In Re: Jackson Charitable Trust

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, Pennsylvania Superior Court

This important case resolves an issue of Trust Law. It addresses the issue of the respective roles of Institutional Trustees and Individual
(Family) Trustees in making distributions when the Trust Instrument grants that authority to both. PNC bank refused to process the Jackson Family to make grants to conservative, pro-liberty, pro-free enterprise charities, on the theory that they were “political.” PNC Bank wanted money distributed almost exclusively to Pittsburgh area charities and those providing direct aid to the poor. The Pennsylvania Superior Court roundly rejected the position of PNC Bank, and upheld the Jackson Family on almost every issue. Read More

Soto v. Bushmaster

Michael Harless Firearms Law, Supreme Court of Connecticut

Today, May 30, 2017, we filed an amicus brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court in support of gun manufacturers Bushmaster and Remington, who had been sued by the families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims.

The plaintiffs in the case had brought a “negligent entrustment” claim, arguing that the AR-15 style rifle should never have been sold because it was foreseeable that it would be used in the crime.  However, as we pointed out, neither the manufacturer, distributor, nor dealer did anything wrong with respect to this particular sale — the essence of a legal negligent entrustment claim.  Rather, the Plaintiffs instead were making the policy argument that generally no one should ever be permitted to sell any AR-15.  In other words, they were asking judges to legislate to ban AR-15 style rifles. Read More

Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore v. Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission

Michael Harless Alabama Supreme Court, Constitutional Law

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Roy S. Moore, the elected Chief Justice of the State of Alabama, based on spurious grounds related to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in favor of same sex marriage.  Today, we filed a brief in support of the Chief Justice’s appeal of that decision to the Alabama Supreme Court.

In our 55-page brief, in addition to other issues, our brief takes on the distinctly unconstitutional notion that decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court constitute the Supreme Law of the Land. Read More

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig & David — Amicus Brief

Michael Harless Colorado Supreme Court, Constitutional Law

Today we filed an a brief in the Colorado Supreme Court urging it to review a decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals which had upheld a decision of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission penalizing the Christian bakery for refusing to bake a cake to be used in the celebration of a same sex marriage.

It is strange indeed that the people of Colorado had adopted in 2006 a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, and the state legislature had passed laws implementing that constitutional provision. but now other state laws were being interpreted to force a Christian business to participation in the celebration of that same type of unlawful marriage. Read More

Young America’s Foundation v. Alice M. Wood Amicus Brief for Citizens United, et al. in the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District

Michael Harless Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Young America’s Foundation v. Alice M. Wood in the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District in support of appellant.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of Citizens United, Citizens United Foundation, Free Speech Coalition, Inc., U.S. Justice Foundation and 51 other amici curiae.

Link to brief

Smith v. Virginia Amicus Brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation in the Supreme Court of VIrginia

Michael Harless Firearms Law, Virginia Supreme Court

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Russell Ernest Smith v. Commonwealth of Virginia in the Supreme Court of Virginia on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation in support of appellant Smith. The issue in this case was whether Smith “willfully and intentionally” made a false statement (on a Form 4473) that he was not under indictment, when in fact he had been indicted two days before but did not know it. Read More

Committee to Recall Robert Menendez v. Wells Amicus Brief on Behalf of 12 Organizations

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Election Law, New Jersey Supreme Court

On May 10, 2010, on behalf of 12 organizations, the firm filed an Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court of New Jersey supporting the efforts of the plaintiff, the Committee to Recall Robert Menendez From the Office of U.S. Senator.

On November 2, 1993, by an overwhelming majority, the people of New Jersey enacted an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution which allows the people to recall their representatives to the U.S. Congress, and directing the state legislature to promulgate laws to provide for recall elections, which the legislature did in May, 1995. Read More