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  • 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…

  • Legal Memorandum posted February 12, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery, Andrew Kloster 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[1] 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…

  • Commentary posted January 29, 2014 by Andrew Kloster Federal Contract ‘Minimum Wage’ Hike Likely Unlawful

    Charles C. W. Cooke lays out a number of reasons why Congress should exercise its power of the purse and censure the president if he makes good on his State of the Union promise to unilaterally increase the federal contractor “minimum wage.” Cooke rightly notes that the executive can indeed set the terms of its contracts, which normally would mean that the president could…

  • Backgrounder posted January 9, 2014 by John Malcolm, Andrew Kloster A Balanced Approach to Patent Reform: Addressing the Patent-Troll Problem Without Stifling Innovation

    Patent rights, like other property rights, serve as a vital engine of economic growth, improving the quality (and length, in the case of innovative medical devices and techniques and new pharmaceuticals) of Americans’ lives. Garage inventors and multinational companies alike spend time and money researching and developing new ideas and technologies that make people’s…

  • Legal Memorandum posted November 7, 2013 by Andrew Kloster Bond v. United States: Federalism’s Limits on the Treaty Power

    The provisions of the Constitution do not want for exercise in the courts through litigation, so when a hugely important clause in the Constitution appears before the Supreme Court of the United States after nearly a century of neglect, the public should take notice. For example, in 2008, the Supreme Court decided District of Columbia v. Heller,[1] holding that the Second…

  • Issue Brief posted October 9, 2013 by Andrew Kloster The President’s Legal Authority at the Debt Limit

    Some time between the middle and the end of October, the federal government will reach a hard limit on the amount of debt it can issue, and its ability to finance governmental operations will be affected. Confusion about the debt limit abounds, and this Issue Brief will address some common questions. What Is the Debt Limit? The United States debt limit, or debt…