Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down DOMA

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has issued its decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. The Court has ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The decision is available here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

It is appropriate this weekend to remember not only our fallen soldiers but what they fought for and why they defended us and our way of life.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another California Federal Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

Two days ago Judge Claudia Wilken of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a decision in Dragovich v. Geithner striking down DOMA as unconstitutional. This is the third federal district court to come to the same conclusion.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Prosecution under Matthew Shepard Act

Lila Shapiro's article in HuffPost's Gay Voices, Federal Anti-Gay Hate Crimes Law Gets First Test in Kentucky (May 23, 2012) is an outstanding and thorough summary of the Matthew Shepard Act, the arguments for and against the enactment of the law, and the Kentucky prosecution that will be its first test in court.

Not a News Flash: Greenhouse Gases Are Causing Global Warming

Here is some of the latest evidence regarding increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and global warming.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Catholic Institutions and Private Business File Lawsuits Over Birth Control Mandate

Dozens of Roman Catholic institutions in eight different states filed suit against the federal government today challenging the constitutionality of the requirement that employers provide birth control coverage to their employees. In this they joined by a private employer who filed a similar suit in a Missouri two months ago. The plaintiffs all contend that the the federal mandate violates their right to religious freedom. Furthermore, the Missouri legislature has reportedly enacted a statute authorizing employers not to cover contraception or sterilization services.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

NOM's Strategy of Creating Racial Backlash Against Marriage Equality Backfires: NAACP Board Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

Six weeks ago it was revealed that in 2009 the National Organization for Marriage had developed a detailed secret plan to "exploit" racial tensions in the United States in order to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks." See Wilson Huhn,  NOM's "National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle" Appeals to Racial, Ethnic, Religious, and Political Divisions (March 27, 2012). Today the Board of Directors of the NAACP voted to officially support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. See ABC News, NAACP Backs Same-Sex Marriage as Civil Right (May 20, 2012); Charlie Joughlin, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP Board Endorses Marriage Equality (May 19, 2012); Steve Kilar, Baltimore Sun, NAACP Votes to Support Same-Sex Marriage (May 19, 2012).

McCain and Whitehouse Support Campaign Finance Reform, Oppose Citizens United

Rachel Leven at The Hill reports that Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court urging the Court to review and overturn its decision in Citizens United.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Having Renounced Citizenship, Eduardo Saverin May Not Be Allowed to Return to United States

Facebook's co-founder, billionaire Eduardo Saverin, moved to this country at the age of 13 and later became a United States citizen. While here as a young man he became unimaginably wealthy. Recently he moved to Singapore and renounced his American citizenship, reportedly because he wished to avoid paying capital gains taxes. If this was his reason for giving up his citizenship, federal law may not permit him to return to the United States.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is the Supermajority Requirement for Cloture Constitutional?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to abolish the rule that requires 60 votes to achieve the passage of legislation. Manu Raju, Politico, Harry Reid: Reform the FilibusterSome commentators are arguing that the supermajority requirement to bring cloture to a filibuster is inconsistent with the text and the intent of the Constitution.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spring 2012 Constitutional Law II Exam: Freedom of Expression: Statute Prohibiting Bullying

Over the next few days I'll post the questions from my Spring 2012 Constitutional Law II exam. The first one up involves the constitutionality of a Connecticut statute requiring school districts to prohibit bullying at school. I added a criminal penalty and a couple of hypothetical fact situations. What do you think? May this law be constitutionally applied to the children in question?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Romney's Attack on Fellow Student Not "Hijinks" or "Prank" But Assault

Earlier today the Washington Post reported upon an incident that occurred after spring break in 1965 involving Mitt Romney and John Lauber, a fellow student at Cranbrook School. Romney - who turned 18 on March 12 of that year - organized and led an attack on the other student. This event was burned into the memory of those who witnessed it. Romney claims that he doesn't remember it, but has apologized for any "hijinks" or "pranks" that "may have gone too far."

The Anthony Hargrove Declaration

On April 13, 2012, Anthony Hargrove, former New Orleans Saint defensive end, signed a sworn document informing the NFL that two New Orleans coaches, Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt, told him to deny that there ever was a "bounty" program to injure opposing players, and that he should "play dumb" when interviewed by the NFL.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President Obama Announces Support for Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples

Rick Klein at ABC News reports that President Barack Obama has announced his support for the right of gay and lesbian couples to be permitted to marry. The President made this announcement in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Would an Executive Order Banning Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation Be Constitutional?

Gay rights groups have strongly criticized President Obama for refusing to issue an Executive Order banning employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by federal contractors. In my opinion, the President could issue an order prohibiting government agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. However, I believe that the President lacks the authority to prohibit discriminatory action by private businesses that are under contract with the government.

Sovereignty, Citizenship, and the Right to Vote

The Declaration of Independence sets forth the fundamental principles that this country stands for. All persons are created equal. All persons have certain inalienable rights. And all just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed. From these premises it follows that every citizen has an equal right to vote. The law must not invade these sacred principles. Unfortunately a number of laws diminish, discourage, or disqualify citizens from voting. These laws violate the fundamental principles of democracy and individual sovereignty.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012