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

Article: “Court gets refresher course in who actually writes laws”

Michael Harless Press Coverage

World Net Daily ran an article about our firm’s brief filed in Zarda v. Altitude Express.  The article addressed the factual problem with the case that we raised, in that the Appellant’s brief admitted that Zarda, a homosexual, was not fired because he was homosexual, but because he “over-shared” his sexual orientation with customers.  The article also focuses on our argument that the Courts have no business legislating from the bench.

Link to article

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

Southwest Prophecy Ministries Podcast — Bill Olson Interviewed About Biblical Grid Website

Michael Harless Press Coverage

Our firm’s new website www.biblicalgrid.com is discussed by Bill Olson in this interview with David Schnittger of Southwest Prophecy Ministries.  Our BiblicalGrid website was launched on May 15 as a compendium of Christian and pro-liberty websites, as well as others which regularly report on important matters.  It is our effort to catalog, categorize, and promote important sources of information that help make sense of a world increasingly spinning out of control.  One of the motivations to create this site was the effort by Google, Facebook, YouTube and other such sites to depress traffic at conservative sites.  BiblicalGrid now links to approximately 300 websites, and contains links to dozens of other publications and resources to help understand current issues and trends, and more are being added weekly. 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

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. Read More

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. Read More

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