A Pennsylvania woman was charged with violating a chemical weapons treaty for what should have been a state assault crime. The U.S. Supreme Court granted review to determine whether a federal law implementing an international chemical weapons treaty encompassed this woman’s actions.
The Windsor case involved the federal Defense of Marriage Act — a federal law defining marriage as between one man and one woman for purposes of federal law. The case also addressed the standing of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — representing the House of Representatives — to defend that statute in federal court after the Obama administration refused to do so.
This case involves a challenge to California Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment which defined “marriage” as between one man and one woman and was approved by a majority of voters in California. California’s government (led first by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then by Governor Jerry Brown) refused to defend the amendment enacted directly by the people of California, and so the proponents of the amendment stepped in to defend it.
CLDEF’s amicus curiae brief argued that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”) of 1965, as amended in 2006, exceeds the powers vested in Congress by either the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment, including the enforcement provisions of those amendments. Under the 2006 amendments, the purpose of the preclearance is to “protect the ability of [minority] citizens to elect their preferred candidate of choice” and is no longer concerned with preventing voting law changes that mask racial discrimination denying or abridging the right to vote. Further, Sections 4(b) and 5 of the VRA as amended in 2006 put Alabama on an unequal footing, in violation of the statute admitting Alabama to the union and the Tenth Amendment. The Supreme Court held that Section 4’s coverage formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions and can no longer be used as a basis for the preclearance requirement.
This case involved a challenge, by attorneys sometimes representing foreign persons, to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Amendments of 2008, involving the government spying on U.S. citizens without a warrant. The lower court dismissed the case, finding the plaintiffs lacked standing, but the Second Circuit reversed. The Government sought U.S. Supreme Court review.
A ballot initiative was proposed in Oklahoma to amend the state constitution to define “person” as “any human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being to natural death.” The proposal was challenged in state court, and the Supreme Court of Oklahoma blocked the proposed initiative from going forward to the voters on the ballot. In doing so, the state supreme court misused the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to deprive the people of Oklahoma of a power reserved them by the Tenth Amendment. The proponents of the initiative filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.
On April 16, 2012 an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the case of Christopher Hedges v. Barack Obama, et al. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in support of plaintiffs. This lawsuit challenges the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012’s illegal detention provision.
The state of Louisiana filed an original action in the Supreme Court against the Secretary of Commerce of the United States, encompassing the United States Census Bureau, whose responsibility includes conducting the decennial census used for apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives among the States. Louisiana claimed it lost a seat in the House because illegal aliens were included in the population and used for apportionment. States with large numbers of illegal aliens gained a total of five seats, while other states lost five seats.
On November 3, 2011 an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the case of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius in the United States Supreme Court in support of petitioner. This petition presents to the Supreme Court a clash between a federal law mandating the individual purchase of its approved healthcare insurance — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) — and a state law securing to state residents the freedom to choose whether or not to purchase such insurance — the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (“VHCFA”).
This case constitutes a major victory for CLDEF! Jones involved the police attaching a GPS tracking device to Jones’ vehicle without a warrant. The police tracked Jones’ movements for nearly a month. Jones was convicted, but the Court of Appeals overturned the conviction. The government sought U.S. Supreme Court review. The government argued that Jones had no expectation of privacy of his movements on the road.
On September 12, 2011 an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the case of State of Arizona et al. v. United States in the United States Supreme Court in support of petitioners’ petition for a writ of certiorari. Our brief argues that it is the preeminent duty of the Supreme Court to preserve the balance between the federal and state governments struck by the United States Constitution.
On May 16, 2011 an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the case of United States v. Antoine Jones in the United States Supreme Court. Our amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to grant the petition for writ of certiorari in this case, not for the reasons stated in the government’s petition, but to resolve a split among the circuits on the Fourth Amendment’s relevance and application to covert installations of global positioning systems (“GPS”) on an American citizen’s automobile by restoring the Fourth Amendment to its original text and purpose. Our amicus brief argues that the original objective, property-based text and purpose of the Fourth Amendment should be revived and applied, while the current ad hoc subjective, privacy-based view of the Fourth Amendment should be rejected.