District of Columbia, et. al., v. Dick Anthony Heller Amicus Brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc., et. al.

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

Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court supporting the respondent in the D.C. gun ban case, District of Columbia, et. al., v. Dick Anthony Heller, No. 07-290. The brief was filed on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of California, Inc., Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund. Read More

Abigail Alliance Case — Amicus Brief Filed In U.S. Supreme Court for The Seniors Citizen League

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

Today we filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court in the case of Abigail Alliance v. VonEschenbach, Commissioner of the FDA.  The U.S. Supreme Court had been asked by an alliance of terminally ill patients with no conventional medical alternatives to overturn an en banc decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which allows the FDA to bar these patients’ access to certain drugs, even after the FDA has approved them for Phase II testing. Read More

Strict Construction of Federal Criminal Laws U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief Watson v. United States

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

On behalf of Gun Owners Foundation and the Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Watson v. United States.  This brief asks the Court to overturn the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and to re-establish the common law rule of strict construction of criminal statutes.  In this case, an undercover agent sought to buy drugs from Watson, and offered a firearm as part of the purchase price.  The federal government indicted Watson for not only the drug sale, but also for the “use” of a firearm in connection with a federal drug trafficking crime, which would greatly increase the sentence if convicted.  Clearly, in the normal sense of the word, receiving a gun is not “using” a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime, but the Fifth Circuit interpreted the word “use” broadly to encompass receipt.  Had the rule of strict construction been applied to this case, and “use” interpreted in its normal sense, Mr. Watson would not be faced with a mandatory additional minimum prison sentence of five years under 18 U.S.C. section 924(c).  Our amicus brief also asks the Court to reject the modern “rule of lenity” that has proved to be no substitute for strict construction.  Strict construction of federal criminal law is necessary to preserve constitutional separation of powers, as well as principles of federalism.  Our amicus brief illustrates how allowing police and prosecutors to go beyond the words of the statute to define a crime opens up opportunities for abuse. Read More

Wisconsin Right to Life — Amicus Brief

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

Today we filed a Brief Amicus Curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Wisconsin Right to Life case.  The brief asks the Court to reconsider its prior holdings in the McConnell and Buckley cases, and to strike down the Congressional ban on “electioneering communications.”  (We had previously filed an amicus brief in support of Wisconsin Right to Life when the case came before the Court last year.) Read More

United Seniors Association v. Social Security Administration Amicus Brief Filed to Attack Federal Statute Censoring 15 Political Words

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Postal Law, U. S. Supreme Court

We filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Citizens United Foundation, and Downsize DC Foundation in support of United Seniors Association’s (USA) petition for a writ of certiorari.

The amicus brief takes issue with the casual way that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit addressed the significant free speech claims of the United Seniors Association in a case seeking judicial review of a $545,000 “civil penalty” imposed by the SSA. Read More

Citizens United, Citizens United Foundation, Amicus Brief in Wisconsin Right to Life Case

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed an Amicus Brief for Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC. The brief asks the Supreme Court to overturn a decision of a Special Three Judge District Court in the District of Columbia. The brief argues that the lower court misread the Supreme Court’s decision in McConnell v. FEC resolving a “facial” challenge to the constitutionality of the “electioneering communications” provisions of the McCain-Feingold law (the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002) to preclude future “as applied” challenges. The brief emphasizes that the judicial power to decide constitutional questions is limited to the facts as presented in an individual case or controversy and that no judicial ruling may constitutionally be imposed upon a person or entity not a party to the case. At stake, then, in this case is the reach of judicial power and the due process right of every person to have his day in court. Read More

McCreary (Ten Commandments) U.S. Supreme Court Case Amicus Brief Filed

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of :
Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund,
Joyce Meyer Ministries,
Committee to Protect the Family Foundation,
Lincoln Institute for Research and Education,
American Heritage Party,
Public Advocate of the United States,
Radio Liberty, and
Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Inc.
in the pending Ten Commandments case, McCreary County, Kentucky v.ACLU of Kentucky. Read More

John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner v. State of Texas

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Public Advocate of the United States, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Help and Caring Ministries, Inc., and Citizens United Foundation in support of the State of Texas urging the Court to uphold the the Texas Homosexual Conduct Statute.

Petitioners challenging the Texas law ask the Court, in effect, to amend the U.S. Constitution to create a new constitutional right for adults to engage in consentual sodomy. Our brief defends principles of federalism, and explains how petitioners’ arguments were misleading and flawed, and their position has no support in either the text of the 14th Amendment, or prior decisions of the Supreme Court. Read More

Federal Election Commission v. Christine Beaumont, et al.

Michael Harless Election Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of RealCampaignReform.org, Inc., Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Gun Owners of America, Inc., English First, and U.S. Justice Foundation in support of respondents Christine Beaumont, et al. urging the Court to affirm the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that struck down the Federal Election Campaign Act’s (FECA’s) ban on contributions by certain incorporated nonprofit advocacy groups in federal elections as unconstitutional. Read More

James E. Ryan, Attorney General of Illinois v. Telemarketing Associates, Inc, et al.

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, American Target Advertising, Inc., Eberle Communications Group, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, English First, Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and Citizens United Foundation in support of respondents Telemarketing Associates, Inc., et al. Read More

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society v. Village of Stratton

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

On October 15, 2001, the United States Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari to review whether the First Amendment guarantee of anonymous speech barred the Village of Stratton, Ohio, from enforcing a permit system which required “canvassers, solicitors, peddlars [or] hawkers” to identify themselves before going from door to door of private residences for the “purpose of advertising, promoting, selling and/or explaining any product, service, organization or cause.”  (Emphasis added). Read More

Browner, et al. v. American Trucking Associations, et al.

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in this case, which comes on a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where a bare majority ruled that Section 109 of the clean air act violated Article I, Section 1, of the United States Constitution which vests legislative power in Congress. The case generated a number of opinions, the majority insisting that there were still meaningful constitutional limits on Congressional delegation of powers, and the dissent contending that the doctrine was no longer taken seriously as a limit on Congressional power. Read More

ATA v. Giani

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Our firm filed the brief of Free Speech Defense and Education Fund as amici curiae in support of petitioner in American Target Advertising, Inc. v. Francine A. Giani, Division Director, Utah Division of Consumer Protection in the United States Supreme Court. The brief argues that Utah’s Charitable Solicitations Act is unconstitutional. The Free Speech Defense and Education Fund was joined by 47 co-amici. Read More

Chenoweth, et al. v. Clinton, et al.

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of eight members of Congress (Hon. John T. Doolittle, Hon. George Radanovich, Hon. Tom Tancredo, Hon. Bob Stump, Hon. Barbara Cubin, Hon. Tom A. Coburn, Hon. Wally Herger, and Hon. John E. Perterson) and four nonprofit organizations (Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Gun Owners Foundation, Citizens United Foundation, and Concerned Women for America). Read More

Boy Scout Brief (on Petition for Writ of Certiorari)

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

The Olson law firm filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Public Advocate of the United States and the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education defending the right of the Boy Scouts to determine their own leadership.

This brief urges that the U.S. Supreme Court grant certiorari and review the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court which compels the Boy Scouts there to retain a homosexual activist as a scoutmaster, under the New Jersey state “Law Against Discrimination.” (The Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari.) Read More

Howard Ellis, et al. v. Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks, et al.

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Representing Congressman Dickinson, this brief successfully urged the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to resolve the distinction between permissible and impermissible uses by unions of agency fees paid by those working men and woman who choose not to join unions but who are required to pay those fees under law.

Link to brief

Jackson Transit Authority and The City of Jackson, Tennessee v. Local Division 1285, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO-CLC

Michael Harless U. S. Supreme Court

This brief represents Public Service Research Council regarding whether Congress, in enacting the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, created a federal private right of action for employees of a municipally owned transit system for an alleged breach of a local collective bargaining agreement.

Link to brief