Category: Constitutional Law

Locked and Loaded: Supreme Court is Ready for a Showdown on the Second Amendment

Below is my column in the Hill on the makings of a blockbuster case in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the first major gun rights case before the Supreme Court in ten years.  Justices have been openly discussing a case to push back on lower courts that have been chipping away at its Second Amendment jurisprudence. They found that case with a strikingly familiar plaintiff.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Locked and Loaded: Supreme Court is Ready for a Showdown on the Second Amendment”

Morrison: Time to Give DC Residents A Vote in Congress

I recently discussed the Supreme Court’s affirmance of a decision rejecting constitutional arguments that the District of Columbia is entitled to a vote in Congress. I have repeatedly testified and written on the constitutional barriers to such a vote absent statehood. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Given those long-standing views, I felt that the blog should hear from a leading intellectual with an opposing perspective. One of the briefs written in support of the district in the recent litigation was from constitutional scholars, including my colleague Alan B. Morrison, Lerner Family Associate Dean at George Washington Law School. I reached out to Professor Morrison to see if he would offer a response on the ruling and the underlying issues. I was delighted when he accepted.

For many on this blog, Professor Morrison needs little introduction. He has not only previously written on the blog, but he is one of the most respected legal figures in the country with extensive litigation and public interest experience. His views on this and every subject are worth the most serious consideration by readers. Continue reading “Morrison: Time to Give DC Residents A Vote in Congress”

United States Supreme Court Affirms Denial of Voting Rights For D.C.

The United States Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (and the later denial of a motion for consideration) in rejecting the much touted lawsuit to give residents a vote in Congress. Some of us have repeatedly said that the lawsuit would not succeed despite various law professors filing a brief supporting the underlying claims. What is most striking however is the coverage in the Washington Post, which reported on the summary affirmance but only quoted supporters for the challenge, including a strikingly misleading take on the lower court ruling upheld by the Supreme Court.

Continue reading “United States Supreme Court Affirms Denial of Voting Rights For D.C.”

Train Whistle Docket: The Supreme Court Returns With Blockbuster Cases On Guns, Abortions, and Free Speech

This week, the Supreme Court will again assemble for a new term and pundits and politicians are already handicapping the cases. This term however has more drama and tension as Democrats call for packing the Court with an instant liberal majority and others attack its members in anticipation of opinions that have yet to be written. The reality is summed up in one of my favorite stories about Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes when he was on a trip to Washington. Holmes forgot his ticket but the train conductor reassured him, “Do not worry about your ticket. We all know who you are. When you get to your destination, you can find it and just mail it to us.” Holmes responded, “My dear man, the problem is not my ticket. The problem is, where am I going?” Continue reading “Train Whistle Docket: The Supreme Court Returns With Blockbuster Cases On Guns, Abortions, and Free Speech”

“They Tell Me I Shouldn’t But . . .”: Sotomayor Calls on Law Students to Oppose the Texas Abortion Law

Modern justices have long chafed at the restraints of judicial ethical rules about public commentary. The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was celebrated as “notorious” due in part to her controversial public speeches and discussions of pending or expected cases before the Court. Despite my long criticism of this trend, I was still taken aback by comments of Justice Sonia Sotomayor at an event organized by the American Bar Association. In her comments, Sotomayor appeared to call for political campaigns and discussed a matter just before the Court. Despite the discussion of the case and political opposition from a sitting justice, the ABA members were silent as were the many liberal activists who have been denouncing the Court as too “political.” Continue reading ““They Tell Me I Shouldn’t But . . .”: Sotomayor Calls on Law Students to Oppose the Texas Abortion Law”

Federal Court Rules Against DC on Wrongful Gun Arrests

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth issued an important decision on Wednesday that the D.C. government is liable for wrongfully arresting six people between 2012 and 2014 for violating its ban on carrying handguns in public. It is the latest loss of the city, which continues to pass legislation that runs afoul of governing Supreme Court precedent. Continue reading “Federal Court Rules Against DC on Wrongful Gun Arrests”

Enlightened Algorithms: Democrats Call For Increased Corporate Controls To Protect Citizens From Their Own Dangerous Curiosities

Below is my column in USA Today on the recent call by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) for Amazon to steer readers to “true” books on climate change. It is the latest example of Democrat’s embracing a type of  corporate governance model to carry out tasks barred to the government under the Constitution. Companies are now being asked to protect us from our own dangerous interests and inquiries. An array of enlightened algorithms will now watch over citizens to help them make good choices and read “true” things.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Enlightened Algorithms: Democrats Call For Increased Corporate Controls To Protect Citizens From Their Own Dangerous Curiosities”

YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship

We have been discussing the rising support for corporate censorship among leading Democratic politicians, academics, and writers. Social media and Internet companies now actively respond to calls from government officials to silence those with opposing views. The latest such example is Google-owned YouTube removing videos of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny before Russia’s parliamentary elections.  Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. also pulled a voting app from Navalny ahead of the election. Nevertheless, CEO Susan Wojcicki bizarrely claimed in a Bloomberg interview Bloomberg Television that free speech remains a “core value” for the company. Continue reading “YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship”

Policing Pronouns: How “Misgendering” is Becoming the New Battleground Over Discrimination

Below is my column in the Hill on growing conflicts over “misgendering” in the use of pronouns. Both governmental agencies and academic institutions are increasingly treating misgendering as a form of hate speech or discrimination. That is triggering major free speech fights in this county and abroad.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Policing Pronouns: How “Misgendering” is Becoming the New Battleground Over Discrimination”

Washington School Triggers Free Speech Fight Over Order to Remove Blue Lives Matter Flag

We recently discussed a controversy over a teacher being told to remove an Antifa flag and Gay Pride flag. We now have the inverse case. A teacher in Washington was told to remove a “Blue Lives Matter” flag that she put up to support her brother who was a former police officer. The flag was surrounded by pictures of her brother. She was told to remove the flag as a “political statement” that would disturb some students. These controversies raise questions of content-based discrimination over speech, particularly after the Washington teacher was reportedly told that she could have Black Lives Matter or Gay Pride flags in her class but not a Blue Lives Matter flag. Continue reading “Washington School Triggers Free Speech Fight Over Order to Remove Blue Lives Matter Flag”

Ohio Professor Wins Major Free Speech Decision on Compelled Use of Pronouns in Classrooms

My column yesterday discussed the increasing trend to treat the failure to use a person’s preferred pronouns (called “misgendering”) a type of hate speech or discriminatory conduct. A new case highlights the free speech problems associated with the trend. In Meriwether v. Hartop, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit handed down a major ruling in favor of Shawnee State University Professor Nicholas Meriwether, who was disciplined for refusing to use a student’s designated pronoun choices.

Continue reading “Ohio Professor Wins Major Free Speech Decision on Compelled Use of Pronouns in Classrooms”

Trump and Biden Collide Over Access to Presidential Records

Former President Donald Trump is threatening litigation over the decision of President Joe Biden not to invoke executive privilege over the release of Trump records to a special committee of Congress looking into the Jan. 6th riot in Congress. As I told the Washington Post yesterday, I believe that Congress would be in a stronger legal position in such a court fight. However, there is an unbroken tradition of deference by the incumbent presidents to their predecessors. In the past, incumbent presidents would generally support their predecessors in restricting access, despite partisan differences. While this is a fairly unique circumstance, it appears we may be poised here to shatter that tradition. Continue reading “Trump and Biden Collide Over Access to Presidential Records”

Heckler’s Veto: Sixty-Six Percent of College Students Say Stopping Speech Is Free Speech

We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting. The latest chilling poll was released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings after questioning a huge body of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities. It found that sixty-six percent of college students think shouting down a speaker to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech.  Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence. Continue reading “Heckler’s Veto: Sixty-Six Percent of College Students Say Stopping Speech Is Free Speech”

Our Crisis of Faith on Constitution Day

Not long after the ratification of our Constitution, the great Justice Joseph Story marveled “How easily men satisfy themselves that the Constitution is exactly what they wish it to be.” The Constitution is designed to be a type of waltz with a three rather than six-step pattern in our tripartite system of government. Many today however treat it more like an interpretative dance, an invitation for expressive individual moves.  Indeed, in the last few months, President Joe Biden often seems to be dancing alone. The improvisational element to constitutional interpretation reflects more than mere political opportunism. It reflects a crisis of faith on the Constitution Day.

Continue reading “Our Crisis of Faith on Constitution Day”

The New Federalist Party: Biden Moves Forward With the Greatest Federalization Push Since Adams

President Joe Biden has long pledged to “build back better” but in the last few months it has become clear that his transformative plans go beyond mere infrastructure and extend to our very structure of government.

From abortions to elections to rents, Biden is seeking to federalize huge areas to displace state law. Not since John Adams and his Federalist Party has the country faced such a fundamental challenge to our system of federalism. Continue reading “The New Federalist Party: Biden Moves Forward With the Greatest Federalization Push Since Adams”