The Musk Era Begins at Twitter
From the time many of us went to bed on Thursday until we woke up on Friday, Elon Musk completed his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter.
Musk immediately fired CEO, Parag Agrawal, and CFO, Ned Segal. Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, who was ultimately responsible for former President Trump’s ouster from the site, was also immediately fired.
While Musk told Twotter advertisers earlier this week that Misk-era Twitter would not become a “hellscape,” Twitter is poised to become, well, a hellscape.
As attorney Jason Matzus points out:
“Twitter is a massive social forum that wields a lot of power to control what is said, how it’s said, and who says it.”
Musk tweeted “the bird is free,” upon taking control of the company. What the nature of the freedom actually will be is anyone’s best guess today.
There is no doubt that Twitter will change. What it becomes, and how many people who have threatened to leave the Musk-controlled platform actually do remains to be seen.
Will Ye Still Yeezy?
This week the news only got worse for Ye, as Adidas severed their lucrative relationship.
Attorney Lauren Scardella, co-founder of njladylawyers.com points out something critical about the nature of celebrity:
“When we watch celebrities cross the line with their public positions and statements, we collectively wonder where the pushback will become too much.”
Over the course of the past week, Ya has been dropped by brands and entities such as Adidas, Gap (who immediately deactivated the GAP/Yeezy site), Creative Artists Agency, Vogue, Balenciaga, and even the BigLaw firm that represents him. On Wednesday night, we learned that Ye’s Donda Academy, a private Christian K-8 school in Los Angeles, was closing “with immediate effect.”
While it’s clear that the Ye brand is imploding/ has imploded, Ye the person will find a way to stay in our news feeds. One of these ways will be through his inevitable involvement in the legal system. Who will ultimately own the Yeezy brand will be a matter for the courts to decide. Adidas surely believes that Ye was simply a collaborator in creating a shoe, which Ye believes that he is Yeezy.
Here We Go. Again?
After the debate, the Pennsylvania Senate race is a dead heat in my eyes. There is a strong argument to be made that it was less than humane to subject John Fetterman to the debate still relatively soon after his stroke. Nonetheless, he persevered, made it through the debate, and now faces just under two weeks until the midterms.
Yet it seems that the courts, rather than just the voters, are going to ultimately decide who’s in control of the Senate.
An unsurprising but disturbing Rolling Stone piece this week indicated that former President Trump has been working behind the scenes to plan challenges to the midterm elections, similar to his failed challenges of the 2020 presidential election.
According to Rolling Stone, the plans are for the challenges to launch in Pennsylvania, in response to what many observers feel might be a much closer Fetterman victory than had been predicted.
Tim George, a Pennsylvania lawyer, reminds us that patience is a virtue:
“Not just potentially Pennsylvania, but a number of key states in House and Senate races may not be settled on election night. The legal system is built to differentiate valid from invalid election challenges, so we should let the courts do their work when the time comes.”
Oh No, Simo!
Those of us who are massive tennis fans couldn’t escape the news that one of the most beloved women on the WTA Tour, Romania’s Simona Halep, was provisionally suspended for failing a drug test.
As this week has unfolded, so did the news of Halep’s World Anti-Doping Agency finding. All of this allegedly happened at the U.S. Open, where a drug-control sample taken from Halep tested positive for Roxadustat, a banned performance-enhancing drug with effects similar to erythropoietin (EPO), the blood-doping drug that’s long been linked to pro cycling.
These shades of Lance Armstrong aside, Halep has had a massive outpouring of support from the tennis community, with many top current and former pros vouching for her honesty and fair play.
John Lawlor, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, observed that:
“Before these findings are made public, the sport drug-testing agencies are required to very closely follow protocols and procedures, including testing both the A and B samples, as was allegedly done here. There is always a legally-mandated way for the athlete to appeal, which will be the case here.”
Halep’s fans around the world hope that a relatively quick resolution will have her back on tour soon.
Brittney Griner Appeal Denied
On Tuesday, Brittney Griner had the appeal of her conviction and nine-year sentence denied by a Moscow court. News soon followed that she might be transferred to a penal colony to serve her sentence.
With two weeks until the midterm elections, there may be no better opportunity for the Biden administration to gain public favor by finding a way to bring her home now in a prisoner swap. Yet, as Michael Epstein, a lawyer who closely follows the intersection of sports and the law, observes:
“Diplomacy can often take longer than we would like for it to take – that’s part of its nature. Like the law, it can be slow-moving and sometimes difficult to understand. But we have to believe that the right people are working behind the scenes to get Brittney Griner back to the United States.”
I was on FOX News this week commenting on this sad turn of events in the Griner case.
Georgia Will Extend to January
This week’s news revealed that the alleged misdeeds of Georgia Senate candidate and former NFL and USFL star, Herschel Walker, may have extended beyond what we previously understood,
Attorney Nanicanne Aydelotte reminds us that:
“Under Georgia law, if neither Rev. Warnock nor Mr. Walker receives more than 50% of the vote on November 8th, the Senate race will go to a runoff to be held on December 6th. Only the two candidates who receive the most votes make it to the run-off.”
This has been a fascinating race from the beginning. As per ABC’s FiveThirtyEight, back in April, Walker had close to 51% of the votes, according to FiveThirtyEight’s methodology, which, essentially, aggregates and rates polls. Today, Warnock is projected to have a 2.3% lead, but with a predicted 47.3% of the vote, it falls far short (in election terms) of the 50% needed to avoid a run-off.
The reality is that a very close December run-off vote will be challenged, which means that we could find ourselves very close to January until we have a definitive winner of this crucially important Senate race – one that could determine control of the Senate.
Supreme Court Ends Their Pause
Last week the Supreme Court had nothing on the calendar, while this week found them having only a case conference meeting on Friday.
But next Monday, the Court is back at it with not two or four, but five oral arguments, two of which, on Monday, have been much-anticipated.
The two Monday arguments, Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, both look at whether the Supreme Court should overrule Grutter v. Bollinger and, essentially, hold that institutions of higher education cannot use race as a factor in admissions.
Joseph Froetschel, a Pittsburgh lawyer, commented:
“The Supreme Court must have seen some fact patterns in these two cases that motivated them to grant certiorari where they have declined to do so in seemingly very similar cases.”
I’ll closely follow the oral arguments on Monday and either write about them in a new piece or do a summary here next week.
Until next week, be well!
About Aron Solomon
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital and 24-7 Abogados. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, NewsBreak, and many other leading publications.