admin First Amendment

First Amendment

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
– First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund believes that the First Amendment’s directive that “Congress shall make no law…” provides the clearest standard for the protection of the liberties listed therein.  Judges take away from these liberties when they use “judge-empowering” tests to determine whether those liberties are more important than governmental interests.  Unsurprisingly, judges frequently consider those governmental interests — essentially the judge’s idea of “the common good” — more important than the abridgement of the individual liberties the Founders desired to protect, thus erasing the jurisdictional barriers erected by the several guarantees of the First Amendment.

Below are some of the Freedoms of Speech and Press/Free Exercise of Religion matters in which CLDEF has been involved.

Stormans, Inv. v. Wiesman

admin Family and Life, First Amendment

Today an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the U.S. Supreme Court defending a Christian-owned pharmacy from attack by the Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission due to that pharmacy’s refusal to stock and sell abortifacient drugs.  Although the Pharmacy Commission is a government agency, its steps were largely directed by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest.

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Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

admin Family and Life, First Amendment

Today, an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting two Texas laws requiring that abortions be performed only at certain types of facilities by physicians with  hospital admission privileges.   The brief set out why the pro-abortion petitioners, and the Obama Administration as amicus curiae, misrepresent to the Court its own abortion jurisprudence.  However, even more importantly, the brief explains why Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.

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Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Harris Thomas More Law Center v. Harris

admin First Amendment

Today, an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF, the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, the Free Speech Coalition and other nonprofits in the Ninth Circuit, attacking a new interpretation of law by the the California Attorney General.  Under this new interpretation, as a per-condition to soliciting contributions in California, each charity must provide provide the Attorney General with its IRS Form 990 Schedule B which identifies the charity’s largest donors.

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admin Healthcare

Healthcare

 

There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution which authorizes the federal government to have any role in healthcare, but that certainly has not discouraged the Obama Administration from attempting a federal takeover of healthcare with Obamacare.

Further, the lack of Constitutional authority has not discouraged the Federal Trade Commission, often working with the Food and Drug Administration, and even the Securities Exchange Commission, from attempting to narrow the healthcare choices of the American public.

Healthcare choices are personal choices. There are a variety of schools of medicine, and each American should have the right to decide for himself which type of treatment he would desire. However, with billions of dollars at stake, establishment medical interests, led by the pharmaceutical industry, have worked for decades to convince those in government to restrict the choices available to Americans to those that enrich the clients of the lobbyists.

CLDEF has filed many briefs against Obamacare, and has worked to support the right of each American to make his own healthcare choices.

Below are some of the Healthcare matters in which CLDEF has been involved.

admin Asset Forfeiture

Asset Forfeiture

 

“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”
– Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

For most of the history of our nation, the government did not claim the right to seize personal property of its citizens — unless the government had a superior right to that property. In recent years, the government has assumed a power that had been developed by Oriental Potentates — the right to seize the property of those accused of crimes — even before conviction.

Giving the government the power to seize a person’s assets unconnected with a crime is bad enough after conviction. It is much worse when government seizes a person’s assets before trial, as now permitted by several federal laws. One of the benefits to the government of a pre-trial seizure is that a defendant is robbed of his ability to resist the will of federal prosecutors. A defendant is unable to hire defense counsel of his choice, and is forced to rely on already overburdened federal defenders, often leading to plea bargains, even when the defendant is not guilty. CLDEF is fighting against this dangerous power of pre-trial seziure.

Additionally, CLDEF has argued that the TSA’s intrusive body scanners constituted a warrantless search and violate citizens’ rights, including his right to travel as protected by the Fifth Amendment.

Below are some of the Asset Forfeiture matters in which CLDEF has been involved.

admin Election Law and Campaign Finance

Election Law & Campaign Finance

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
– First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Most election law cases involve the First Amendment, as many of these laws are enacted at the expense of the freedoms guaranteed to all by the First Amendment, and particularly the Freedom of the Press.

CLDEF believes that most federal and state election laws and campaign finance laws are not about good government. Rather, they are designed by incumbents to protect the central interest of incumbents — which is to get reelected.

Incumbents would never think to pass an election-related law without knowing for certain whether it would benefit them, or make them more or less vulnerable to a challenger. Therefore, courts should give no deference whatsoever to laws passed by Congress or state legislatures. In fact, all such laws should be viewed with suspicion.

For many years, CLDEF has been involved in testifying before the Federal Election Commission, and opposing efforts to limit the freedom of Americans to criticize and oppose incumbent legislators.

Below are some of the Election Law and Campaign Finance matters in which CLDEF has been involved.

Bond v. U.S., Amicus Brief

admin Other Constitutional Cases

On December 10, 2010 an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the case of Carol Ann Bond v. United States in the United States Supreme Court in support of petitioner Bond. This case presents an unusual situation where the government has reconsidered its previous position and embraced the position of the criminal defendant petitioner Bond in seeking to overturn the decision of the court of appeals.

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Jewel v. NSA
(opposing the NSA’s mass internet surveillance system)

admin Searches and Seizures

Several customers of AT&T sued the NSA because of the NSA’s mass internet dragnet surveillance.  The district court first dismissed the case for lack of standing on the part of the plaintiffs, but the Court of Appeals reversed, ruling that the plaintiffs had shown a particularized injury.  Despite the government’s admission of its surveillance program, the case was dismissed because the district court concluded once again that the plaintiffs did not have standing because, using secret information filed by the government and not provided to the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs failed to explain the secret operational details of the surveillance program.

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Peruta v. San Diego
(opposing San Diego’s “good cause” policy on concealed carry permits)

admin Firearms Law

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit previously handed down an opinion striking down San Diego County’s policy under which “self-defense” was not considered to be a “good cause” allowing the issuance of a concealed carry permit. Now, the Ninth Circuit decided to re-hear the case en banc. The Peruta case was consolidated with another case, Richards v. County of Yolo, which challenged Yolo County’s “good cause” policy. Our brief addressed issues in both cases.

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Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
(opposing disclosure of donors for pure issue ads mentioning a candidate)

admin Election Law and Campaign Finance

CLDEF filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the Independence Institute in its challenge to the Federal Election Commission’s regulations requiring the public disclosure of the names and addresses of donors to nonprofits sponsoring pure issue ads. If an issue ad mentions the name of a candidate during specified periods and to a targeted audience, then it technically meets the criteria defining “Independent Expenditures,” and donors must be disclosed to the FEC – and the public. CLDEF’s brief explains the corrupt motivation of Congress in wanting this information to be made public.

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City of Los Angeles v. Patel
(opposing L.A.’s ordinance requiring warrantless disclosure of hotel guest registers)

admin Searches and Seizures

A group of Los Angeles hotel owners challenged a Los Angeles city ordinance which authorizes police to search through hotels’ guest registers without a warrant.  The City claimed that hotel owners have no expectation of privacy in a business record that they are required by the City to keep.  And the City claimed it has a significant interest in fighting crimes committed in and around the hotel property.  Thus, the City asserted that, in such a highly regulated industry, there is no need for probable cause, much less a warrant.  In short, Los Angeles argued that the Fourth Amendment does not apply.

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