Category Archives: Constitutional Law

Justia Resources and Commentary on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the much-anticipated case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (formerly Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., consolidated with Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell and Autocam Corp. v. Burwell). In a 5-4 opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) permits a closely held for-profit corporation to deny its

10 Shocking Cases That Will Change Your Understanding of American History

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. In his proclamation, President Obama cited the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and acknowledged the difficulties that members of this community have faced both historically and in the present. Let’s take a short trip through our nation’s case law to look at some of these difficulties. Your lessons in school

Courthouse News Wins First Amendment Case for Access to Court Records

Courthouse News Service won a ruling in the Ninth Circuit recently for access to court filings. CNS went to federal court last year to challenge the Ventura County Superior Court policy of delaying the release of court opinions.  A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case, finding that it was not a First Amendment issue, but a claim that involved

Should Arbitration Dockets in Public Courts be Public?

Delaware Courts of Chancery appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court recently, seeking to validate a law that would allow them to hold confidential arbitration proceedings for parties with $1M litigation at stake. Professor Judith Resnik wrote about this in the NYT Op-Ed pages,  “Renting Judges for Secret Rulings.” On appeal is the question whether this arbitration process, established by the

Pending Cases on the FISA Public Court Docket

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has created a public docket for declassified opinions. The documents have been released through the efforts of providers like Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google, as well as advocacy groups like the ACLU and the EFF, who filed requests to publish the opinions and filings in the FISC. Since FISA was enacted, the FISC and FISA Court

Illinois Eavesdropping Law Blocked; It “Likely Violates First Amendment,” Federal Appeals Court Rules

A 1961 Illinois eavesdropping law “likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech-speech and free-press guarantees,” a federal appeals court ruled. The 69-page decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit blocks enforcement of an Illinois criminal law that made it a felony to make audio recordings of Chicago police without receiving their consent. What prompted the lawsuit?

H.S. Senior Tweets F-word from Home; School’s Response: Get the F**k Out

In an outrageous misunderstanding of students’ off-campus free speech rights, an Indiana school district expelled a high school senior just three months shy of his graduation for tweeting an F-bomb from home at 2:30 AM. Austin Carroll says that he sent the offending F-bomb tweet from home, from his own computer. He concedes that he agrees with the district that

Will Heater Manufacturer Be SLAPPed Over YouTube Safety Video Lawsuit?

Continental Appliances, Inc., a California manufacturer of a gas wall heater sold at Lowe’s, sued the unknown poster of a YouTube video on Friday for claiming that its product creates “an imminent danger of fire and serious injury” because of “uncertain fuel settings.” (see below) The lawsuit appears likely to fail, however. Here’s why.

FCC: Anti-Abortion Activist Can’t Run Super Bowl Sunday TV Ads

The Federal Communications Commission (‘FCC’) ruled today that anti-abortion activist Randall Terry (inset, right) failed to show “that he is a legally qualified” presidential candidate entitled to “reasonable” broadcast TV access in Illinois. Even if he was, the FCC concluded, Chicago NBC affilate WMAQ did not act unreasonably when it refused to sell him air time to run ads on

FDA Scientists & Doctors: Agency Read Our Personal Emails For Alerting Public About Medical Device Safety

A lawsuit filed by current and former employees of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration charges that the agency accessed and spied on their personal e-mail accounts after scientists and doctors alerted Congress and the media that certain radiation-emitting computer detection devices may not be safe or effective. The lawsuit filed by scientists and doctors charges that nine FDA employees