United States v. Edith Schlain Windsor
(defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act)

admin Family and Life

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. Read More

Dennis Hollingsworth v. Kristin Perry
(defending California’s Proposition 8 constitutional definition of marriage)

admin Family and Life

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. Read More

Shelby County v. Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Supreme Court
(Fourteenth Amendment)
(challenging the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act)

admin Election Law and Campaign Finance

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. Read More

James R. Clapper Jr. v. Amnesty International USA
(opposing FISA’s secret warrantless spying on U.S. citizens)

admin Searches and Seizures

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. Read More

Personhood Oklahoma v. Brittany Mays Barber
(defending proposed amendment to the Oklahoma constitution that life begins at conception)

admin Family and Life

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. Read More

Louisiana v. Bryson
(opposing counting illegal aliens when apportioning House of Representative seats)

admin Immigration Law

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. Read More

Virginia v. Sebelius, Amicus Brief

admin Healthcare

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”). Read More

United States v. Antoine Jones
(opposing police GPS tracking device on vehicle)

admin Searches and Seizures

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. Read More

State of Arizona et al. v. United States, Amicus Brief (on the Petition for Writ of Certiorari)

admin Immigration Law

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. Read More