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William J. Olson P.C.
Files 75th Supreme Court Amicus Brief

On August 13, 2014, our firm had the privilege of filing its 75th amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Rudy v. Lee. In addition, we have made 12 other filings in the U.S. Supreme Court (for a total of 87 filings), such as: Petition for Certiorari, Jurisdictional Statement, Appellants' Brief, Reply Brief, and Brief for Intervenor-Respondents.

In addition to statutory issues, these briefs have addressed a wide variety of Constitutional issues:

Article I Section 1 (Delegation Doctrine)
Article I Section 2 (Census, Apportionment Clause)
Article I Section 4 (Time, Places and Manners of Elections)
Article I Section 6 (Speech & Debate Clause)
Article I Section 8 (Commerce Clause, Naturalization Clause, General Welfare Clause, Necessary & Proper Clause)

Article II Section 1 (Delegation Doctrine)
Article II Section 2 (Invasion)
Article II (Appointments Clause, Commander-in-Chief)

Article III, Section 2 (Case and Controversy, Standing, Political Question)
Article III Section 1 (Judicial Power)

Article IV Section IV (Republican Form of Government, Invasion)Article VI (Preemption)

First Amendment (Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Right to Assemble, Right to Petition Government)
Second Amendment
Fourth Amendment
Fifth Amendment (Due Process, Equal Protection Component)
Tenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment (Due Process, Equal Protection, Privileges & Immunities)

Other briefs have addressed important statutory issues (U.N. Participation Act, Gun Control Act, National Firearms Act, Firearms Owners Protection Act, Uniform Code of Military Justice, Federal Election Campaign Act, etc.).

Our first Supreme Court filing was October 16, 1981, supporting the legality of President Reagan's action against striking air traffic controllers. Of course, we have also filed many other briefs in various U.S. District Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, State Supreme Courts, etc. All of these filings since the late 1990's and some earlier briefs are available on this website, and we are working to post the older filings as well.

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Michael G. New v. Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, et al. December 21, 2006

On December 21, 2006, William K. Suter, Clerk of the Supreme Court, wrote to the Solicitor General informing the General that, although his office had waived a right to respond to the Michael New's petition for certiorari, the Court has directed the Clerk to request that the Solicitor General file a response to the petition on or before January 22, 2007. (This deadline was subsequently was extended to February 21, 2007.)  According to the rules of the Court, within ten days after the filing of the response, the Court will decide whether New's petition for review will be granted or denied.

Free Speech Coalition Press Coverage December 14, 2006

Bill Olson is quoted in this Investor's Business Daily article, "Free Speech Coalition: Public Citizen has 'Ethics' Problem With its Grassroots Lobbying Legislation."

Firm’s FOIA Litigation Against Social Security Administration Leads to Release of U.S. - Mexico Totalization Agreement December 2006

In response to our firm’s still-pending FOIA lawsuit on behalf of TREA Senior Citizens League (TSCL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) finally released the “U.S.-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement," hand-delivering it to the firm in late December 2006.  

This is the first known release of the Mexican Totalization Agreement to the public.  Previously even members of Congress have been denied access to this Agreement.  The Agreement now can be downloaded from this link: http://www.lawandfreedom/site/publications/us_mex_tot_agreement.pdf

This document release followed a 3-1/2 year effort in which we filed a series of FOIA requests for TSCL seeking documents relating to the Agreement (even prior to its finalization with Mexico) with both the State Department and the SSA.  The Mexican Totalization Agreement was formally signed in June 2004, but has not yet been submitted by President Bush to Congress.

The agreement, if allowed to go into effect, reportedly could result in illegal Mexican workers being paid billions of dollars in Social Security benefits, bankrupting an already strained Social Security Trust Fund.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) stated:  "I applaud the persistent efforts of TREA Senior Citizens League to try to get documents from the U.S. Government about the U.S.‑Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement.  The American people are finally beginning to get some of the information regarding this Agreement that they have been seeking for so long."

Michael G. New v. Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, et al. November 15, 2006

On November 15, 2006, we filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, seeking review by the United States Supreme Court of the dismissal of Michael G. New’s collateral attack on his January 1996 court-martial.  (Former Army Specialist New was convicted of disobedience of an allegedly lawful order for failure to wear the United Nations uniform prescribed for his unit’s deployment as part of a U.N. commanded operation in Macedonia.) 

At New’s court-martial, New was deprived of his due process right to proof of every element of the crime of which he was charged when the military judge decided that the issue of the lawfulness of the order was not an element of the offense.  By taking this issue away from the military jury, New was deprived of his opportunity to show that the U.N. uniform was an unauthorized foreign insignia, and the prosecution was relieved of having to prove that the uniform was authorized under a “safety” exception to the general rule. 

Additionally, New was deprived of his due process right to a complete defense by the military courts’ ruling that the legality of the Macedonian deployment — for which the U.N. uniform was prescribed — was a nonjusticiable political question, even though the prosecution was allowed to argue that the Macedonian deployment necessitated the U.N. uniform as a “safety” measure.

At stake in New’s petition for review are not only his due process rights, but his right to a review and determination of his due process claims by an Article III court, independent of the President and the military command structure.  The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia refused to make such an independent review and judgment, deferring to the military courts on the ground that they gave “fair consideration” to New’s claims. 

New’s petition demonstrates that the court of appeals’ deferential standard of review conflicts with the standard of review not only in other circuits, but with previous decisions in the D. C. Circuit, itself, and that the Supreme Court should exercise its supervisory power to settle this important federal question.

New Petition for Writ of Certiorari with Appendix

Gun Owners Foundation Amicus Brief in United States v. Stanko November 2, 2006

Mr. Rudolph Stanko was convicted of possession of a firearm and ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1), which prohibits any person from possessing a firearm or ammunition if that person has been convicted of certain types of crimes punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.  According to the statutory definition, the predicate crime cannot be any federal or state offense "pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices."

The indictment against Mr. Stanko charged a violation of Section 922(g)(1) based upon a prior conviction of conspiracy of violating the Federal Meat Inspection Act.  Prior to trial, defendant's attorneys moved to dismiss the indictment on several grounds, including that the crime of which Mr. Stanko was convicted fell within the category of excluded business offenses.  The motion was denied, and the case was submitted to the jury without any mention of the business exclusion or any evidence that the crime of which Mr. Stanko had been convicted fit within the exclusion.

On November 2, 2006, attorneys for Gun Owners Foundation filed an amicus brief in support of Mr. Stanko's appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, contending:  (a) that the indictment was legally defective because it failed to allege that the predicate crime did not fit within the business exclusion; and (b) that the jury instructions were invalid because they did not submit the business exclusion issue to the jury.  Since the business exclusion is part of the statutory definition of the predicate crime, it is an element of the offense, and thus, must be alleged in the indictment and submitted to the jury.  Failure to do so deprived the defendant of his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.

Herb Titus Speaks At Liberty University School of Law October 23, 2006

Herb Titus spoke today at Liberty University School of Law on "The Bible: God's Lawbook for the Nations."

National Business Institute Continuing Legal Education October 17, 2006

On October 17, 2006, Bill Olson and John Miles were faculty members at a Continuing Legal Education seminar on Exempt Organizations sponsored by the National Business Institute in Fairfax, Virginia.

Wyoming v. BATF October 6, 2006

On October 6, 2006, our attorneys had the opportunity to present oral argument in support of the Gun Owners Foundation amicus brief in Wyoming v. BATF.  At stake in this litigation before the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming is the statutory and constitutional right of the state of Wyoming to conduct its own criminal background check for purchasers of firearms in Wyoming.  The Gun Owners Foundation brief sided with the state in opposition to the BATF's insistence that Wyoming's background check did not meet BATF's "national" standards.

Outgoing California Attorney General Seeks Money from Car Makers September 21, 2006

Today Bill Olson was quoted in an article in the Washington Times commenting on a lawsuit based on "public nuisance" law filed by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer against General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

Gun Owners’ Foundation Amicus Curiae Brief Against BATF, and For Wyoming August 18, 2006

On August 18, 2006, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief for Gun Owners Foundation in the U.S. District Court for the State of Wyoming on behalf of the State of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Attorney General, Patrick J. Crank. 

The brief was submitted in opposition to a BATF ruling that a Wyoming concealed carry permit based on a Montana criminal background check is not sufficient to allow an FFL dealer to transfer a firearm without obtaining a current federal National Instant Criminal Background Check.  BATF objected to a provision in Wyoming law that permits an expungement of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence so that it cannot be reviewed by the Wyoming Attorney General in conducting a criminal background check before issuing a concealed carry permit, while allowing the record to be maintained for use for other purposes. 

At stake in this case is the federalist principle that the states, not the federal government, have the primary responsibility to govern firearms use and ownership.

Paper Demonstrates Threat to Second Amendment Rights Posed by Recent Supreme Court Reliance on International Law July 2006

In July, 2006, our firm prepared a paper entitled “Assessing the Threat to Second Amendment Rights Posed by the U.S. Supreme Court's Use of Foreign Law In Constitutional Interpretation”  which was published by Gun Owners Foundation.

The paper critically analyzes two recent Supreme Court cases (Roper v. Simmons, and Lawrence v. Texas) in which the Court has relied on international law to sustain constitutional challenges.  In Roper, the Court overturned a Missouri law permitting capital punishment for 16 and 17 year olds, and in Lawrence, the Court overturned a Texas law prohibiting certain homosexual acts primarily because of foreign authorities.  Additionally, the paper reviews the pros and cons of relying on such foreign sources in other areas.  Recently, the United Nations has been pursuing a goal of eliminating all private ownership of firearms world-wide.

If the Court continues to base its constitutional decisions on foreign law, the American people may find their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms seriously undermined because of trends in countries which have had historic hostility to private firearms ownership and because of the U.N.’s penchant to restrict firearms possession and use to government officials.

Michael New Petition for Rehearing En Banc July 4, 2006

On July 4, 2006, the legal team for Michael New filed a petition for rehearing en banc of New's collateral attack on his court-martial conviction for disobedience of a "lawful" order.  In his petition, New documents the unmistakable fact that the three-judge panel decision -- affirming the district court's dismissal of his complaint that he was denied due process of law at his court-martial -- departed completely from the standard of review established in the District of Columbia Circuit for nearly 40 years.

Urging the full court to rehear his appeal, New not only supported his petition for rehearing by demonstrating that the panel opinion contained absolutely no reason for disregarding established precedent, but that the due process issues raised in New's collateral attack were of utmost importance to vindicate the ordinary soldier's constitutional and legal duty to obey only lawful military orders.

If New's court-martial conviction were allowed to stand, it will send the wrong message, weakening the duty of the commander-in-chief and his subordinate military officers to issue only lawful orders, and placing an inordinate burden on the enlisted man or woman who attempts to discharge his duty to disobey an order that is contrary to his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Social Security Totalization Agreement:  TSCL's Freedom of Information Act Complaints Filed June 29, 2006

On June 29, 2006, we filed Freedom of Information Act complaints against both the United States Department of State and the Social Security Administration in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  The complaints arise from requests for records made by TSCL beginning in 2003 relating to the Social Security Totalization Agreement which the United States Government has negotiated and signed with the government of Mexico, but which has not been presented to Congress or released publicly.

Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against the United States Department of State

Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against the Social Security Administration

Postal Law Press Coverage May 15, 2006

Bill Olson is quoted in this Govexec.com article "Legislative Provision Would Benefit Postal Service Competitors."

Religious Liberty Not to Have a Social Security Number (Idaho Court of Appeals) March 17, 2006

On March 17, 2006, we filed a supplemental reply brief bringing to the attention of the Idaho Court of Appeals the United States Supreme Court's opinion in Gonzales v. UDV, in which Chief Justice John Roberts -- writing for a unanimous court -- construed the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to provide very favorable protection to individual liberty of religious belief and practice.  In this brief we urged the Idaho Court of Appeals to give this same favorable interpretation to the Idaho Religious Freedom Restoration Act and reverse the trial court's decision denying Mr. Lewis's conscientious objection to having to disclose to the Idaho authorities the SSN that had been assigned to him in his youth and that he had later, because of religious conviction, disassociated himself therefrom.

On June 8, 2006, Herb Titus appeared before the Idaho Court of Appeals, for oral argument on behalf of Mr. Lewis.  Members of the court expressed concern that the Idaho statute protecting religious freedom conflicted with a federal statute (42 U.S.C. Section 666(13)) and the federal statute would prevail because of the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution.  In response Mr. Titus explained why there was no conflict, and that the court of appeals was duty-bound to apply the state's policy favoring liberty of religious conscience in Mr. Lewis's favor.

The court of appeals took the case under advisement.  A decision is expected later this summer or early fall.
United Seniors Association v. Social Security Administration Amicus Brief Filed to Attack Federal Statute Censoring 15 Political Words February 24, 2006

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.

The Fourth Circuit failed to apply strict scrutiny to a law that prohibits the use of the words, "Social Security" that "might" create the "false impression" that the communication is an official SSA one - a test consistently required when the government regulates content-based, core political speech.

The Court of Appeals gave USA's references to "Social Security" on its direct mail envelopes even less protection than afforded libel of a government official or even obscenity. This case is just another example of an increasing number of First Amendment cases in which the freedom of speech protection afforded the American people diminishes in direct proportion to the effectiveness, the more effective the communication, the less constitutional protection is given.
Michael New Oral Argument Press Coverage February 17, 2006

This Washington Times article, "Ex-soldier Appeals Conviction for Refusing Order," discusses the oral argument in the Michael New case and quotes Herb Titus.
Michael New Oral Argument February 16, 2006

On February 16 at 9:30AM, Herb Titus is scheduled for oral argument on behalf of Michael New before Circuit Judges Randolph and Garland and Senior Judge Williams, urging the appellate panel to reverse U.S. District Judge Friedman's order dismissing Mr. New's claim that he was unconstitutionally convicted of disobedience of a lawful order. Central to Mr. New's constitutional claims is the contention that he was deprived of his liberty without due process of law by a court-martial proceeding (a) in which the prosecution was relieved of its statutory duty to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the order to wear the U.N. uniform was a "lawful" order and (b) in which the defendant was denied any opportunity to show that the order violated both his statutory and constitutional rights on the ground that his claims raised "political questions" outside the jurisdiction of the court-martial. William J. Olson and John S. Miles of the firm and Henry L. Hamilton are with Mr. Titus on the briefs.
Former Firm Attorney Becomes Federal Magistrate Judge January 27, 2006

Former firm attorney, Honorable James E. Gates, has been appointed to serve as a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Appointed for an eight-year term, Judge Gates will handle a wide range of civil and criminal matters, including misdemeanor trials, preliminary hearings and pretrial criminal motions.

Judge Gates had previously worked for the Raleigh, North Carolina firm of Maupin, Taylor, PA.

Business Mailers Review Reports on Haldi-Olson Paper on Unbundling the Postal Service January 16, 2006

Business Mailers Review reported on the Haldi-Olson paper "Enhancing Competition By Unbundling the Postal Administration" in an article entitled "Unbundling Offered as Way to Modernize Mail." Business Mailers Review subscription information can be found at http://www.businessmailersreview.com.
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