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April 12, 2018
Middle School Suspends 13-Year-Old for Drawing Stick Figure of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Holding Swords

Condemning draconian zero tolerance school policies bereft of common sense, The Rutherford Institute is demanding that a North Carolina school district rescind the suspension of a middle school student for drawing a sword-wielding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and other fanciful stick figures. In coming to the defense of a 13-year-old student at Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School who was suspended for two days for doodling stick-figure drawings that included a Ninja Turtle holding swords in each hand, another stick figure aiming a rifle, a souped-up car, a magician, and a tower with a bow and arrow, Rutherford Institute attorneys assert that the punishment infringes on the student’s First Amendment right of expression, is excessive and is contrary to district policies guaranteeing children a right to an education. Moreover, Institute attorneys points out that the drawings were not seen by any other student, did not cause any disruption of the school, did not threaten anyone, and had no impact on the safety of anyone.

March 23, 2018
Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Ruling That Only ‘Mandatory’ Religious Practices Merit First Amendment Protections

Urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that deem only “mandatory” religious practices as worthy of First Amendment accommodations, thereby rendering many common religious practices such as reading a Bible unprotected, The Rutherford Institute has asked the Court to ensure that prisoners are afforded the fundamental protections they are entitled to under the U.S. Constitution.

March 15, 2018
UVA's Batten School Hosts Public Talk on the State of Free Speech in America With First Amendment Lawyers John Whitehead & Nadine Strossen

Events of the past year have generated a nearly unprecedented level of public debate over the protections and limits of the First Amendment right of free speech. On March 21, 2018, two of the nation’s foremost civil liberties attorneys, John W. Whitehead (president of The Rutherford Institute) and Nadine Strossen (former head of the ACLU) will discuss and debate the unique tensions surrounding First Amendment activities in the current national and political climate, especially as they relate to free speech, freedom of the press, the right to petition/protest, and the freedom of assembly, hate speech laws, laws limiting protest activities nationwide, and the role of government leaders in cultivating an environment in which free speech is valued and protected.

March 12, 2018
Rutherford Institute Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect First Amendment Rights of FBI Whistleblower Fired for Exposing Agency Misconduct

The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of an FBI agent and military veteran who was fired for blowing the whistle on misconduct within the FBI.

February 22, 2018
VICTORY: Federal Court Declares Death Row Conditions Unconstitutional, Will Hold Prison Officials Accountable to Maintaining Humane Conditions

In response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates held in “dehumanizing” conditions of isolation, a federal court has found that the conditions on Virginia’s death row violated the constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

February 09, 2018
Rutherford Institute Asks U. S. Supreme Court to Defend the First Amendment Right of Retailers Not to Be Forced to Speak for Government

Insisting that retailers have a First Amendment right not to be forced to speak for the government, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court urging the Court to strike down an ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to tell consumers that cell phones are dangerous.

January 26, 2018
The Rutherford Institute Denounces Attempt by Virginia Attorney General to Blacklist Activist & Political Organizations as Domestic Terrorists

Warning that attempts by the political establishment to blacklist groups espousing unpopular ideas will endanger and undermine legitimate First Amendment activities across the political spectrum, The Rutherford Institute is calling on the Virginia General Assembly to denounce House Bill No. 1601.

January 24, 2018
VICTORY: Police Agree to Settle Lawsuit Over Unconstitutional Raid, Search, Seizure & Arrest of Homeowner Who Refused Consent to Warrantless Entry

Police have agreed to favorably settle a Fourth Amendment lawsuit brought by The Rutherford Institute over a warrantless raid, search, and arrest of a Texas homeowner based on unreliable information from an anonymous source.

January 18, 2018
Rutherford Institute to Request Rehearing Before Appeals Court in First Amendment Case of Street Preachers Arrested at Princeton Train Station

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Rutherford Institute plans to request a rehearing before the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a First Amendment case involving two s...

January 12, 2018
Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Strike Down Minn. Law Banning Political Expression on Clothing Worn at Polling Places

Challenging a Minnesota law that bans political speech on any “badge, button, shirt, or hat” worn at election polling stations, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute, Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and The Individual Rights Foundation have asked the United States Supreme Court to declare that the clothing ban violates the First Amendment’s guarantee to freedom of speech.

January 10, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Rein in Aggressive Knock-And-Talk Policing Practices, Fails to Hold Police Accountable for Shooting Innocent Man

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In refusing to hear the case of Young v. Borders, the U.S. Supreme Court has failed to hold police accountable for shooting and killing an innoce...

December 13, 2017
In Digital Privacy Case, Rutherford Institute Urges Supreme Court to Strictly Enforce Wiretapping Law and Safeguard Core Privacy Protections

Weighing in on a major digital privacy case before the U.S. Supreme Court, The Rutherford Institute is urging the high court to strictly enforce the nation’s federal wiretapping law and maintain core privacy protections enacted by Congress in 1968 to guard against the misuse of bugs and wiretaps by government agents.

December 06, 2017
Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Prohibit Unions From Requiring Public Employees to Support Political Activities With Which They Disagree

Arguing that the First Amendment forbids the government from dictating what citizens should say, whom they should support or with whom they should associate, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn existing law that allows unions to require public-sector employees to subsidize political activities undertaken by the union.

November 30, 2017
'Twelve Rules of Christmas': Rutherford Institute Issues Constitutional Guidelines for Celebrating Christmas in Public, at School or Work

As part of its annual effort to clear up much of the legal misunderstanding over the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Christmas, The Rutherford Institute has issued a Constitutional Q&A on the “Twelve Rules of Christmas.”

November 22, 2017
Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Stop Police from Carrying out Warrantless Searches of Vehicles Parked on Private Residential Property

Warning against the continuing encroachment of law enforcement on the security and privacy of the homes of citizens, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit police from entering private residential property and approaching a home, uninvited and without a warrant, in order to search a vehicle parked a few feet from the house.

November 17, 2017
Rutherford Institute Sues Police Over 'Broken Taillight' Traffic Stop That Resulted in Driver Being Punched, Beaten, Arrested and Hospitalized

The Rutherford Institute has filed a Fourth Amendment lawsuit on behalf of a young African-American man who, after being stopped by Louisiana police for a broken taillight, was allegedly thrown to the ground, beaten, arrested and hospitalized for severe injuries to his face and arm, all for allegedly “resisting arrest” by driving to a safe, well-lit area before stopping.

November 15, 2017
U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review First Amendment Case Over Minnesota Ban on Expressive T-Shirts, Buttons at Polling Places

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a First Amendment case challenging a Minnesota law that bans political speech on any “badge, button, shirt, or hat” worn at election polling stations.

November 02, 2017
Rutherford Institute Challenges Police Use of License Plate Readers as Mass Surveillance Tool to Track Citizens Not Suspected of a Crime

The Rutherford Institute has asked the Virginia Supreme Court to prohibit police from using license plate readers as mass surveillance tools to track citizens whether or not they are suspected of a crime. In filing an amicus brief in Neal v. Fairfax County Police Department, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that Fairfax County’s practice of collecting and storing license plate reader data violates a Virginia law prohibiting the government from amassing personal information about individuals, including their driving habits and location.

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