We began the year with a brief opposing abortion in the U.S. Supreme Court. Our brief defends a Louisiana statute requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. The Louisiana statute is similar to the Texas statute considered in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The law was challenged by an abortion clinic and abortion doctors, claiming that the statute creates an “undue burden” on the court-created right to an abortion. Our brief argued that the clinic and the doctors did not have standing to assert the rights of women who were not part of the case. Instead, we argued, the “undue burden” test is flawed and should be abandoned. Finally, we explained that for decades the Supreme Court has applied its terrible “super-precedent” of Roe v. Wade, to corrupt any legal principle that would stand in the way of abortion rights. We asked the Court to continue to reject what we termed its “abortion-predilection” jurisprudence that began with National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, 138 S. Ct. 2361 (2018) (“NIFLA”). The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in the case on March 4, 2020.
Tonight, approximately 3,000 people came out to support Fauquier County, Virginia adopting a Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution. Rob Olson spoke out in favor of the resolution supported by Virginia Civilian Defense League (VCDL), but against the watered down version that had been proposed. As he advised the elected officials: “Let’s do better than this. Let’s grow a spine and adopt something that’s meaningful.” Watch the video here.
Today, Rob Olson presented oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in our continuing litigation against ATF’s bump stock regulation issued in December 2018. The issue today before the court was the correctness of District Judge Paul Maloney’s ruling denying our motion for a preliminary injunction against the regulation. This article in CourthouseNews discusses the oral argument.
Today we filed comments with the IRS, supporting its proposed regulation to eliminate the requirement for exempt organizations, other than IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, to identify the name and address of their largest donors on their IRS Form 990s. These comments were filed for Free Speech Coalition, Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, and eleven other organizations. We asked the IRS to expand the exemption to include section 501(c)(3) organizations as well.
John Crump of Ammoland wrote an article about Gun Owners of America obtaining from ATF its internal “Firearms Industry Operations Manual.” This manual allows FFLs to better prepare for inspections by ATF. The manual was obtained by GOA in a matter our firm handled A PDF of the manual is available here.
Rob Olson joined with Tim Harmsen of the Military Arms Channel, Erich Pratt and Jordan Stein to attend today’s Second Amendment Rally in Washington D.C. Tim Harmsen is one of the plaintiffs, along with GOA and GOF, in challenging the ATF Bumpstock ban.
Today we filed our fourth amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 22 organizations and fundraisers opposing a California requirement that nonprofits surrender the names of their large donors before soliciting contributions in that state. Now, we are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision of the Ninth Circuit.This is the sixth brief we filed defending the right of nonprofits to withhold IRS Form 990 Schedules B, protecting the anonymity of their donors. In our brief, we address four issues —why such disclosure demands are unconstitutional for four reasons: freedom of association under NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Alabama; blanket restrictions of charitable solicitation under Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates; breach of anonymity under Watchtower v. Village of Stratton and Talley v. California; and lastly, because in addition to retaliation by the public, government officials could retaliate against those donors funding nonprofits working to oppose government policies.
Today our firm filed an amicus brief in a challenge to a California law limiting the capacity of magazines to 10 rounds. We explain that the two-step test used by the lower federal courts undermines the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Heller and McDonald. And we explain that weapons useful in military service are exactly the type of weapons covered by the Second Amendment under United States v. Miller and Heller.
Today our firm filed its second amicus brief in a challenge to the most sweeping Fourth Amendment violations ever committed by the U.S. government. (Our last brief was filed over four years ago.) This suit seeks to stop three different mass surveillance programs operated by the federal government — programs which have seized Internet (email, internet searches, etc.) and telephone communications of Americans since after 09-11. The district court below dismissed Jewel’s Fourth Amendment claims in 2015, but the Ninth Circuit case reversed and sent the case back. Earlier this year, the district court again dismissed Jewel’s Fourth Amendment claims. Our brief here asserts that Jewel established standing, that Jewel properly set out a property (and privacy) based claim for a Fourth Amendment violation, and explains how the government’s seizure and search of records was even worse than a prohibited general warrant.
Today we filed our reply brief in the Sixth Circuit challenge to the ATF bumpstock regulations brought by Gun Owners of America. The issue is the district court’s refusal to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the ATF from declaring bump stocks contraband, by classifying them as machine guns.
Today we filed our second amicus brief in the defense of a firearms manufacturer who was sued in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook shooting. Our prior brief was in the Connecticut Supreme Court. This brief supports the manufacturer’s effort to obtain review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Most of the plaintiffs’ theories were rejected by the Connecticut Supreme Court, but it allowed the case to proceed based on advertising that supposedly would have appealed to young males to conduct shootings. Our brief explains why the Connecticut Court erred in its creation of a huge exception to the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a statute designed specifically to protect firearms manufacturers and dealers from suits such as this one.
Today we file our fourth amicus brief in support of President Trump’s authority to rescind President Obama’s unconstitutional DACA policy. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court chose to review the lower court orders which have prevented President Trump from changing policy, and we address the issues in our merits amicus brief. We explain why the decision to end DACA was not judicially reviewable, and that DACA itself was unlawful. Our prior briefs were filed February 2, 2018 in the U.S. Supreme Court, March 14, 2018 in the Second Circuit, and December 6, 2018 in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Today we filed our third amicus brief in support of Altitude Express from a case brought by a homosexual skydiving instructor who was fired for speaking inappropriately at work about his sexual orientation. The Altitude Express case has been consolidated with a case from the Eleventh Circuit — Bostock. As in the Harris Funeral Case, we explain that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Ac does not apply to sexual orientation.
Today we filed our third amicus brief in support of a Christian employer, Harris Funeral Homes, against a case brought by a male who demanded his employer allow him to dress like a woman. We explained why Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act could never be interpreted to apply to such claims.
Today, Bill Olson and Herb Titus co-authored a paper explaining the serious dangers associated with the calling of an Article V Constitutional Convention. The paper addressed two false premises underlying the proposal: 1. The problem of big government is found in the text of the U.S. Constitution, which can be corrected by changing the words of the document. 2. The only remedy to the problem of an out-of-control federal government is changing the Constitutional text. Additionally, our paper addressed the two false assurances being offered by those demanding that state legislatures put at risk all of our constitutional protections: 1. There is no danger of a Runaway Convention. 2. A small minority of the State Legislatures can stop bad proposals from being ratified.
Our FOIA suit for Citizens United to obtain additional documents about the Christopher Steele briefing at the State Department concerning the Steele Dossier on October 11, 2016 continues. Today we filed our Memorandum in Opposition to the State Department’s Motion for Summary Judgment together with our Reply to the State Department’s Opposition to our Motion for Summary Judgment.
Also filed today was Exhibit A to our filing, which consists of documents recently released by the State Department on July 5, 2019.
Lastly, we filed our Statement of Genuine Issues.
Today our firm filed its second amicus brief challenging the City of Chicago’s “bubble zone” ordinance, designed to prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from speaking to pregnant women at the last opportunity before they enter an abortion clinic. As we did in our first brief in the Seventh Circuit, we argue here that this case should be handled not as an abortion rights case, but as a First Amendment case — and that the legal principles that apply to First Amendment cases should not be bent merely because this case involves the issue of abortion.
Today we filed our opening brief in the Sixth Circuit case of Gun Owners of America v. Barr — challenging the district court’s refusal to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the ATF total ban on the private ownership of bump stocks.
Today we filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine its Terry v. Ohio, stop-and-frisk doctrine. Although Terry stop and frisks were limited to a search for weapons, in this case one was used to justify seizing a bullet. Since that decision in 1968, both Fourth and Second Amendment law has changed. The property basis of the Fourth Amendment has been re-established, and the Second Amendment has been recognized as protecting an individual right.
Today we filed a motion for summary judgment, memorandum of points and authorities, and two proposed orders in a FOIA case seeking records on an October 11, 2016 briefing which Christopher Steele gave at the State Department concerning his Steele dossier. This is the case in which the State Department released never-before-seen Kavalec emails proving that the FBI was on notice that the Steele dossier was politically motivated and highly unreliable, even before it was used to obtain the first FISA warrant against Carter Page.
Today the Supreme Court issued an order in a case in which we had filed an amicus brief — Commissioner v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana. Justice Thomas wrote a concurring opinion, referencing both our amicus brief (at 18) and several of the authorities that we cited in our brief in his discussion of the link between abortion and eugenics.. Our brief was filed on behalf of: Pro-Life Legal Defense Fund, Eleanor McCullen, One Nation Under God Foundation, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Pass the Salt Ministries, Liberty Fellowship, Pastor Chuck Baldwin, Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, Policy Analysis Center, Restoring Liberty Action Committee, and Center for Morality.
Today we filed our second amicus brief in support of a challenge to New York City’s near prohibition on transporting firearms. This is the first Second Amendment case that the U.S. Supreme Court has heard since Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010). Our brief details the lower courts’ open prejudice against gun rights and its disregard for the Supreme Court’s protection of Second Amendment rights since those earlier cases.