News and Happenings

Since the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling in June, I've been posting reactions to media coverage of the case as well as to the opinions filed by the dissenters. But a lot more has been going on in the world of Joe Dunman.

Following the defeat of marriage discrimination nationwide, at least two county clerks in Kentucky have refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone, citing their own anti-gay religious beliefs. In Rowan County, a team of attorneys from the ACLU and my firm (including me) has filed suit on behalf of four couples (same-sex and different-sex) to protect their right to marriage. This month, District Judge David Bunning granted our motion for preliminary injunction, ordering the clerk to resume issuing marriage licenses. That order is currently being appealed by the clerk. Meanwhile, the clerk is also seeking a stay of that injunction. Litigation in this case will likely take a long time to resolve.

In other practice news, I have secured favorable settlements for clients in numerous cases this year, most recently a case of pregnancy discrimination against a major restaurant chain. Several of my clients have also won their appeals in unemployment benefits hearings, defeating spurious claims of misconduct by their former employers.

I continue to write periodically for Insider Louisville. My article opposing legislation to excuse county clerks from having to do their jobs was shared over three thousand times on social media. Other pieces, such as a criticism of the local Fraternal Order of Police president's inflammatory language against protesters and a call to help existing residents of Portland transform their own neighborhood (rather than be gentrified by outsiders) were also popular. My most recent piece tackles the futile and troublesome jaywalking crackdown proposed by local police.

The day before the Obergefell decision, I received a first place award in the category of political commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists for my writing in Insider Louisville. I've also been selected, for the second year in a row, as a "Rising Star" by the Super Lawyers professional rating organization. 

I'm also writing academically. I am now in the final revision stage on a law review article tracing how Bowers v. Hardwick - the 1986 Supreme Court case upholding sodomy laws - continues to control judicial decisionmaking despite its overrule by Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. The article will be published in the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review later this year. This will be my second published law review article with more in the works.

And finally, my colleague Dan Canon and I have launched a podcast called The Parade of Horribles. Why? Because we love to hear ourselves talk, of course. But we also love to talk to interesting people doing civil rights work, so each episode features a special guest. In Episode 1 we spoke to attorney Chris Gadansky about defending police in abuse of force cases and his role in extinguishing whistleblower protections for city employees. In Episode 2, law professor Sam Marcosson joined us to talk about Obergefell, gay marriage, and that time he worked for Clarence Thomas. In Episode 3, attorney Becca O'Neill helped us dispel common myths about immigration law in the United States. So far the podcast has been tremendous fun, and has attracted a decent-sized audience despite being brand new and focused on legal issues. The podcast is available at Soundcloud and through iTunes. Subscribe if you don't mind.