Hawaii v. Trump

Jeremiah Morgan Constitutional Law, Statutory Construction, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today, we filed our seventh amicus brief in support of President Trump’s immigration actions, this time, in support of his September 24, 2017 Proclamation.  Our brief challenged the purported standing of the plaintiffs below, where the district court based standing on the Establishment Clause, but then granted the injunction based on statutory grounds.  Our brief argued that the question in this case was a political one, exceeding the scope of judicial powers, and also raised the point that the President has inherent constitutional authority over immigration.  Next, our brief demonstrated that the district court relied extensively on the Ninth Circuit’s previous opinion in Hawaii v. Trump, but that decision has since been vacated, stripping it of precedential value.  Finally, we noted that the district court failed to address the public safety basis of President Trump’s Proclamation. Read More

United States v. Kettler — Reply Brief

Jeremiah Morgan Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

Today, we filed a reply brief responding to the Government’s brief in opposition on behalf of Jeremy Kettler.  Mr. Kettler was convicted in federal district court of possessing a firearm noise suppressor that was not registered to him pursuant to the National Firearms Act (“NFA”).  Read our previous discussion of the case and opening brief here. Read More

Collins v. Virginia — Merits Brief

Jeremiah Morgan Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving a warrantless search of a motorcycle under a tarp located in the “curtilage” of a home, or the area immediately surrounding it.  Under the deeply flawed rule the Virginia Supreme Court applied, the Fourth Amendment has no bearing at all whenever an automobile or anything that resembles an automobile is being searched, irrespective of where the automobile is located.

Kenosha School District v. Whitaker

admin Statutory Construction, U. S. Supreme Court

In our brief, we challenged the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which had concluded that there was no privacy interests of other students implicated by members of the opposite sex using their restrooms.  This, we argued, rejected out of hand the long standing and universal practice of restroom separation by sex, based on nothing more than the judges’ own policy preferences.  Moreover, we argued, the court’s opinion was utterly oblivious to the numerous adverse consequences that would flow from its decision, applying not just to restrooms but to school locker rooms and showers as well, which will lead to all manner of disruption and injury to students. Read More

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado against an order of a Colorado Administrative agency which would compel a Christian baker to facilitate and participate in the celebration of a same-sex wedding.

Link to brief

Price v. Chicago

Jeremiah Morgan Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Today we filed an amicus brief in the Seventh Circuit in a case challenging the City of Chicago’s buffer zone ordinance, which was designed to prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from speaking to pregnant women at the last opportunity before they enter an abortion clinic. Our brief argued that the case should be decided as any other First Amendment case — and the First Amendment rules should not be bent because this case involves an abortion clinic. We discuss how the courts have allowed a separate abortion rights jurisprudence to have precedence over legal principles of general applicability. We also explain that the Chicago ordinance violates the often ignored First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble.”

Link to brief

Trump v. IRAP; Trump v. Hawaii

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Statutory Construction, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed our sixth brief in support of the Trump Immigration Executive Orders.  Three of those prior briefs were in the Ninth Circuit; one in the In the Fourth Circuit; and one in the U.S. Supreme Court.  In this brief, we set out four major arguments, on the critical issues which will be decided by the High Court.. Read More

In Re: Jackson Charitable Trust

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, Pennsylvania Superior Court

This important case resolves an issue of Trust Law. It addresses the issue of the respective roles of Institutional Trustees and Individual
(Family) Trustees in making distributions when the Trust Instrument grants that authority to both. PNC bank refused to process the Jackson Family to make grants to conservative, pro-liberty, pro-free enterprise charities, on the theory that they were “political.” PNC Bank wanted money distributed almost exclusively to Pittsburgh area charities and those providing direct aid to the poor. The Pennsylvania Superior Court roundly rejected the position of PNC Bank, and upheld the Jackson Family on almost every issue. Read More

United States v. Seerden

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

Today we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in defense of a service member whose cell phone was searched and seized by the military in an unlawful manner.  As we have in the Jones case, the Graham case, the Zodhiates case, and others we explain how the Fourth Amendment first and foremost protects property rights, not some vague “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Read More

Trump v. IRAP

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed in the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief supporting President Trump’s challenge to the Fourth Circuit decision which approved a Maryland judge’s injunction against his Executive Order.  Our brief supports both President Trump’s application to stay this injunction, and supports his petition for certiorari.  The brief addressed three broad points. Read More

EEOC v. Harris Funeral Home

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Statutory Construction, U. S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

Today we filed a brief in the Sixth Circuit supporting a Christian Funeral Home in a suit by the EEOC on behalf of a man employed by that funeral home who would like to dress in women’s clothing for one year as he “transitions.”   The EEOC made the naked assertion that the claim for this employee was supported by the text of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but failed to explain it.  (The provision relating to “sex” was inserted into the bill by Virginia Congressman Howard W. Smith to prohibit discrimination against women, as a poison pill to kill the bill, but it passed anyway.)  The EEOC relied solely on the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, which was said to prohibit “sexual stereotyping.”  Our brief explains the weaknesses in that decision, and why it does not apply here.  Lastly, we explained why the EEOC provision would undermine the funeral home’s Christian witness.

G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board

Michael Harless Statutory Construction, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Today we filed our third amicus brief defending the Gloucester County School Board against an ACLU challenge on behalf of a girl who would like to be a boy.  The prior litigation involved the Obama Administration’s directives to the School Board to open the boys room and boys locker and shower facilities to Gavin Grimm.  However, President Trump rescinded those guidance letters.  Therefore, the question before the Fourth Circuit no longer whether deference should be paid to the Executive Branch, but whether federal law requires School Boards to allow students to use whatever facilities they may choose to use based on the sex with which they may self-identify.  This brief was a Supplemental Brief filed in the Fourth Circuit on that statutory issue.

Brewer v. Arizona Dream Act

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, our firm was honored to have filed its 100th amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court.  This brief supported a petition for certiorari filed by the state of Arizona.  Arizona is seeking to have the Supreme Court review and reject a Ninth Circuit opinion which struck down Arizona’s decision not to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens who are part of President Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program. Read More

Hawaii v. Trump

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today, our firm filed its fourth brief in support of President Trump’s effort to impose immigration controls.  This brief supported President Trump’s second Executive Order issued on March 6, 2017 — to secure our borders against entry by those coming from select countries where their background cannot be checked. Read More

National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, we filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of a petition to protect the Crisis Pregnancy Centers in California.  The California Reproductive FACT Act requires these pro-life centers to disseminate to those who seek its services, information explaining the easy availability of taxpayer subsidized abortion.  Our brief explains that this state law violates the Declaration of Independence’s recognition of protected “unalienable rights,” violates the law of our Creator, violates the Constitution’s Free Speech protections, and violates the Free Exercise Clause.  Lastly, we explain that the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding this law has no limiting principle, and therefore could next be used to ban entirely Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the state.

United States v. Ackerman

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. District Court, District of Kansas

Today, we filed an amicus brief in support of a motion to suppress evidence in a criminal case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.  The case is on remand from an appeal to the Tenth Circuit which resulted in a decision written by Judge (now Justice) Neil Gorsuch.  Gorsuch had pointed out that the search of an email with its attachments could constitute a violation of the email owner’s property interest protected by the Fourth Amendment, applying the Supreme Court’s United States v. Jones principle.  Our amicus brief pointed out that the Jones property principle is primary, but also, the search of the email violated the defendant’s privacy interest in the communications. Read More

Patriotic Veterans v. Curtis Hill, Attorney General of Indiana

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we co-counseled the filing of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Patriotic Veterans, a nonprofit organization based in Illinois.  This Petition brings to the High Court a First Amendment challenge to an Indiana law barring most nonprofit organizations from using automated dialing equipment to conduct issue advocacy and grassroots lobbying.  Our Petition explains that the First Amendment, as reaffirmed by a long line of Supreme Court decisions, vests in each homeowner the right to decide whether to receive a visitor at a door, and that same principle applies to receiving a message delivered by telephone.  State legislators are often annoyed when constituents learn what bills are pending, and what is going on behind closed doors in the legislature.  They are particularly annoyed when constituents besiege them with messages telling them how they want them to vote.  However, state legislators have no right to enact laws to shut down issue advocacy and grassroots lobbying, intruding themselves between nonprofit organizations like Patriotic Veterans and the people of Indiana.

IRAP v. Trump

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Today, our firm filed its third brief in support of President Trump’s effort to impose immigration controls.  Our brief supported President Trump’s effort to secure our borders against entry by those coming from select countries where their background cannot be checked.  This brief was filed in the Fourth Circuit — with respect to the second Trump Executive Order issued on March 6, 2017. Read More