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William J. Olson P.C.
Files 50th Supreme Court Brief



On May 13, 2011, with our amicus curiae brief in the Daniel Chapter One case, our firm had the privilege of making its 50th filing with the U.S. Supreme Court. This includes various types of filings: Petition for Certiorari, Jurisdictional Statement, Appellants' Brief, Reply Brief, Brief for Intervenor-Respondents, Amicus Brief at the Petition Stage, and Amicus Brief on the Merits.

Of course, most of these briefs have been amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, and many 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, which translates into 50 briefs in 30 years -- but we have been picking up the pace lately. 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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Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, Inc.'s Freedom of Information Act Complaints Filed
December 30, 2009

On December 30, 2009, we filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint against the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, also known as the Federal Reserve Board, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The complaints arise from requests for records made by Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, Inc. ("GATA") beginning in 2007 relating to “gold swaps.”

Listen to more information about this lawsuit from a GATA roundtable on kingworldnews.com.

Watch a video about GATA as Al Korelin of Korelin Economics Report speaks with GATA Board of Directors at the Cambridge House Vancouver Resource Investment Conference on January 17-18, 2010.

Otis McDonald v. City of Chicago
Amicus Brief in Support of Petitioners
U.S. Supreme Court
November 23, 2009

On November 23, 2009, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioners' challenge to an ordinance banning handguns in Chicago. The amicus brief argues that the Chicago handgun ban unconstitutionally abridges petitioners’ right to keep and bear arms, a privilege or immunity belonging to them as United States citizens protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. It also explains that no wholesale change in the Supreme Court's Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence is required to rule that the Chicago ordinance unconstitutionally abridges petitioners’ right to keep and bear arms. Further, it asserts that incorporation of the right to keep and bear arms into the Due Process Clause would result in weak and potentially transitory protection of that right.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of California, Inc., Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., DownsizeDC.org, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, U.S. Border Control, and U.S. Border Control Foundation.

David R. Olofson — Petition for Certiorari filed in U.S. Supreme Court
August 28, 2009

On August 28, 2009, our firm filed a Petition for Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, on behalf of Army Reservist David Olofson, urging the Court to grant Certiorari to review the Seventh Circuit decision affirming Olofson's conviction. The Petition was docketed on August 31, 2009. Amicus briefs are due by September 30, 2009.

Olofson was sentenced to prison for 30 months for transferring a "machine gun" — which really was a lawful-to-own, semi-automatic AR-15 rifle which occasionally manifested a "hammer-follow" malfunction, resulting in short bursts followed by jamming.

The prosecutor tried the case on the theory that a firearm's malfunction is no defense, and any weapon which fires more than one round with a single pull of the trigger is a "machinegun," under the National Firearms Act “no matter what the cause.”

This case is well known in the "black-rifle" community, and has been featured on several occasions by Lou Dobbs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB237rfvHys — January 22, 2009.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJxbc6LOUgY — February 18, 2009.

At the heart of Olofson's Petition is the claim that his conviction was obtained and affirmed only by the adoption of a definition of "machine gun" directly contrary to the Supreme Court's definition of that term in Staples v. United States, 511 U.S. 600 (1994).

This is an important case, as it puts at risk every owner of a semi-automatic rifle, shotgun or handgun of being convicted of a felony for owning a malfunctioning weapon that "doubles" or otherwise exhibits multiple-round fire.

Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation have funded the appellate work for this case.

The Appendix to the Petition for Certiorari appears here.

On September 30, 2009, the Montana Shooting Sports Association and the Virginia Citizens Defense League filed an amicus brief supporting our petition for certiorari. This brief explains the many ways in which conventional firearms can malfunction, resulting in multiple round fire, and the danger to gun owners everywhere of allowing Olofson's conviction to stand. This instructive amicus brief was authored by David T. Hardy and E. Stewart Rhodes.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Amicus Brief in Support of Appellant
U.S. Supreme Court
July 31, 2009

On July 31, 2009, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of appellant Citizens United on a supplemental question. The amicus brief urges that Citizens United’s challenge to federal regulation of electioneering communications be sustained, and the decisions in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. FEC, as applied to BCRA section 203, be overruled since they endorse an erroneous view of the freedom of speech that conflicts with Citizens United’s freedom of the press. Contrary to the assumptions in Austin and McConnell, the freedom of the press does not confer a special privilege upon the institutional press, but is enjoyed by all the people. Austin’s and McConnell’s narrow reading of the press freedom is not only contrary to history, but at odds with new realities of journalism.

Further, the amicus brief explains that BCRA section 203 violates Citizens United’s freedom of press by: (1) establishing a licensing system; (2) operating as an unconstitutional previous restraint; (3) intruding into the editorial function; (4) imposing discriminatory economic penalties and burdens; and (5) forcing the public disclosure of the names and addresses of authors and publishers.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of The Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Free Speech Coalition, Inc., The Abraham Lincoln Foundation for Public Policy Research, Inc., American Values, Americans for the Preservation of Liberty, Base Connect, Inc., Michael Cloud, Concerned Women for America, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Constitution Party, Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, Inc., Eberle Communications Group, Inc., English First, English First Foundation, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Carla Howell, Institute on the Constitution, The Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, The National Center for Public Policy Research, The National Right to Work Committee, National Taxpayers Union, The Richard Norman Company, The Senior Citizens League, U.S. Border Control, U.S. Border Control Foundation, and The United States Constitutional Rights Legal Defense Fund, Inc.

McDonald v. City of Chicago
NRA v. City of Chicago
Amicus Brief in Support of
Petitions for a Writ of Certiorari
U.S. Supreme Court
July 6, 2009

On July 6, 2009, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation in support of petitioners' request for a writ of certiorari. These cases involve challenges to City of Chicago and Village of Oak Park bans on handguns. At issue is whether the Fourteenth Amendment applies the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms against the States. The amicus brief urges that the petitions present an important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by the Supreme Court. It also argues that the Chicago and Oak Park handgun bans abridge one of the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States — the right to keep and bear arms — in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

National Taxpayers Union v
Social Security Administration
Amicus Brief in Support of Petitioner
U.S. Supreme Court
May 11, 2009

On May 11, 2009, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioner National Taxpayers Union. At issue in this case is the constitutionality of a statute — section 1140 of the Social Security Act — which was misused to uphold significant penalties against National Taxpayers Union for engaging in core political speech, entitled to the strongest First Amendment protection possible. The amicus brief submits that the court of appeals erred by failing to apply correctly certain precedents of the Supreme Court, and that the decision of the court of appeals, if allowed to stand, would impede the free exercise of core political speech by persons and organizations critical of government policies and programs.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Free Speech Coalition, Inc., The Abraham Lincoln Foundation for Public Policy Research, Inc., American Civil Rights Union, American Conservative Union, Americans for the Preservation of Liberty, Concerned Women for America, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Downsize DC.org, Downsize DC Foundation, English First, English First Foundation, First Amendment Project, Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, Freedom’s Call, Inc., Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, Heritage Alliance, The Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Media Research Center, The National Center for Public Policy Research, Public Advocate of the United States, The Senior Citizens League, Traditional Values Coalition, U.S. Border Control, U.S. Border Control Foundation, U.S. Constitutional Rights Legal Defense Foundation, Young America’s Foundation, American Target Advertising, Inc., ClearWord Communications, Inc., and Eberle & Associates, Inc.

Articles on Iowa Supreme Court's Opinion
Purporting to Redefine Marriage to Include Same-Sex Couples
May 3, 2009

Herb Titus recently wrote two "op ed" articles arguing that the Iowa Governor has a constitutional duty not to enforce the Iowa Supreme Court's opinion that the state constitution requires that the state's law defining marriage must be redefined to include same-sex couples.

April 24, 2009 in the Des Moines Register

May 3, 2009 in the Sioux City Journal

Firm's Representation of GATA
Reported on by London Times
March 28, 2009

In an article "Is there any gold inside Fort Knox, the world's most secure vault?" the London Times discusses the firm's work for GATA (Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee) in using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information about the Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve's use of what it calls "gold swaps."

Supreme Court Decides Wyeth Case
March 4, 2009

The Supreme Court ruled by a 6 to 3 vote that approval of a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not prohibit a state court jury from finding a pharmaceutical manufacturer liable for personal injury caused by the inadequacy of an FDA-approved warning label on that drug. We had filed an amicus brief urging this view for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Justice Thomas' Concurring Opinion reflected the views set out in the TSCL amicus brief that the Tenth Amendment secures to the states and the people common law rights that a federal agency, like the FDA, cannot trespass upon with impunity.
See TSCL Press Release.

Bill Olson Interviewed on
Conservative Roundtable TV Show
on Health Freedom Issues
March 4, 2009

Bill Olson was a guest on Conservative Roundtable's Television show to discuss health freedom issues. Among the matters discussed was the Daniel Chapter One case, where our firm is assisting in the defense of a health-related ministry promoting herbal and alternative medical products from an attack by the FTC. Information about the FTC attack on this ministry.

Olofson Case Covered
by World Net Daily
March 2, 2009

World Net Daily ran a story entitled "Appeals Decision Awaited in Broken Gun Case: Man serving 30 months for loaning rifle that malfunctioned" on the Olofson case, which our firm is handling.

Olofson Case Covered on
Lou Dobbs Tonight TV Show
February 18, 2009

Herb Titus was a guest on the Lou Dobbs Tonight television show today, to discuss the Olofson case, which our firm is handling. He appeared with Len Savage who had been a witness for David Olofson at trial.

BATF Firearm Civil Forfeiture
Procedures and Policies:
An Attorney's Guide
January 30, 2009

On behalf of Gun Owners Foundation, our firm authored “BATF Firearm Civil Forfeiture Procedures and Policies: An Attorney's Guide” on July 4, 2007. The guide is intended to provide a procedural overview for attorneys unfamiliar with civil forfeiture law as it applies to firearms, including what to expect from the BATF, and how to go about recovering seized assets.
This manual has been revised as of January 30, 2009.

Olofson Case — Oral Argument
January 22, 2009

On January 22, 2009, Herb Titus presented oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of David Olofson's appeal from having been wrongfully convicted of transfering a machinegun.  At the heart of the Olofson appeal, Titus contended, is that the Government pressed a wrongful definition of a machinegun in order to secure Olofson's conviction.  According to the government's definition, Olofson's malfunctioning semiautomatic rifle functioned as a machinegun because it fired more than one shot at the single pull of a trigger, even though it jammed before the trigger was released or the ammunition in the magazine was exhausted.  The government's position, Titus argued, is contrary to fact, contrary to law, and in conflict with Supreme Court Seventh Circuit precedent.  Indeed, according to the briefs filed by the firm, Olofson's prosecutor adopted a definition of a machinegun inconsistent with prior ATF rulings and guidelines.

Lou Dobbs covered oral argument in the case.  The CNN video can be viewed at http://gunowners.org/svtb.htm

Daniel Chapter One Motion to Dismiss January 11, 2009

Our firm has been retained to assist in the defense of Daniel Chapter One (DCO), a health and healing ministry, and which is under attack by the FTC. On January 11, 2009, DCO filed a Motion to Dismiss.
Information about the FTC attack on this ministry.

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