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November 19, 2015

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have sued Virginia police and other government officials after a request to carry out a “welfare check” on a 58-year-old man resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck, a wrongful arrest, and a 72-hour mental health hold. According to the complaint, police acknowledged that they had no legal basis nor probable cause for detaining Virginia resident Benjamin Burruss, who was preparing to depart on a camping/hunting trip to Montana, given that he had not threatened to harm anyone and was not mentally ill.

November 11, 2015

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal court to reject an attempt by the City of Hampton and three of its police officers to have a First Amendment lawsuit against them dismissed. Rutherford Institute attorneys sued government officials after police officers cited, convicted and arrested two street preachers for using voice amplifiers to share their message amidst crowds gathered for the City’s Hampton Bay Days. Although the ordinance banning the use of amplifiers (which the lawsuit challenged as unconstitutional) has since been repealed, Institute attorneys point out that the city has yet to rectify its wrongful arrest of the street preachers.

November 06, 2015

The Rutherford Institute has asked a federal appeals court to reject a lower court ruling that confers sweeping power on the government to police private ideas and equates a trademark registration with a form of government-sanctioned speech. Weighing in before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, et al., attorneys for The Rutherford Institute and The Cato Institute argue that a district court order allowing the government to cancel the federal trademark registration of the NFL Redskins and refuse registration to other applications it deems “offensive” constitutes blatant content and viewpoint discrimination and imposes a “hecklers veto” on speech that violates the First Amendment’s protection of even unpopular speech.

November 02, 2015

Does the Virginia DMV have the authority to cancel, revoke or repossess the Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty commemorative license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag?

October 29, 2015

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a petition with a Virginia Circuit Court challenging an order of the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) cancelling, revoking and/or demanding the return of specialty commemorative license plates issued to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) bearing the Confederate battle flag on the grounds that such a recall is unauthorized by Virginia law and beyond the power of the DMV.

October 19, 2015

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling that a 60-year old federal statute which criminalizes expressive First Amendment activity on the Supreme Court plaza should be “reasonable” and does not violate the First Amendment. In a petition for rehearing filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Hodge v. Talkin, Rutherford Institute attorneys point out that the ruling by a three-judge panel of the Court conflicts with earlier decisions construing a nearly-identical statute.

October 16, 2015

In 1943, the United State Supreme Court established that the First Amendment prohibits public schools from requiring students, on pain of expulsion, to salute the U.S. flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

September 25, 2015

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are rebutting an attempt by a Virginia police officer to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who was arrested as he was engaged in a First Amendment protest against President Obama while lawfully carrying a rifle. Rutherford Institute attorneys are also challenging an assertion by police that Brandon Howard was not actually under arrest, even though he was detained by police at gun point, handcuffed against his will and transported against his will to a local police station.

September 16, 2015

In an amicus curiae brief filed with the Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Institute attorneys are challenging laws in California and elsewhere that require public employees who do not wish to support a union’s political activities to affirmatively file an “opt out,” thereby violating the employee’s right to keep his views private.

August 28, 2015

In a blow to First Amendment rights, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has upheld as “reasonable” a 60-year old federal statute criminalizing expressive First Amendment activity on the Supreme Court plaza. The appeals court’s ruling reverses a lower court decision in Hodge v. Talkin, et al., that found the ban to be “repugnant” to the Constitution and “unreasonable, substantially overbroad, and irreconcilable with the First Amendment.”

August 27, 2015

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of decorated Marine Brandon Raub who was seized by a swarm of Secret Service, FBI and local police officials and involuntarily committed to a mental institution for a week after posting controversial song lyrics and political views critical of the government on his Facebook page.

August 25, 2015

In an amicus curiae brief filed in Luis v. United States, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that a government freeze on the untainted assets of someone charged with (but not yet convicted of) a crime, when those assets are not connected to illegal activity, amounts to a forfeiture of property of a kind that the Founding Fathers rejected and should therefore be prohibited as unconstitutional. As one appellate lawyer noted, “It is unseemly and unjust for the government to impoverish those it prosecutes in order to disable their defense at trial.”

August 14, 2015

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of Don Karns and Nathan Magnusen, Rutherford Institute attorneys are challenging a Hampton, Va., law restricting voice amplifiers that was used to cite, convict and arrest the street preachers for sharing their message amidst crowds gathered for the City’s Hampton Bay Days.

July 21, 2015

The Rutherford Institute has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over its unregulated use of whole body scanners, which have been likened to virtual strip searches, in the nation’s airports.

July 09, 2015

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a First Amendment lawsuit against police officers who allegedly intimidated and threatened to arrest a man who was lawfully and peacefully exercising his First Amendment rights prior to a Giants v. Dodgers game by holding up a “John 3:16” religious sign in the public plaza in front of the San Francisco Giants ballpark.

June 30, 2015

In a 5-4 decision in Glossip v. Gross, a divided U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the use of a controversial drug as part of the government’s lethal injection protocols for death row executions. Citing the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, death row inmates had challenged the State of Oklahoma’s plan to use midazolam, an anti-anxiety drug that experts indicate would not create the deep coma needed to prevent inmates from awakening and avoid excruciating pain in death penalty executions. In justifying its ruling, the Court declared that the inmates did not show that an alternative method of execution entails a lesser risk of pain.

June 22, 2015