath was drawn back into my lungs, full of joy, because she was out there waiting, in Paris, for me.

It was Christmas Eve on the Eiffel Tower. I was wrapped in a fine black coat, a present from the girl I loved. The thick grey scarf around my neck had also been a gift, but from another side of my heart.

“You should never go chasing across the world for any girl,” my brother had warned with a wink as I opened his present. …


Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States released something rare in the intellectual property law world — an opinion striking down an entire clause of the Lanham Act, the primary governing federal trademark law of the United States of America.

In Matal v. Tam the Court reached an unanimous 8–0 decision (newly appointed Justice Gorsuch did not take part) to find in favor of the the Asian-American rock band “The Slants” and named plaintiff, lead singer Simon Tam.

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The Supreme Court. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

History of Dispute

The Slants, via Tam, had originally filed for a federal trademark in class 041 for “Entertainment in the nature of live performances by a musical band” services with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2010. Their application was denied when the examiner of record found the name in violation of the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act, which had been interpreted to prevent the federal registration of marks that disparage the members of a racial or ethnic group. …


How one piece of advice during the darkest era of my professional life changed the course of my career for the better

In October of 2011 I found myself at a crossroads. The aftershocks of the Great Recession still echoed and groaned across the country, collapsing entire industries onto each other like dominoes. While many areas of the labor force were struck, few were shaken to their foundations as the once proud legal profession. Between 2008 and 2009 large law firms laid off an estimated 6% of their total attorney workforce, including many associates with 1 to 3 years of experience. …

About

Carlos F. Romero

Tech Attorney, Author

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