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  • Backgrounder posted December 22, 2015 by Andrew Kloster, Joel Griffith Illinois Pension Reform: Three Wrongs Do Not Make a Right

    In May 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court invalidated a 2013 state pension reform law as violating the Illinois constitution.[1] The law (hereinafter “Pension Reform Law”),[2] which adjusted benefit provisions and retirement ages, was held to conflict with the part of the state constitution that reads: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State…shall be an…

  • Legal Memorandum posted November 24, 2015 by Andrew Kloster Vermont Lawsuit a Test Case for GMO-Labeling Laws and the First Amendment

    On May 8, 2014, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont signed Act 120 into law.[1] This law will become enforceable on July 1, 2016, and is one of the country’s first mandatory-labeling laws for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).[2] Connecticut and Maine also have passed GMO-labeling laws, and similar bills have been introduced in many other state legislatures.[3] The…

  • Commentary posted November 13, 2015 by Andrew Kloster The Face of Mob Rule in Higher Education

    America's universities are supposed to be places where students can get an education. The vast majority of students want that. Some, however, do not. They want a "safe space" where their strange ideas about society can be aired without criticism, and where they can unilaterally punish other students for failing to toe the mass line. These student activists want blood.…

  • Commentary posted November 3, 2015 by Andrew Kloster Illinois Supreme Court should uphold Chicago pension deal

    Nov. 17 — that's the date set for the Illinois State Supreme Court to hear oral arguments regarding a 2014 deal to overhaul the city of Chicago's pension plans. It's a golden opportunity for the court to clarify or — better yet — overturn its misguided decision earlier this year, which invalidated the 2013 statewide pension reforms. Let's hope the court does so. Back…

  • Legal Memorandum posted March 13, 2015 by Andrew Kloster, Alden Abbott King v. Burwell and the Mandates: What Happens If the Supreme Court Rules Against the Administration?

    On March 4, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in King v. Burwell.[1] This case is a challenge by individuals (petitioners) who do not wish to comply with the so-called minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare).[2] If the plaintiffs are successful, an Obama Administration rule granting certain…

  • Issue Brief posted December 5, 2014 by Jason Snead, Andrew Kloster Washington, D.C., Civil Forfeiture Reform: A Model for the States

    On November 18, the District of Columbia City Council passed Bill 20-48, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Amendment Act of 2014.[1] Two years in the making, Bill 20-48 touches on virtually every area of forfeiture law in the nation’s capital city. It affords new and strengthened due process protections to property owners and aims to rein in some of the more questionable…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2014 by Andrew Kloster Can Gays Force Michigan to Marry Them?

    Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States surprised the national news media by refusing to hear any of the seven same-sex marriage cases that had been pending. Following that denial of review, the status of same-sex marriage appears to be based on an odd sort of federalism. If you live in a region of the country governed by a federal appeals court that has…

  • Issue Brief posted September 19, 2014 by Robert Gordon, Andrew Kloster Wage Garnishment Without a Court Order: Not a Good Idea

    Right before the July 4th holiday this year, the ‌Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a direct final rule entitled “Administrative Wage Garnishment.”[1] This rule sought to amend EPA standards for claims collections, implementing the wage garnishment provisions of the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996.[2] It did so by incorporating by reference a…

  • Commentary posted September 8, 2014 by Andrew Kloster, James Sherk Why Your City or Town Could Be the Next Step for Right-to-Work

    Should workers have to pay union dues to keep their job? Unions think so — their contracts require companies to fire workers who do not pay up. Fortunately, many states have passed “right-to-work” (RTW) laws that prohibit this coercion. Unions, however, have blocked right-to-work in 26 states, but this doesn’t mean that unionized workers in these states must pay up. In…

  • Backgrounder posted August 26, 2014 by James Sherk, Andrew Kloster Local Governments Can Increase Job Growth and Choices by Passing Right-to-Work Laws

    Union contracts often compel employees to pay union dues or lose their jobs. This forces workers to support the union financially even if the union contract has negative consequences for them or they oppose the union’s agenda. Twenty-four states have passed “right-to-work” (RTW) laws which prevent companies from firing workers who do not pay union dues. RTW laws expand…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Andrew Kloster The Supreme Court's Top Ten Cases

    With the Supreme Court on summer recess, it's time to review the biggest cases of the October 2013 docket. SCOTUSblog's "Stat Pack" notes that the Court this term had a high degree of unanimity and a relative lack of 5-4 decisions. But by margins both large and small, the court issued a number of important cases. Reasonable people can, of course, disagree about the…

  • Legal Memorandum posted May 22, 2014 by Andrew Kloster California Shell Egg Regulations Run Afoul of the Commerce Clause

    In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 2, which prohibits the confinement of certain farm animals in certain ways.[1] This law, which will enter into effect on January 1, 2015, will place California shell egg producers at a competitive disadvantage against out-of-state shell egg producers: To comply with Proposition 2, for example, California producers will need to…

  • Issue Brief posted April 10, 2014 by Andrew Kloster Heart of Atlanta Motel: Public Accommodation Law at 50

    Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1964.[1] This landmark piece of legislation outlawed certain forms of discrimination across the nation, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. One of the types of discriminatory conduct prohibited by the CRA was discrimination in public accommodation.[2] This…

  • Commentary posted March 21, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery, Andrew Kloster Obama's Presidency Is Increasingly Lawless

    Stretching executive power beyond the bounds of reasonableness has been a hallmark of President Obama’s administration. When his policies fail to make it through Congress, he imposes “laws” by executive fiat. When he disagrees with the law or finds it politically expedient not to enforce the law, he ignores it, skirts it or makes dubious claims of prosecutorial…

  • Legal Memorandum posted March 7, 2014 by Andrew Kloster, Joseph A Morris Warning: Side Effects of Special Congressional Health Handout May Include Lawsuits

    “[W]e have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” —Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi[1] On the long, strange road to passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the August 2009 death of Senator Ted Kennedy (D–MA) proved to be a decisive moment. By signaling the possible end of the Senate Democrats’ filibuster-proof supermajority, Kennedy’s…