Young v. Hawaii

admin Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today we filed an amicus brief opposing a request for rehearing by the State of Hawaii of a Ninth Circuit decision which overturned Hawaii’s virtual ban on citizens bearing weapons.  We opposed Hawaii’s argument that its laws against carrying firearms were long-standing, explaining that those laws existed when Hawaii was a monarchy where the reigning king or queen was sovereign — not as in the United States where the people are sovereign. Read More

Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra

admin Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today we filed another amicus brief in support of Americans for Prosperity’s challenge to the California Attorney General’s demand for its confidential donor information as a condition of raising money in the state. This brief urged the Ninth Circuit to grant rehearing en banc to reverse an earlier panel decision. The brief was filed for Citizens United, Citizens United Foundation, Free Speech Coalition, and Free Speech Defense and Education Fund. Read More

United States v. Zodhiates

admin Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Today we filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit in support of a petition for rehearing en banc, asking the Court to reconsider its decision which misapplied the Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 2006 (June 22, 2018). The trial court allowed the government to introduce evidence of “Cell Site Location Information” (“CSLI”) obtained without a warrant, which the Carpenter decision affirmed was protected by the Fourth Amendment. (This is our second amicus brief that we filed in this case, the first being filed on July 26, 2017) Read More

United States v. Ackerman

admin Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

Today we filed our second amicus brief in the Ackerman case. Our first brief was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, and today’s brief was filed in the Tenth Circuit. This case involves the power of the government to conduct searches and seizures of email and attachments to email. The District Court decision upholding the search was entirely based on the “reasonable expectation of privacy” atextual judicial construct. When this case was before the Tenth Circuit previously, that Court raised the property basis of the Fourth Amendment set out in United States v. Jones in 2012, but this issue was not addressed by the District Court.
In the third section of our brief, we explain the history of the property foundation of the Fourth Amendment from before its ratification, through its abandonment, and now through its return to primacy in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. (Now-Justice Gorsuch authored the earlier Tenth Circuit opinion focusing on the property principle.)

Link to brief

IFS v. Becerra

admin Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today, we filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit supporting a challenge against the California Attorney General’s demands for the large donor lists (IRS Form 990 Schedule B) of charitable organizations who wish to register to solicit donations in that state. We argued that the AG’s requirement creates a condition precedent that violates the right to peacably assemble. We also explained that the new rule does not only risk public dissemination of donor information, as has already happened in California, but also the risk that politicized Attorney Generals in New York and California — Kamala Harris, Xavier Becerra, and Eric Schneiderman — would misuse the information. We also raised the distinct possibility that the AG is committing the federal crime of solicitation of taxpayer information because it is conditioning the ability to raise funds in California on the “voluntary” provision of the confidential donor lists. Finally, we argued that 9th Circuit precedent in similar cases improperly relied on election law cases, requiring that IFS’ case be heard en banc.

Link to brief

New York v. Trump (DACA)

admin Constitutional Law

Just before midnight tonight, we filed our fourth brief defending President Trump’s rescission of President Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program. This brief was filed in the Second Circuit, which is considering an appeal from a “nationwide” or “universal” injunction issued by one Democrat lawyer currently serving as an unelected federal district judge in Brooklyn, who had been appointed in 2000 by President Clinton — Nicholas G. Garaufis.

Link to brief

 

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

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

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. 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

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

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.

Our first two briefs were filed in the Washington State challenge, in the Ninth Circuit — one on February 6, 2017 and one on February 16, 2017, with respect to the first Trump Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017.  Our third brief was filed in the Fourth Circuit in litigation brought by IRAP on March 31, 2017. Read More

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

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.

We previously filed another brief in this case on February 6, 2017, in support of the Trump Administration’s motion for stay. Read More

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.

Link to brief

 

Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Xavier Becerra

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

Today we filed a brief for the Free Speech Coalition and a large number of nonprofit orgainzations opposing efforts by the Attorney General of California to compel the disclosure by nonprofit organizations soliciting funds in that state of the names of their largest donors.

The issue in the case involves conditioning the ability to fundraise in California on disclosing confidential information to a politician — in this case, a state Attorney General.  Our brief explains why the First Amendment’s Anonymity principle applies, and why all such laws are unconstitutional licensing schemes.  We also explain why the federal tax scheme governing the filing of IRS Form 990 Schedule B’s protects the identity of donors, and that state officials can only obtain this information upon making a specific showing of illegal activity.  Therefore, this requirement, imposed by the Attorney General of California, is an unconstitutional prophylactic rule unrelated to any showing of fraud. Read More

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. Read More

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.

Link to brief

Grace v. District of Columbia

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today, we filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in support of a challenge to the D.C. Concealed Carry statute which was brought by Matthew Grace and others.  Our brief argues that the District of Columbia Council based its argument on the notion of hidden exceptions to the Bill of Rights, and a flawed understanding of the difference between the restricted nature of firearms rights in England versus the unrestricted nature of firearms rights in the Colonies.  Our brief also argues that it is illegitimate for the Court to engage in judicial balancing tests of any type, as they were barred by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller.  Lastly, we argued that the government does not have the authority to make predictive judgments as to who may violate the law and restrict liberties to prevent crimes that it fears may someday occur. Read More

Wrenn v. District of Columbia

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

Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in support of a challenge to the District of Columbia’s requirement that a person must demonstrate a “good reason” in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.  Our brief noted that before Heller, the federal courts perpetuated the charade that the right of “the People” was a collective rather than an individual right.  Now, we argued, the lower courts are perpetuating a new charade — that rights which “shall not be infringed” can indeed be infringed so long as the government strongly desires to do so, and judges believe the regulations are reasonable.  Our brief argued that use of such “interest-balancing” tests permits judges to come to whatever result they prefer, as this case uniquely indicates. Read More

Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board

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

Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, opposing attempts by a girl with feelings of gender “dysphoria” to use Title IX to gain access to the boy’s bathrooms at her school.  Our brief argued that one’s sex is a scientific constant, and determined by the Creator.  Allowing a person’s feelings at any given time to define his gender permits individuals to decide whether and how the law applies to them.  Our brief pointed out that the ruling of the district court below is not limited to bathrooms, but could be applied broadly to grant access to opposite sex locker rooms, housing, athletic teams, and other gender-restricted areas.  Finally, our brief argued that the district court’s ruling sanctions sexual anarchy, and the day is not far away when a white male will “identify” as a black female in order, for example, to gain preferential treatment through reverse-discrimination (i.e., affirmative action) college admission policies.  Our brief was filed on behalf of Public Advocate of the United States, United States Justice Foundation, and Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund. Read More