Ulbricht v. United States

admin Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed an amicus brief in support of a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court addressing important Fourth And Sixth Amendment issues.  The investigation into Ross WilliamUlbricht, the founder of the “Silk Road” website, involved numerous Fourth Amendment violations in the search and seizure of his Internet Communications records.   Additionally, Ulbricht had been sentenced to life imprisonment, and there is now no parole in the federal system, based on a judge’s findings of fact based on the preponderance of the evidence, in violation of his right to a jury trial.

Link to brief

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security v. Regents of U. California (DACA)

admin Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed another brief relating to President Obama’s unconstitutional DACA policy — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This brief supported the Trump Administration’s to obtain U.S. Supreme Court before judgment review of a nationwide injunction issued by District Judge William H. Alsup.

Link to brief

National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra

admin Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed an amicus brief in the United Sates Supreme Court on the merits to help protect the Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) of California from a California law which mandates that the CPCs provide information about the availability of abortions.  We had earlier filed an amicus brief in support of NIFLA’s petition for certiorari.

Our brief was filed on behalf of Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Free Speech Coalition, Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, One Nation Under God Foundation, Pass the Salt Ministries, Eberle Associates, Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, Restoring Liberty Action Committee, and The Transforming Word Ministries. Read More

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 Reply Brief here.

 

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. Read More

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..

First, we explain that as written and as applied the Establishment Clause only applies to efforts to “establish” a religion, and not supposedly disfavor a religion.  (That is why it is sometimes called the “no establishment” clause.)  We then explain the sources of the President’s authorities to restrict immigration and refugee admission. We discuss the vast power of the President over refugees.  Lastly, we discuss the phony finding of animus as a rationale for judicial usurpation of the power of the political branches.  (We even explain how the theories of Saul Alinsky could have helped fashion the complaint against President Trump. Read More

Zarda v. Altitude Express

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

Today, we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sitting en banc, where we are opposing efforts by radical homosexuals to convince liberal judges in New York to re-write the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination against homosexuals in employment.

Currently, the 1964 federal law bars discrimination in employment on the basis of “sex” and “race.”  However, in Zarda, lawyers for a homosexual skydiving instructor (since deceased from a skydiving accident) are claiming “sex” includes “sexual orientation,” and that Zarda was fired from his job because he was gay. Read More

United States v. Kettler

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

Today, we filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit as co-counsel for the defendant, 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”).

In purchasing his suppressor, Mr. Kettler had relied on the Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act which states that a firearm or firearm accessory (such as a suppressor) that is manufactured, owned, and kept entirely within the borders of Kansas is not subject to any federal law. When Mr. Kettler revealed that he purchased such a suppressor, however, agents from the Obama Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) swooped in to make an example of Mr. Kettler, and his co-defendant Mr. Cox. 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

United States v. Zodhiates

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

Today we filed a brief in the Second Circuit challenging the Government’s use of cell phone location information obtained from a cell phone provider in response to a grand jury subpoena.  We explain that under the Jones and Jardines textual/historic analysis that the cell phone user has a protected privacy interest in these records.

Accordingly, under the Fourth Amendment, the Government must seek them by warrant issued from a judicial officer issued “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” 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.

First, we explain how the rationale underlying the district and circuit court decision undermines the President’s inherent and statutory authority to control immigration into the United States.  We ask the Court to consider whether this rationale could also be applied to enjoin Presidentially ordered military operations against Islamic nations. Read More

Soto v. Bushmaster

Michael Harless Firearms Law, Supreme Court of Connecticut

Today, May 30, 2017, we filed an amicus brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court in support of gun manufacturers Bushmaster and Remington, who had been sued by the families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims.

The plaintiffs in the case had brought a “negligent entrustment” claim, arguing that the AR-15 style rifle should never have been sold because it was foreseeable that it would be used in the crime.  However, as we pointed out, neither the manufacturer, distributor, nor dealer did anything wrong with respect to this particular sale — the essence of a legal negligent entrustment claim.  Rather, the Plaintiffs instead were making the policy argument that generally no one should ever be permitted to sell any AR-15.  In other words, they were asking judges to legislate to ban AR-15 style rifles. Read More