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  • Legal Memorandum posted April 7, 2014 by Roger Clegg, Hans A. von Spakovsky, Elizabeth Slattery What Congress Can Do to Stop Racial Discrimination

    “In the eyes of the government, we are just one race here. It is American.” —Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia[1] Discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity is unconstitutional, unlawful, and morally repugnant. The government should not be in the business of sorting people by such innate characteristics. Yet race and ethnicity often factor into government…

  • 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 February 13, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery, Sarah Torre Obamacare Anti-Conscience Mandate at the Supreme Court

    In February 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized guidelines requiring employers to pay for coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs and granted a narrow exemption for certain religious employers. Many employers believe that complying with this mandate would violate the tenets of their faith, but failure to…

  • 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 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…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted June 26, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Elizabeth Slattery A Response to Ramesh — No Deference on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

    By the end of June, the Supreme Court will hand down decisions in the remaining cases of its October 2012 term, including one of the most anticipated decisions involving the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County v. Holder. In a recent article, Ramesh Ponnuru posited that the Court should defer to Congress and uphold Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. With all respect to…

  • Legal Memorandum posted June 13, 2013 by Elizabeth Slattery How to Spot Judicial Activism: Three Recent Examples

    The role assigned to judges in our system was to interpret the Constitution and lesser laws, not to make them. It was to protect the integrity of the Constitution, not to add to it or subtract from it—certainly not to rewrite it. For as the framers knew, unless judges are bound by the text of the Constitution, we will, in fact, no longer have a government of laws, but of…

  • Commentary posted January 25, 2013 by Todd F. Gaziano, Elizabeth Slattery The Far-ranging Implications of Friday's Recess-appointments Ruling

    On Friday morning, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously struck down President Obama’s alleged “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The appointments were made over a year ago, so the ruling invalidates a number of actions taken by the NLRB since then. The five-member NLRB cannot act on issues before it absent a…

  • 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 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.…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2012 by Charles "Cully" Stimson, Elizabeth Slattery Juvenile Life Sentences: Constitutionality of Life Without Parole for Teenage Murderers

    On Tuesday, March 20, the Supreme Court hears oral argument in two cases involving the constitutionality of sentences of life without parole (LWOP) for teenage murderers. The real issue before the Court is this: Will the Court again “find” or “invent” a heretofore undiscovered constitutional prohibition and thus strike an entire category of sentences for the most violent…

  • Commentary posted May 10, 2011 by Todd F. Gaziano, Elizabeth Slattery Expansion of National Power at Expense of Individual Liberty

    Although the authority granted to Congress in the commerce clause should be the same as when the Constitution was first ratified, the common understanding about its scope today is much broader. Moreover, this new understanding about its breadth is the primary means by which the central government’s power has grown. This expansion of national power raises serious…

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