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Category Archive: Constitutional law

Jul 16 2014

Huge Victory for Secular Celebrants

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has given us a major victory, ruling in a case brought by CFI Indiana that the state must allow secular celebrants to solemnize marriages along with clergy. The ruling was by a three-judge panel that included two legendary conservative/libertarian legal scholars, Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judge Richard Posner.

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Jul 14 2014

SCOTUS and Marriage Equality, Round 2

The state of Utah is asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a district court ruling that overturned their ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Lyle Denniston explains the situation:

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Jul 12 2014

ENDA and the Hobby Lobby Decision

I recorded an interview for the Reasonable Doubts podcast Wednesday evening and they asked me about the decision by several gay rights groups to withdraw support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I had seen headlines all day about it but hadn’t actually read the articles so I wasn’t clear on why they did so and …

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Jul 10 2014

How Liberals Can Reclaim the Constitution

E.J. Dionne writes at the Washington Post about the tendency of those on the right to call themselves “constitutionalists” and continually claim to be the only ones who support the Constitution. And he says it’s “time for progressives to reclaim the Constitution.”

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Jul 03 2014

Kentucky the Latest Anti-Marriage Law to Fall

Judge John G. Heyburn II, a federal district court judge appointed by the first President Bush, struck down Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage on 14th Amendment equal protection grounds. He minced few words in rejecting the absurd arguments offered in defense of the law:

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Jul 03 2014

RFRA Should Be Declared Unconstitutional

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed in 1993 by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. The Supreme Court then struck down part of it, the part that applied to state and local actions, but upheld its application in federal law. In that case, City of Boerne v Flores, Justice John …

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Jul 01 2014

Why the Hobby Lobby Ruling Will Be Mostly Irrelevant Soon

This thought suddenly occurred to me Monday night as I was prepping for a Google Hangout to discuss the Hobby Lobby ruling: The majority opinion gave a roadmap for how the Obama administration can essentially moot the ruling unilaterally. In fact, they can do it today if they want. Let me explain.

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Jun 30 2014

Hobby Lobby and Harris: Bad, But Limited, Rulings

The Supreme Court handed down rulings in the last two cases of its term this morning, Harris v Quinn (whether public sector unions could charge fees to non-members) and Burwell v Hobby Lobby, the now-infamous challenge to the ACA’s contraception mandate. In both cases, I think the results are wrong but probably the best we …

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Jun 30 2014

Matt Barber: Not the Sharpest Bulb in the Sign

I haven’t had a chance to read the ruling from the Supreme Court in McCullen v. Coakley, which struck down the Massachusetts’ law requiring a 35 foot buffer around abortion clinics, but I did read Matt Barber’s response to it and it made me laugh out loud.

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Jun 27 2014

The Supreme Court Got One Right!

Not only did the Supreme Court get a ruling exactly right, it did so unanimously. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Riley v United States that said police cannot search someone’s cell phone data during or after an arrest without a warrant.

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Jun 25 2014

Possible Outcomes in the Hobby Lobby Case

The Supreme Court should hand down its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case Wednesday, Thursday or Monday. The New Republic has a rundown of some of the possible outcomes if the court rules in favor of the company. As is often the case, much will depend on how broad or narrow the ruling is.

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Jun 22 2014

Law Prof Hammers Scalia’s Terrible Analogy

Geoffrey Stone is a law professor at the University of Chicago and a highly respected legal scholar. And he found Justice Scalia’s analogy between official government support for religion and hearing rock music in public to be as ridiculous as I did.

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Jun 19 2014

AL Court Overturns Law SCOTUS Already Struck Down

An Alabama state appeals court has struck down that state’s ban on consensual gay sex, a law that was already overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 in Lawrence v Texas. Ala. Code 1975 says that any “deviate sexual intercourse” is illegal and that consent does not matter:

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Jun 15 2014

Dumbest Legal Argument Ever?

Paul Clement is widely considered one of the most brilliant constitutional attorneys in the country. The former Solicitor General under George W. Bush is revered for his legal skill even by those who think he’s wrong most of the time. But he may well have just made the dumbest legal argument I’ve heard offered by …

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Jun 14 2014

WND Columnist Spreads Baseless Paranoia

Michael Brown, a columnist for the Worldnetdaily, asks an ominous question: Will churches be forced to perform same-sex weddings? The answer is simple: No. Not in the United States, certainly. But he thinks people trying in other countries to force that applies here without grasping the rather obvious difference:

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