In a surprising statement to The Wall Street Journal today, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says he has a “pretty good idea” who leaked a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. He strongly suggested that it was someone who opposed the opinion and wanted to pressure the justices not to go forward with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Continue reading “Alito: I Know Who Likely Leaked the Dobbs Decision”
Columbia University law students and alums are in an uproar over an Instagram post that showed students in the Federalist Society meeting with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the Court. It would ordinarily be a singular experience for law students to spend time with one of the nine justices. That is not how it went over at Columbia where some are outraged by the meeting and Columbia’s posting the picture on its social media account. The Empowering Women of Color group announced it was “withdrawing our participation from Columbia Law School recruiting events.” Columbia’s own Center for Engaged Pedagogy, simply declared “WTF is wrong with you.” Continue reading ““WTF is Wrong with You”: Columbia Center and Law Students Protest Meeting With Justice Kavanaugh”
Jennifer Medley is one of many citizens who appear fed up with the crime and poor management of New Orleans. Medley reportedly joined thousands of others in signing a petition to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. As a single mom working in the city, she has good reason to be concerned. However, Medley is also a judge. Indeed, she is the very judge that just ruled on the recall effort without disclosing that her name is one of those seeking the recall. Continue reading “New Orleans Judge Under Fire for Failing to Disclose Interest in Mayoral Recall Effort”
We recently discussed the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit striking down a ban on gun ownership by individuals accused of domestic abuse. Now, U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick in Oklahoma City dismissed an indictment against Jared Michael Harrison for violating a federal law that makes it illegal for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” to possess firearms. It is only the latest such loss for the Justice Department as the Biden Administration pushes sweeping rationales for limiting Second Amendment rights in the wake of last year’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
Continue reading ““The Framers Weren’t Perfect, but They Weren’t Fools”: Biden Administration Loses Another Gun Rights Case”
Jack Phillip, the Colorado baker who brought the challenge in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission has again lost an appeal in Colorado state court. After the Supreme Court effectively punted on the issue of his free speech and free exercise challenges to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (“CADA”), which protects against the denial of service in a place of public accommodation based on one’s identity. After the 2018 decision, Phillip faced additional demands including the creation of a gender transitioning cake. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that the refusal to make the cake requested by Autumn Scardina did not constitute free speech. Continue reading “Masterpiece Cakeshop Loses Appeal Over Gender Transition Cake”
With the recent passage of AB 2098, California took a highly controversial step in barring doctors from offering “false information” on Covid-19 and related subjects. The law is an extension of Democratic efforts to block or censor “misinformation” and “disinformation” in society from social media to medicine. However, this effort involves direct government action. As will come as little surprise to many on this blog, I opposed the measure as unconstitutionally vague and a threat to free speech. Nevertheless, Judge Fred Slaughter (C.D. Cal.) in McDonald v. Lawson held that this statute was likely constitutional and rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction. Now, however Judge William Shubb (E.D. Cal.) has reached the opposite conclusion in Hoeg v. Newsom, granting an injunction. Continue reading “Court Enjoins California’s Bar on Doctors Giving “False Information” on Covid”
The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in a potentially major case on the free exercise of religion. Groff v. DeJoy involves evangelical Christian postal worker, Gerald Groff, who alleges that the the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) forced him out of his job when he refused to work on Sundays due to his faith. The case could either overturn or reaffirm the earlier ruling in TWA v. Hardison, which stated that employers need not offer religious accommodation if doing so would cause an “undue hardship” to the business. Continue reading “Supreme Court Takes Major Religion Case: Postal Worker Asks Court to Toss Long-Standing Test for Religious Accommodation”
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has handed down a major opinion in Cargill v. Garland, No. 20-51016, ruling 13-3 that the ATF ban on bump stocks is unlawful. The en banc decision found that a bump stock may be many things but it is not a machine gun. Continue reading “Set for a Supreme Showdown? The Fifth Circuit Rejects Bump Stock Ban In Contrast to Other Circuits”
There is an interesting free speech decision out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this week. In Lathus v. City of Huntington Beach, a unanimous panel ruled that a member of a municipal advisory board can be fired for her association with Antifa. The opinion is clearly correct on a constitutional level, but there are some troubling elements given the underlying exercise of speech under the First Amendment.
Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Rules That an Advisory Board Member Can Be Fired Over Antifa Association”
There was an interesting ruling by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson for the Central District of California last week in Woulfe et al. v. Universal. The case was brought by Peter Michael Rosza and Conor Woulfe who were aggrieved when they rented the 2019 film “Yesterday” under the assumption that actress Ana de Armas was in the film. The trailer featured de Armas but she was later cut from the film. Judge Wilson ruled that, while such movies and their trailers are exercises of free speech, this is commercial speech that is subject to greater limitations. Wilson is allowing the plaintiffs to proceed to trial in the case over alleged misleading advertising. Many fear that this will change the free-wheeling approach to such trailers, or, as the Beatles said, “Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play Now I need a place to hide away.” Continue reading ““Why She Had to Go…She Wouldn’t Say”: Movie Renters Allowed to Sue Over Absence of Featured Star”
In a major decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a lower court on Friday that enjoined the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from forcing doctors with conscientious objections to perform gender transition surgeries. The case, Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra, concerns a 2016 rule that religious hospitals may be subject to non-discrimination provisions under the Affordable Care Act and that would require them to perform gender transitions.
Continue reading “Eighth Circuit Upholds Injunction on Rule Requiring Gender Transition Surgeries”
As families gather this year for our annual holiday feast, there remain many things for all of us to give pause and thanks for in our lives. Our friends, family, and faith remain central to this holiday. So is our freedom. Despite economic, political, and social problems, we remain a free and prosperous nation committed to core values of individual rights and self-determination. Indeed, more than any year, there is particular reason to give thanks to the most besieged and resilient part of our constitutional system: the courts. Despite attacks from the left and right, our court system remains a bulwark against political impulse and excess. The Supreme Court in particular has faced unrelenting attacks ranging from a reprehensible leak to an attempted assassination of a justice to calls for court packing. It has stood its ground just as James Madison and other Framers had hoped in their original design of our constitutional system.
Continue reading “A Constitutional Thanksgiving: Why We Should All Give Thanks for the “Least Dangerous Branch””