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December 07, 2018

The Rutherford Institute has offered to assist the Elkhorn Public Schools should they encounter any fallout as a result of their decision to overturn Principal Jennifer Sinclair’s attempt to purge Manchester Elementary School of any symbol or mention of Christmas, including singing Christmas carols, using items that have red/green colors, and candy canes (which were perceived as problematic because the shape is a ‘J’ for Jesus). The Institute’s “Constitutional Q&A: The Twelve Rules of Christmas” guidelines aim to clear up the legal misunderstanding over the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Christmas by providing basic guidelines for schools, workplaces and elsewhere.

December 03, 2018

Challenging the government’s abuse of its eminent domain power to take private property for natural gas pipelines that primarily benefit private corporate interests, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a lawsuit by Virginia landowners that asks for a fair hearing on their claim that the taking of their land for a pipeline project violates their constitutional rights.

November 28, 2018

The Rutherford Institute is defending a group of Pennsylvania nuns’ right to exercise their religious beliefs in protecting their property against a government-sanctioned campaign to allow a gas pipeline company to drill its way through and desecrate the religious order’s land, which includes a nursing home, convent and a chapel. In an amicus curiae brief, Rutherford Institute attorneys are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to restore a lawsuit brought by Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a Catholic community of women, seeking to stop the pipeline as a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a federal law intended to protect religious beliefs and practices when threatened by government action. 

November 21, 2018

The Rutherford Institute is warning Kansas health department officials that their recent efforts to shut down food distribution sites in public parks and seize and bleach hot, free food being distributed to the homeless, rendering it unfit for consumption, runs afoul of the First Amendment. In a letter to the director of the Kansas City Health Department, The Rutherford Institute denounced the government’s actions as “morally reprehensible, legally indefensible, and in clear violation of the First Amendment,” and cautioned health officials against following the national trend by which urban and suburban communities nationwide have adopted ordinances that criminalize homelessness and crack down on those individuals and organizations whose charitable endeavors aim to ease the suffering of the homeless.

November 16, 2018

Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, has joined forces with other concerned legal minds to push back against growing threats to the rule of law as a result of governmental power grabs, overreaches and abuses of power, particularly from the Executive Branch, and the politicization of bedrock legal principles. The coalition, operating under the name Checks and Balances, was formed by prominent D.C. attorney George T. Conway III, and includes among its members Orin S. Kerr, Jonathan Adler, Marisa Maleck, Alan Charles Raul and Tom Ridge.

November 06, 2018

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a 40-foot “Peace Cross” memorial in Veterans Memorial Park in Maryland erected 90 years ago to honor soldiers who were killed or wounded in World War I must be removed as an unconstitutional religious display. In a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association (AHA), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had ordered the memorial removed on the grounds that the Peace Cross, modeled after a Latin cross, is a predominately Christian symbol and constitutes an endorsement of that faith.

November 01, 2018

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against Oklahoma police who, despite being faced with an African-American man who complied fully with police orders during an arrest, subjected him to excessive force and brutality that included throwing the man to the ground, tasering him, placing him in a chokehold, and rendering him unconscious so that he had to be hospitalized for three days. 

October 30, 2018

President Trump’s announcement that he intends, through issuance of an Executive Order, to terminate birthright citizenship, which confers citizenship to children of noncitizens who are born in the U.S., is in direct conflict with the plain terms of the United States Constitution, namely the Fourteenth Amendment, which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United Statesand of the State wherein they reside.”

October 23, 2018

Denouncing Government Efforts to Imprison the Mind, Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Protect Prisoners’ Access to Legal News

October 18, 2018

Relenting in the face of legal arguments by The Rutherford Institute and others that burdensome overregulation violates a person’s right to due process, the State of Missouri has repealed a senseless occupational licensing law that required individuals to secure a costly license in order to braid hair.

October 17, 2018

Virginia police have agreed to settle a civil rights lawsuit that arose after a request to have police 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. The lawsuit, brought by The Rutherford Institute on behalf of Benjamin Burruss, alleged that a heavily armed police tactical team confronted Burruss, surrounded his truck, deployed a “stinger” device behind the rear tires, launched a flash grenade, smashed the side window in order to drag him from the truck, handcuffed and searched him, and transported him to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and mental health hold.

October 16, 2018

In public comments submitted to the National Park Service (NPS), The Rutherford Institute has denounced a proposal that would severely limit demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall and in front of the White House, which have been the site of many historic protests, as well as require demonstrators to pay fees and acquire permits in order to exercise their lawful First Amendment rights.

October 10, 2018

The Rutherford Institute is challenging bogus “contempt of cop” charges (ranging from resisting arrest and interference to disorderly conduct, obstruction, and failure to obey a police order) that empower police to penalize and arrest individuals for engaging in lawful First Amendment activities (filming police, asking a question of police, refusing to speak with police).

September 28, 2018

In a victory for common sense and moderation in how police carry out security protocols, a general district court has granted The Rutherford Institute’s request to dismiss the government’s case against a disabled war veteran who was arrested and charged with a crime after he lawfully purchased cans of Arizona iced tea, aerosol bug spray, a light bulb, and razor blades, all of which were on the City of Charlottesville’s list of temporarily prohibited, potentially “dangerous” items.

September 27, 2018

Denouncing overzealous police tactics lacking in common sense and respect for the fundamental rights of the citizenry, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a disabled veteran who was arrested and charged with a crime after he lawfully purchased cans of Arizona iced tea, aerosol bug spray, a light bulb, and razor blades, all of which were on the City of Charlottesville’s list of temporarily prohibited, potentially “dangerous” items.

September 20, 2018

Declaring that the manner in which Facebook has allowed its “false news” labeling policies to be applied to independent news organizations is contrary to the values embodied in the First Amendment, and is wholly inconsistent with standards of fairness and due process, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of The Free Thought Project, a news organization that has had several of its news stories wrongly labeled “false news” by Facebook.

September 13, 2018

In an effort to reform the nation’s harsh and overly-punitive criminal justice system, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to fully enforce the Constitution’s ban on double jeopardy by overruling precedent allowing a single act by a person to be the basis for successive prosecutions by the states and the federal government, even if the person is found not guilty in the first trial.

September 12, 2018

Taking aim at excessive, arbitrary asset forfeiture laws, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that state governments must abide by the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on the imposition of “excessive fines” for criminal offenses.

September 06, 2018

The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a Texas family who allege Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents groped their 13-year-old daughter during an unwarranted pat-down search and then reported the father to police after he objected to the TSA’s treatment of his minor children.

September 05, 2018

Warning that government abuse of power at any level must not be allowed to stand unchecked, The Rutherford Institute is challenging a ruling that grants immunity to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers who engage in official misconduct.