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November 03, 2016
The Rutherford Institute's amicus brief in Fields v. City of Philadelphia and Geraci v. City of Philadelphia

The Rutherford Institute has asked a federal appeals court to safeguard the right of citizens and journalists to record police in public without fear of retaliation. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that the First Amendment protects the right of citizens to make audio or video recordings of public law enforcement activities.

November 03, 2016
The Rutherford Institute's rebuttal in Payden-Travers v. Talkin

Rebutting the Justice Department’s assertion that the government can dictate where people can engage in religious activity, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to reject the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the Supreme Court’s prohibition on First Amendment activities on its own front porch.

October 17, 2016
The Rutherford Institute's Brief in Karns v. Shanahan and Parker v. Shanahan

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal appeals court to reinstate a First Amendment lawsuit involving two street preachers who were charged with trespass and obstruction of justice and arrested for allegedly refusing police orders to cease proselytizing at a Princeton train station.

September 28, 2016
The Rutherford Institute's brief in CEI et al v. USDHS

Challenging the Transportations Security Administration’s (TSA) airport screening protocols as ineffective, invasive, unlawful and unhealthy, The Rutherford Institute has asked a federal court to strike down the agency’s use of whole body scanners, which have been likened to virtual strip searches.

September 28, 2016
Demilitarizing America’s Police: A Constitutional Analysis

Warning that the use of military equipment by civilian police often begets unnecessarily aggressive tactics and over-enforcement, a national bipartisan coalition includin...

September 22, 2016
Amicus Brief: Thomas Porter v. Harold W. Clarke

The Rutherford Institute, working in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union, has asked a federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit filed on behalf of Virginia death-row inmates held in “dehumanizing” conditions of isolation. In appealing to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the two civil liberties organizations argue that tactical policy changes adopted by the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) in order to sidestep court-mandated legal obligations (the practice of “tactical mooting”) leave prisoners at greater risk of having harsh conditions re-imposed upon them.

September 01, 2016
TRI's Complaint in Payden-Travers v. Talkin; Dept. Of Justice's Motion to Dismiss

Insisting that the government can dictate where people can engage in religious activity, the Department of Justice is asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit, Payden-Travers v. Talkin, filed by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute challenging a 2013 regulation which broadly prohibits expressive activity in the plaza fronting the U.S. Supreme Court’s building. The regulation was issued in response to a June 2013 ruling in another lawsuit, Hodge v. Talkin, filed by Rutherford Institute attorneys in which a federal district court declared a 60-year-old statute banning expressive activities on the Supreme Court plaza “unreasonable, substantially overbroad, and irreconcilable with the First Amendment.”

August 26, 2016
Opinions in Hassan El-Nahal v. David Yassky

A federal appeals court has upheld New York City’s program of warrantless and continuous GPS surveillance of taxi drivers, ruling that drivers are not protected by the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches and seizures when on the job. The Rutherford Institute appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of taxi drivers who were being forced by government officials to attach GPS tracking devices to their taxis.

August 18, 2016
Constitutional Q&A: So You Think You Can Write-In Your Vote? The Options and Limitations of Write-In Voting

With election day fast approaching, voters will be making decisions that will affect each of the branches of government in important and lasting ways. For many voters, the task is made all the more difficult because of dissatisfaction over the candidate choices they have been offered by the major parties. Citizens wishing to express their objections to the candidates named on the ballot may seek to vote “outside the box” by writing in the name of a person not listed on the ballot, the so-called “write-in” vote.

August 03, 2016
Motion for Reconsideration in Burruss v. Riley, et al.

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal court not to grant immunity from wrongdoing to Virginia police whose so-called “welfare check” on a 58-year-old man resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck and a 72-hour mental health hold.

June 27, 2016
Justice for Childhood Sexual Abuse Victims: House Bill 1947

Having been at the forefront of the evolving national debate over civil liberties, government transparency and accountability, and how to navigate the fine line between legislating justice and abiding by the rule of law, The Rutherford Institute offered the following legal opinion on the constitutional question pending before the Pennsylvania legislature regarding House Bill 1947 as amended: whether the revival of a claim subject to a lapsed civil statute of limitations would be constitutional. If adopted, House Bill 1947 would allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice and would assist in removing known predators from positions where they continue to have access to unsuspecting children.

June 21, 2016
Supreme Court: Utah v. Strieff

In a 5-3 ruling in Utah v. Strieff, the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for police to stop, arrest and search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

June 08, 2016
Revenge Porn: Read TRI's Letter to the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Weighing in on a controversial “revenge porn” bill before the Rhode Island General Assembly, The Rutherford Institute has joined with other civil liberties groups in warning legislators that the proposed law, H-7537, is so overly broad and vague that it could do more harm than good by criminalizing legitimate First Amendment activities aimed at holding government officials accountable for wrongdoing.

June 02, 2016
Biometric Database: Read TRI's Comment to the DOJ

Warning against efforts by the FBI and Justice Department to acquire near-limitless power and control over biometric information collected on law-abiding individuals, millions of whom have never been accused of a crime, The Rutherford Institute has denounced an attempt to exempt the government’s massive biometric database from a federal law aimed at protecting Americans’ privacy.

April 05, 2016
Karns/Parker v. Shanahan: Court Documents

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are planning to appeal the dismissal of a First Amendment lawsuit involving two street preachers who were charged with trespass and obstruction of justice and arrested for allegedly refusing police orders to cease proselytizing at a Princeton train station.

March 18, 2016
Whistleblower Protection: Coalition Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee

In a letter to the ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the coalition pointed out that the Federal Bureau of Investigation Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (FBI WPEA) of 2015 (S. 2390) would, if enacted, upgrade one of the least effective whistleblower policies in the U.S. Code and ensure that the nation’s top law enforcement agency is held accountable to the rule of law. The letter asserts that the lack of protections for whistleblowers within the FBI has imposed a culture of forced silence within the agency resulting in a continuous use of inaccurate lab results in federal prosecution, participation in mass surveillance of citizens, and other law enforcement failures and abuses.

March 09, 2016
The Rutherford Institute’s Public Meetings Guidelines

Warning that representative government works best when the government’s actions are fully disclosed and citizens are allowed to speak honestly and openly to their elected representatives and other citizens without fear of retribution, The Rutherford Institute has issued guidelines for local boards, commissions and councils to consider and follow in order to best assure that the fundamental First Amendment rights of citizens are respected.

February 24, 2016
Letter to the Virginia General Assembly (RE: Senate Bill No. 552)

Sounding a warning over proposed legislation that would bar the public from learning the identity of persons employed as law enforcement officers, The Rutherford Institute is cautioning the Virginia General Assembly against taking an unprecedented and unjustified step toward the creation of unaccountable secret police forces. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill No. 552, would classify the names of all police officers as “personnel records,” and exempt them from mandatory disclosure under Virginia’s freedom of information law.

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