Legal Memorandum posted November 24, 2015
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. 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). Connecticut and Maine also have passed GMO-labeling laws, and similar bills have been introduced in many other state legislatures.
Legal Memorandum posted March 13, 2015
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. 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).
If the plaintiffs are successful, an Obama Administration rule granting certain…
Issue Brief posted December 5, 2014
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. 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…
Issue Brief posted September 19, 2014
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.” This rule sought to amend EPA standards for claims collections, implementing the wage garnishment provisions of the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996. It did so by incorporating by reference a…
Backgrounder posted August 26, 2014
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…
Legal Memorandum posted May 22, 2014
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. 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
Heart of Atlanta Motel: Public Accommodation Law at 50
Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1964. 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. This…
Legal Memorandum posted March 7, 2014
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
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…
Legal Memorandum posted February 12, 2014
An Executive Unbound: The Obama Administration’s Unilateral Actions
“We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”
—President Barack Obama
The rule of law is a bedrock principle of Anglo–American jurisprudence. It stands for the belief that all—including government officials—are subject to the law and not above it. America’s Founding Fathers understood this principle, and the…