January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM

Memory is strange.  My son, Dan, has a savant-like ability to precisely place and describe even the most mundane events, going back to nursery school.  My recall of even important moments is foggier.  Unlike most people born before 1960, I do not remember where I was when I learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot.

However, one very distinct memory I have from my youth is where I was on January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM.

I was on a senior trip to Washington, DC, with 10 other members of my high school political science class (several of whom I remembered clearly and a few I didn’t recall being there until I looked at the newspaper photo accompanying a story on our trip).  I remember the chaperones: Greg Dean, our poli sci teacher, who was a nice guy, and guidance counselor, Dave Olson, who I will always remember as the adviser who tried to discourage me from applying to college, instead suggesting I consider vocational school.

President Richard M. Nixon delivering his inaugural address on east portico of U.S. Capitol, Januray 20, 1973The main event around which our trip was planned was Richard Nixon’s second inauguration.  In a story about our trip, the Wisconsin State Journal quoted me as saying of the inauguration: “The ceremony was very impressive, even if it was for Nixon.”  My father, who passed away last month at 88, told me that he took a lot of crap for that line, although I could tell from his crinkled eyes and poorly stifled smile that he was not the least bit displeased.

Two days after the inauguration, Lyndon Johnson died.  We were still in Washington for the funeral procession.  My most distinct memory is of Black Jack, the riderless horse with the reversed boots in the stirrups.  On January 23rd we were in the House of Representatives when Nixon announced that the Vietnam peace agreement had been reached in Paris.  That same day we met the Apollo 17 astronauts who were also visiting Congress.  It was a busy week.

Image result for supreme court of the united statesOn Monday, January 22, 1973, we visited the Supreme Court of the United States.  Little did I realize, in the moment, that I was present for what would become one of the best known and most controversial events in modern American jurisprudence.   Justice Harry Blackmun announced the decision of the Court.  I understood the decision was important, even though it only got 43 seconds on the evening news.

In 1973 I had no plans to be a lawyer.  My dreams of being a marine biologist had been dashed by my complete befuddlement in chemistry class (ironically, my son, Jeremy, has a doctorate in chemistry).  I was into wheel pottery, but I knew potter was not going to be my profession.

It was not until several years after that visit to the Court that I actually read the decision from that day.  I’d finally decided I wanted to be a lawyer, and Professor Murray Edelman assigned it in my college constitutional law class.  I read it again in law school when Professor Telford Taylor assigned it to my constitutional law class. (I wonder what Taylor, the former Nuremberg war crimes prosecutor, would think of my doing defense work at the successor war crimes tribunals in The Hague and Cambodia.)

Over the years I have watched courts and legislators chip away at that seminal 1973 decision.  Nominees to the Supreme Court have been asked about it in detail.  Recent appointments to the Supreme Court have placed the vitality of the decision in ever great doubt.

I haven’t been back into the Supreme Court (except in writing) since that day.  But this Tuesday, as on every anniversary since 1973, I will remember that I was in the Supreme Court of the United States when Justice Blackmun announced the 7-2 decision that would change the lives of so many, ignite 4 ½ decades (so far) of political battles and further fuel ever renewing efforts to interfere with the private decisions of American women.

On January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM, 17 year-old me listened in a hushed Supreme Court as the decision was announced in Roe v. Wade.

Image result for roe v wade

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Yatvin co-counsels suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.

Popper & Yatvin partner Alan L. Yatvin is serving as co-counsel in a federal class action lawsuit filed on November 1, 2018, alleging the New York City public schools routinely violate the rights of students with diabetes by denying them necessary services and even excluding them from some school activities altogether. Almost two months into another school year, many parents of children with diabetes still face the impossible choice of sending their child to school without knowing whether their child will receive the necessary diabetes-related care or keeping them at home.

Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), the American Diabetes Association (“ADA”), and Law Offices of Popper & Yatvin are suing the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) and other New York City agencies for their systemic failure to ensure that students with diabetes can attend school safely and have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers. This constitutes a clear violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Continue reading “Yatvin co-counsels suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.”

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Yatvin Key Member of Defense Team at the ICC

A decade ago Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo (Bemba) was charged by the Office of the Prosecutor (Prosecutor) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) with crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002-2003 (murder and rape as crimes against humanity, murder and rape as war crimes, and pillaging as a war crime). Mr. Bemba was President of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), a political party founded by him and based in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Commander-in-Chief of its military branch. The events giving rise to the charges took place on the territory of the CAR, during an MLC intervention to support Ange-Félix Patassé, the then President of the CAR, in suppressing a rebellion. Bemba was convicted on March 21, 2016.

Aime-kilolo
Mr. Aimé Kilolo Musamba

Bemba was represented in this Main Case at the ICC by Aimé Kilolo Musamba (Kilolo), a lawyer from DRC, who is also a French speaking member of the Brussels Bar.

In November of 2013, Mr. Kilolo and three other members of the Bemba defense team were arrested. Bemba was already in custody on the main case. Mr. Kilolo remained in custody in The Hague, seat of the ICC, for the next 11 months. Kilolo and the others were charged a few weeks later with offences against the administration of justice. Essentially, this case was about witness and evidence tampering. Continue reading “Yatvin Key Member of Defense Team at the ICC”

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Yatvin a 2018 Super Lawyer

The 2018 list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers includes Alan L. Yatvin of the Philadelphia Law Firm Popper & Yatvin.  This is Yatvin’s 15th consecutive year of being honored, having been named a Super Lawyer every year since the program’s creation in 2004.

The Super Lawyer distinction is given to only a very small percentage of Pennsylvania‘s attorneys each year.  Attorneys are only considered for inclusion in the list of top rated attorneys if they have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement across 12 indicators. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. The selection process, recognized as legitimate by bar associations and courts across the United States, is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only attorneys who can be retained by the general public are considered. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area.

A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

In other news, Martindale-Hubbell has again recognized both Yatvin and Popper & Yatvin partner Howard D. Popper with the highest possible level of professional excellence – AV Preeminent. This peer review rating reflects a combination of achieving the highest General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability ratings.  2018 marks Yatvin’s 35th year as an attorney.

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Affordable Insulin Initiative Takes a Step Forward

In the June of 2016, the Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) asked Board Member Alan L. Yatvin to chair the ADA’s Insulin Access Workgroup to address the problem of access to affordable insulin.  Charged with helping to develop and inform ADA policy, the Workgroup was made up of members and officers of the Board of Directors.  Working with then-Chief Advocacy Officer, Shereen Arent, the Workgroup developed a Resolution on Insulin Affordability which was approved by the Board on November 17, 2016.

Insulin Isn’t a LuxuryYatvin then worked with ADA staff to build and publicize an on-line petition based on the resolution, seeking transparency in the insulin supply chain and affordable insulin.  The petition also called on Congress to hold hearings to identify the reasons for the dramatic increases in insulin prices and to act to ensure all people who need insulin have affordable access to this lifesaving medication.  The Stand up for Affordable Insulin Petition, has garnered over 300 thousand signatures and is the ADA’s most successful petition. Continue reading “Affordable Insulin Initiative Takes a Step Forward”

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Yatvin addresses West African delegates at U.S. State Department program

On October 25, 2017, Popper & Yatvin partner, Alan L. Yatvin, addressed law enforcement and civil society representatives from West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal) on police reform experiences and strategies.  The program was part of the United States Department of State’s, Study Tour to Review Use of Force and De-escalation Training, Enhance Community-policing Practices, and Strengthen Interagency Coordination in the Sahel.1The Sahel is a semi-arid tropical savanna eco-region in Africa, which forms the transitional zone between the Sahara Desert to the north and the more humid savanna belt to the south known as the Sudan (not to be confused with the country of the same name).  The Sahel stretches from the Atlantic Ocean on the west, eastward through northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, the great bend of the Niger River in Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Niger, northeastern Nigeria, south-central Chad, and through the nation of Sudan to the Red Sea coast.  Co-presenting with Yatvin was Carlton L. Johnson, a former Chief of the Philadelphia City Solicitor’s Civil Rights Unit, now with the law firm of Archer & Greiner. Continue reading “Yatvin addresses West African delegates at U.S. State Department program”

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Footnotes   [ + ]

Court of Appeals agrees with Yatvin on student’s right to attorney’s fees

In 2008, Popper & Yatvin partner Alan L. Yatvin filed an administrative complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on behalf of Emily R., a second grader in the Ridley School District, in suburban Philadelphia. On March 30, 2017, after two previous appearances on this case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Yatvin was again before the Court for oral argument. Continue reading “Court of Appeals agrees with Yatvin on student’s right to attorney’s fees”

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Yatvin essay published in The Champion magazine

The May issue of The Champion, magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) contains an essay by Popper & Yatvin partner, Alan L. Yatvin.


Informal Opinion: Representing ‘Those People’ Achieves Justice

By Alan L. Yatvin

“How can you represent those people?” In three decades as a criminal defense attorney, I had heard that question many times — at cocktail parties and from prosecutors, police, victims, law students, and once even from a judge. It comes with the territory. I understand that people accused of crimes are often automatically condemned, while their lawyers are regarded with contempt. However, as I walked along that steamy January afternoon, I was shocked by the source of the question. This time it was my wife, Laura, prompted by a just completed hour-long audio tour of a former fruit orchard on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Continue reading “Yatvin essay published in The Champion magazine”

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Yatvin a 2017 Super Lawyer

The 2017 list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers includes Alan L. Yatvin of the Philadelphia Law Firm Popper & Yatvin.  This is Yatvin’s 14th consecutive year of being honored, having been named a Super Lawyer every year since the program’s creation in 2004.

The Super Lawyer distinction is given to only a very small percentage of Pennsylvania‘s attorneys each year.  Attorneys are only considered for inclusion in the list of top rated attorneys if they have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement across 12 indicators. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. The selection process, recognized as legitimate by bar associations and courts across the United States, is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only attorneys who can be retained by the general public are considered. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area.

A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

In other news, Martindale-Hubbell has again recognized both Yatvin and Popper & Yatvin partner Howard D. Popper with the highest possible level of professional excellence – AV Preeminent. This peer review rating reflects a combination of achieving the highest General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability ratings.

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Yatvin appointed Senior Legal Consultant at the ICC

On March 14, 2017, Popper & Yatvin partner Alan L. Yatvin was appointed Senior Legal Consultant to the Defence team of Mr. Aimé Kilolo Musamba in the case of The Prosecutor vs. Jean-Pierre Bemba et al. (ICC-01/05-01/13), at the International Criminal Court (ICC) sitting in The Hague, The Netherlands. Continue reading “Yatvin appointed Senior Legal Consultant at the ICC”

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