Hamilton v. Pallozzi

admin Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Today, we filed our second amicus brief in this case, in support of a petition for rehearing en banc in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  We urged the Fourth Circuit to rehear the case, because the panel decision ignored the requirements of the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit clause.  The issue involved a Maryland resident’s right to purchase and possess firearms despite the judicial removal of disability to own firearms by a Virginia court after a Virginia conviction.

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Welch v. Brown

admin Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, we filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of a petition for writ of certiorari, asking the Court to review a California ban on mental health providers pro-hetrosexual therapies to minors.  Interestingly, the California law, SB 1172, does not ban pro-homosexual therapies.  We reject the notion that the Free Exercise Clause was written to give special rights to religious people.  We explain that SB 1172 violates the Free Exercise Clause, which operates as a jurisdictional barrier to the power of States, barring California’s encroachment upon matters of opinion outside its civil jurisdiction.  We also demonstrated that the State’s inherent police power does not permit it to conditioning licensing in order to suppress politically correct and morally unpopular medical treatments under the guise of protecting minors.

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Peruta v. California

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

Today we filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the petition for certiorari filed in the Peruta challenge to California concealed carry laws.  Our brief, however, urged the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to review a broader issue than that sought by the petitioners, and based on a more robust understanding of the protections afforded by Second Amendment than that urged by petitioners.

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Washington v. Trump

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

Today we filed a brief in support of rehearing by the Ninth Circuit en banc, of the Ninth Circuit’s motions panel denial of the Trump Administration’s motion for a stay of the Temporary Restraining Order issued by a federal district judge in Washington State enjoining operation of the President’s Executive Order on immigration and refugees.

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USJF Legal Policy Paper: The Dangerous Proposal for an Article V Constitutional Convention

admin Constitutional Law, Publications

Today, Bill Olson and Herb Titus co-authored a Legal Policy Paper for the United States Justice Foundation on the serious dangers associated with the calling of an Article V Constitutional Convention. The paper addressed two false premises underlying the proposal: 1. The problem of big government is found in the text of the U.S. Constitution, which can be corrected by changing the words of the document. 2. The only remedy to the problem of an out-of-control federal government is changing the Constitutional text. Additionally, our paper addressed the two false assurances being offered by those demanding that state legislatures put at risk all of our constitutional protections: 1. There is no danger of a Runaway Convention. 2. A small minority of the State Legislatures can stop bad proposals from being ratified.

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State of Washington v. Donald J. Trump

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

Today we filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit in support of a motion to stay a Temporary Restraining Order issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, which prohibited enforcement of several sections of President Trump’s recent Executive Order temporarily suspending entry of certain immigrants and refugees into the United States.

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Valpak Comments on the U.S. Postal Service FY 2016 Annual Compliance Report

admin Administrative Law, Postal Law

Today we filed comments on behalf of Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc. and Valpak Franchise Association with the Postal Regulatory Commission (“PRC”).  These comments related to the Postal Service’s Annual Compliance Report, filed each year.  After considering those comments, the PRC issues its Annual Compliance Determination, which is expected by the end of March 2017.

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Citizens United v. Schneiderman

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

Today we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit opposing efforts by the Attorney General of New York from implementing new procedures requiring every nonprofit organization which solicits funds in that state to provide him with the names, addresses, and donation amounts of the organization’s largest donors.  Although the Attorney General of New York insists that the information would be kept by him and not shared with the public, the First Amendment protects Americans from divulging their anonymous political activities to politicians — especially highly political politicians like state attorney generals — who know how to use their discretionary power to chill the political activities of wealthy individuals.

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Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission

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

Today we filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeal filed by the Independent Institute challenging the disclosure requirements imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“BCRA”) as applied to genuine issue ads.  BCRA compels the disclosure of donors to such ads over $1,000, with substantial civil and criminal penalties for failure to report this information publicly.

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Lund v. Rowan County

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

Today we filed a brief in support of the practice by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners to begin sessions with prayer. Predictably, the plaintiffs are deeply offended to hear the name of God mentioned, but their subjective feelings does not cause the public prayer by government officials to be transformed into a prohibited “establishment” of religion.

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Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore v. Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission

Michael Harless Alabama Supreme Court, Constitutional Law

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Roy S. Moore, the elected Chief Justice of the State of Alabama, based on spurious grounds related to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in favor of same sex marriage.  Today, we filed a brief in support of the Chief Justice’s appeal of that decision to the Alabama Supreme Court.

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Comments filed with U.S. Citizenship & immigration Services Opposing New Refugee Application

Michael Harless Administrative Law

Today, our firm filed comments with the division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security responsible for Refugee matters, opposing changes in the form used to seek refugee status. If changed as proposed, the form will fail to obtain from applicants the information needed for the government to make a proper determination as to whether a person claiming refugee status actually qualifies as a refugee under federal law.

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Comments to FDA on Regulatory Status of Vinpocetine

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Health Law

Today our firm filed comments with the FDA in response to a request for comment on its “tentative conclusion” that the ingredient vinpocetine does not meet the definition of a “dietary supplement.” Our comments explained that vinpocetine fits within the definition of “dietary supplement” as a “constituent of a botanical.” Then we analyzed the four statutory requirements for removal of a dietary supplement from the market, and in this case, at least two of these requirements have not been met. Finally, we addressed the ways in which vinpocetine has been beneficial to Americans with a wide variety of health problems, including symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

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Graham v. United States

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition for certiorari in a case involving a Fourth Amendment violation where a person’s whereabouts were tracked for months by seizing his cell site location information. We argued against the Supreme Court’s “third-party doctrine,” which holds that a person does not have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” if he voluntarily gives information to third parties. Further, the brief relied on the Court’s recently reinvigorated property rights basis of the Fourth Amendment, urging the Court to consider a person’s cell phone data and location as his property even though not a physical object.

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Comments filed with FDA to Defend Compounding Pharmacists

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Health Law

An FDA Advisory Committee is considering imposing new and unnecessary limitations on what Compounding Pharmacists may use to create products that are needed by many people, especially seniors.  Remarkably, the FDA Advisory Committee is reported to have only one member who has experience with Compounding.  We filed comments for The Senior Citizens League and the Center for Medical Freedom with the FDA opposing these arbitrary limitations.

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GOA/GOF Comments to ATF on Proposed Changes to Form 7

Michael Harless Firearms Law

Today, our firm filed comments with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”) in response to the ATF’s proposal to combine the federal application to be a firearms dealer (“Form 7”) with the application to be a Collector of Curios and Relics.  As our comments pointed out, ATF’s proposed new combined form is an attempt to combine apples and oranges.  Dealers (businesses) are nothing like collectors (private persons).  The proposed form is complicated and unclear as to which sections apply to which license.  Moreover, the proposed form eliminates current language which is helpful to a person knowing whether or not he needs to apply for a license.  Our comments were filed on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation.

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FSC/FSDEF Comments Urging IRS to Protect Nonprofit Donor Lists

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Nonprofit Law

On behalf of the Free Speech Coalition and Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, we submitted comments to the IRS asking it to protect the confidentiality the donor lists of nonprofit organizations.  The IRS had invited comments on its Publication 1075 relating to security guidelines for government agencies in possession of confidential tax
information.

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USJF Comments opposing Mandatory Pro Bono Reporting

Michael Harless Administrative Law

There is an effort underway by elements in the federal and state judiciary and leftist lawyers and lawyer groups to increase political controls over lawyers — on whom the American people rely on to protect their interests.  Some states are trying to force lawyers to devote free legal services to favored classes of persons.   Historically, this proposal has been a cover for the misuse of law reform, class actions, emboldening the courts to legislate social policy.  And even when it extends legal services to the poor, it frequently does so at the expense of the middle class.

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Book: ‘Defining Drugs: How Government Became the Arbiter of Pharmaceutical Fact”

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Health Law, Publications

Bill Olson was honored to write the Foreword for the re-issuance of what may prove to be the most important book ever written questioning the authority of the federal government over the sale and use of pharmaceuticals.  Professor of Pharmacy Richard Henry Parrish II originally wrote his book, “Defining Drugs:  How Government Became the Arbiter of Pharmaceutical Fact” in 2003. Now issued in paperback with a new Introduction and new Foreword, Professor Parrish has charted the growing evidence of corruption in the FDA and FTC, and those agencies’ lawless assertion of power over all aspects of all substances and devices in any way related to healthcare.  This book is even more important now than when first written.

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FEC Conciliation Agreement Modified

Michael Harless Election Law

We were pleased to have persuaded the FEC to act unanimously to modify a Conciliation Agreement entered into in 2005.  The reason was that the state of election law had changed, based on recent court rulings, which then were followed by changes in Commission regulations.

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