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  • Commentary posted March 27, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Lois Lerner’s New Lawyer

    The latest action of Representative Elijah Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democratic member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, makes one wonder whether he has received a retainer from Lois Lerner. Lerner, of course, is the former IRS official at the heart of the scandal over the targeting of conservative organizations. Cummings appears to be acting as…

  • Commentary posted January 8, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Will Chicago’s Latest Gun Ban Being Thrown out Finally Teach the City a Lesson?

    The decision on Monday by federal judge Edmond Chang in Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers v. Chicago to throw out Chicago’s ban on gun sales comes as no surprise, but it illustrates the continuing efforts of the city’s political leadership, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to deny the Second Amendment rights of its residents and to evade a U.S. Supreme Court…

  • Commentary posted December 18, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Silencing Conservatives - The Administration's Latest Attempt to Censor Political Speech

    On Nov. 29, when Americans were with their families giving thanks for the founding of our great nation, the Obama administration quietly unveiled its latest attempt to silence the political opposition to a mostly-empty Washington. As if the indefensible attack on Tea Party and other conservative organizations documented by the IRS Inspector General wasn’t enough, the IRS…

  • Commentary posted November 13, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Possible Use of Federal Dollars in Settlement of Mount Holly Case

    The city council of Mount Holly, N. J. has scheduled a town meeting tonight to discuss the proposed settlement of its Supreme Court case, Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action. The Obama administration is worried about the possibility of a decision striking down the disparate-impact approach to civil-rights enforcement under the Fair Housing Act,…

  • Commentary posted November 1, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Last-Minute Settlement Saves 'Disparate Impact' - Again

    “Disparate impact” — a legal theory favored by the administration in bringing discrimination lawsuits — has once again ducked its day in court. For the second time in two years, a settlement has been engineered with the parties challenging the dubious theory, effectively keeping the Supreme Court from ruling on its validity. The Wall Street Journal reports that a…

  • Commentary posted October 24, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Elizabeth Slattery Packing Washington's most crucial court

    The U.S. Senate will soon vote on the nominations of three individuals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. This court is widely regarded as a steppingstone to the Supreme Court. Because of its location in the nation’s capital, a considerable portion of its cases involve federal agencies. This makes the D.C. Circuit a watchdog over the…

  • Commentary posted October 16, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Getting Rid of Discrimination by Any Means Necessary

    The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a case that features a party with one of the longest and most pretentious names ever to appear on the court’s docket: Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). Hopefully, the justices viewed the arguments made by BAMN…

  • Commentary posted October 8, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Supreme Court's Latest Opportunity to Restore the First Amendment

    Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will give the justices another opportunity to overturn a campaign finance regulation that directly restricts the associational and free speech rights of American citizens. Hopefully, the Supremes will get it right – as the majority did in the Citizens United decision back in 2010 when they threw out an…

  • Legal Memorandum posted September 23, 2013 by Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the Supreme Court’s October 2013 Term

    The Supreme Court of the United States begins its next term on October 7, 2013. The 2012 term was marked by a series of high-profile civil rights cases: a challenge to the Voting Rights Act coverage formula, a case dealing with racial preferences in higher education, Arizona’s proof of citizenship voter registration requirement, and, of course, the long-awaited same-sex…

  • Backgrounder posted March 27, 2013 by Andrew Kloster Why Congress and the Courts Must Respect Citizens’ Rights to Arbitration

    In 1925, Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA),[1] establishing a strong federal policy in favor of arbitration. A form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration reduces litigation costs, a savings that is passed on to consumers. Despite its advantages, however, arbitration has recently come under attack in Congress, executive agencies, and the courts.…

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  • Report posted June 20, 2011 by John Yoo, James C. Ho The Sword and the Purse (Part 2); The President as Commander in Chief

    Under the Articles of Confederation, all war power was vested in a Congress and the United States lacked a formal executive. This arrangement proved unworkable as America’s foreign policy and defense, deprived of executive guidance, floundered. Recognizing the need for an executive to act with swiftness and dispatch in response to foreign threats, the Framers of the…

  • Legal Memorandum posted December 13, 2011 by Paul Larkin Overcriminalization: The Legislative Side of the Problem

    Abstract: The past 75 years in America have witnessed an avalanche of new criminal laws, the result of which is a problem known as “overcriminalization.” This phenomenon is likely to lead to a variety of problems for a public trying to comply with the law in good faith. While many of these issues have already been discussed, one problem created by the overcriminalization…

  • WebMemo posted July 19, 2005 by John McGinnis Advice and Consent: What the Constitution Says

    Editor's Note: Between various presidential nominations now bottled up in the U.S. Senate, and now the intense focus on a nomination to the United States Supreme Court, there have been numerous musings about presidential nominations, the advice and consent of the Senate, and the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and other officers of the United States. This…

  • WebMemo posted April 20, 2010 by Jack Park Terrorist on Your Street?

    On March 22, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ordered that Mohamedou Ould Slahi, one of the most dangerous terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, be released. Although the Obama Administration has decided to appeal the decision, if the court’s order stands several issues will have to be addressed, including where Slahi will go, and, if no other country will…

  • Commentary posted November 1, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Last-Minute Settlement Saves 'Disparate Impact' - Again

    “Disparate impact” — a legal theory favored by the administration in bringing discrimination lawsuits — has once again ducked its day in court. For the second time in two years, a settlement has been engineered with the parties challenging the dubious theory, effectively keeping the Supreme Court from ruling on its validity. The Wall Street Journal reports that a…

  • Commentary posted October 8, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Supreme Court's Latest Opportunity to Restore the First Amendment

    Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will give the justices another opportunity to overturn a campaign finance regulation that directly restricts the associational and free speech rights of American citizens. Hopefully, the Supremes will get it right – as the majority did in the Citizens United decision back in 2010 when they threw out an…

  • Backgrounder posted March 27, 2013 by Andrew Kloster Why Congress and the Courts Must Respect Citizens’ Rights to Arbitration

    In 1925, Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA),[1] establishing a strong federal policy in favor of arbitration. A form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration reduces litigation costs, a savings that is passed on to consumers. Despite its advantages, however, arbitration has recently come under attack in Congress, executive agencies, and the courts.…

  • Issue Brief posted July 11, 2012 by Nina Owcharenko The Supreme Court’s Medicaid Decision: The Obamacare Mess Just Got Messier

    If the Administration’s attempt to centralize health care decision making in Washington was unworkable, its unconstitutional imposition on the states has made its problems even worse. Long before the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Medicaid mandate on the states as unconstitutionally coercive, opponents of the health care law argued that it would be…

  • Legal Memorandum posted September 21, 2012 by Paul Larkin, Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the Supreme Court’s October Term, 2012

    Abstract: Given the excitement and importance of the recently concluded Supreme Court term, it is possible that the upcoming term will lack the same dazzling array of issues; just as not every baseball lineup is loaded with players like the 1927 Yankees Murderers Row, not every Supreme Court term is chock-full of Hall of Fame cases. Still, the next few years promise their…

  • Testimony posted December 13, 2011 by Edwin Meese III Principles for Revising the Criminal Code

    Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security December 13, 2011 Edwin Meese IIIChairman, Center for Legal & Judicial StudiesThe Heritage Foundation Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairman Gohmert, Ranking Member Scott, and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to present my views…

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  • Legal Memorandum posted September 23, 2013 by Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the Supreme Court’s October 2013 Term

    The Supreme Court of the United States begins its next term on October 7, 2013. The 2012 term was marked by a series of high-profile civil rights cases: a challenge to the Voting Rights Act coverage formula, a case dealing with racial preferences in higher education, Arizona’s proof of citizenship voter registration requirement, and, of course, the long-awaited same-sex…

  • Backgrounder posted March 27, 2013 by Andrew Kloster Why Congress and the Courts Must Respect Citizens’ Rights to Arbitration

    In 1925, Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA),[1] establishing a strong federal policy in favor of arbitration. A form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration reduces litigation costs, a savings that is passed on to consumers. Despite its advantages, however, arbitration has recently come under attack in Congress, executive agencies, and the courts.…

  • Issue Brief posted March 18, 2013 by Ryan T. Anderson Marriage Matters: Consequences of Redefining Marriage

    The Supreme Court is considering challenges to state and federal laws that define marriage as the union of a man and woman. After lower courts ruled against these marriage laws, the Supreme Court now has the opportunity to uphold the laws and return to citizens and their elected representatives the authority for answering questions about marriage policy. If marriage…

  • Issue Brief posted November 13, 2012 by John Malcolm, Jessica Zuckerman Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008

    In September, the House of Representatives passed the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), which made key updates to the authorities granted to U.S. intelligence under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Reauthorization of the bill, which expires at the end of this year, has yet to be taken up by the Senate.…

  • Backgrounder posted October 10, 2012 by Dominique Ludvigson Circumventing Citizens on Marriage: A Survey

    Abstract: Despite a history of consistent voter support for traditional marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to address questions concerning this foundational social institution. The issue has been forced onto the Court’s docket by activist judges who have overruled democratically established marriage policies and by executive branch officials who have…

  • Legal Memorandum posted September 21, 2012 by Paul Larkin, Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the Supreme Court’s October Term, 2012

    Abstract: Given the excitement and importance of the recently concluded Supreme Court term, it is possible that the upcoming term will lack the same dazzling array of issues; just as not every baseball lineup is loaded with players like the 1927 Yankees Murderers Row, not every Supreme Court term is chock-full of Hall of Fame cases. Still, the next few years promise their…

  • Issue Brief posted July 11, 2012 by Nina Owcharenko The Supreme Court’s Medicaid Decision: The Obamacare Mess Just Got Messier

    If the Administration’s attempt to centralize health care decision making in Washington was unworkable, its unconstitutional imposition on the states has made its problems even worse. Long before the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Medicaid mandate on the states as unconstitutionally coercive, opponents of the health care law argued that it would be…

  • Issue Brief posted June 27, 2012 by Matt A. Mayer, John Malcolm Childish Reaction to Supreme Court Immigration Ruling: Obama Administration Ends a Key Joint Program with Arizona

    Although both Arizona and the United States prevailed in different parts of the Supreme Court’s immigration ruling this week, the Obama Administration’s immediate response seems like a childish slap in the face of the Supreme Court, Arizona, and any other state that might challenge its authority. Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissenting opinion, which would…

  • Issue Brief posted June 27, 2012 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Arizona v. United States: What the States Can Do to Enforce Immigration Laws

    Since the Supreme Court issued its decision on June 25 on Arizona’s immigration law,[1] numerous news reports and commenters have mistakenly said that most of the Arizona law was struck down. That is simply wrong. The error is apparently based on the mistaken assumption that the four provisions reviewed by the Supreme Court were the entire law. But in reality, most…

  • Issue Brief posted April 20, 2012 by Elizabeth Slattery Supreme Court Immigration Showdown: Why States Can Enforce Immigration Laws

    On April 25, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case with significant implications for immigration policy and enforcement well beyond the immediate statute at issue. Arizona v. United States is a challenge to much of the state enforcement scheme of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (S.B. 1070), which was enacted to detect and address illegal immigration in Arizona.…

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