Constitutional Law and Civil Rights

    • 13 Oct 2015

    Lawsuit Alleges that U.S. Government Violated Constitutional Rights of America’s Youth by Promoting the Development and Use of Fossil Fuels

    By Nikita Perumal and Jessica Wentz A foundational component of sustainable development is the principle of inter-generational equity: that we should meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. On August 12, a group of twenty-one youths invoked this principle in a lawsuit filed against the federal government in the U.S. District Court in Oregon. The...
    • 24 Sep 2015

    Response from Robins in the Spokeo Case at the U.S. Supreme Court

    Earlier this month, the respondent, [subscribers can access the order granting certiorari: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], in Spokeo v. Robins filed his merits brief . The main thrust of the brief, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this brief: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], challenges Spokeo’s assertion that Robins lacks standing without “real-world” injury. Instead Robins argues that he meets...
    • 19 Aug 2015

    Supreme Court Slams The Brakes On Challenge To Disparate Act

    By Donald Kaufman and Emily Hart* As of now, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits dealers from unintentional, or “disparate impact,” discrimination in setting dealer reserves in auto financing. This disparate impact can result from policies or practices which have disproportionately adverse effects on members of a protected class (race, national origin, religion, sex, etc.). Last month...
    • 10 Aug 2015

    DC Circuit Court Upholds Federal Ban On Campaign Contributions – What’s Next for Politically Active Government Contractors?

    By William H. Minor A unanimous federal appeals court in Washington, DC has upheld a long-standing ban on federal campaign contributions by government contractors. The case, Wagner et al. v. Federal Election Commission , [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], was brought by three individuals who, at the time, held personal services or consulting contracts with...
    • 5 Aug 2015

    District Court Says Appointment of SEC Administrative Law Judge Was Likely Unconstitutional

    By Courtney Gilligan Saleski , Jonathan W. Haray , and Mark A. Kasten In Hill v. Securities Exchange Commission , the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], preliminarily enjoined the SEC from conducting the administrative proceeding brought against Charles Hill, Jr. (Administrative Proceeding File...
    • 23 Jul 2015

    Chemical Labeling and Disclosures: Can the Government Put Words in Your Mouth

    Eric Gotting and Martha Marrapese, Partners at Keller and Heckman, authored the article "Chemical Labeling and Disclosures: Can the Government Put Words in Your Mouth." The article was published in the Spring 2015 edition of Natural Resources & Environment . To read the article, please click here . For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate s...
    • 15 Jul 2015

    Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage is a Fundamental Right

    On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court struck down the laws of those states that preclude same-sex marriage and also held that each state must recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed in other states. The Court held state laws invalidating same-sex marriage violated both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment. Chief Justice Roberts, Justices...
    • 29 Jun 2015

    Government Found Liable for Hurricane Katrina Flooding

    Jennifer M. Klein, Esq. Associate Director & Fellow Flooding from Hurricane Katrina constitutes a taking of property without just compensation by the United States government, according to a recent decision, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], from the United States Court of Federal Claims in Saint Bernard Parish Government, et al., v. The United States . Judge Susan Braden found that the...
    • 24 Jun 2015

    Class Action Landscape May Be Altered By Supreme Court’s Grant of Cert In Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez

    By Mark J. Levin The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide a case that could alter the landscape of federal class action litigation. Granting the defendant’s petition for certiorari in Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez , the Court will review (1) whether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III of the Constitution, when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his...
    • 18 Jun 2015

    Williams Mullen Files Brief with NC Supreme Court to Protect Rights of Shooting Range Owners

    By Camden R. Webb On June 1, 2015, the North Carolina Supreme Court accepted an amicus brief, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], from the Second Amendment Foundation, authored by Camden R. Webb in a case that challenges the ability of a county ordinance to completely prohibit the construction and operation of shooting ranges, thus preventing the exercise of protected Second Amendment, [ enhanced...
    • 17 Jun 2015

    California Federal Court Rules ‘No Surcharge’ Law Unconstitutional

    A federal district court in California, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], has ruled that a state law prohibiting retailers from imposing a surcharge on credit card purchases placed an unconstitutional restriction on the retailers’ freedom of speech and is unconstitutionally vague. In Italian Colors Restaurant v. Harris , five California businesses and their owners alleged that the law violated...
    • 14 May 2015

    Supreme Court Holds Providers Cannot Sue States to Challenge Low Medicaid Rates

    The Supreme Court ruled, on March 31, in a 5-4 decision, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], that hospitals and all other providers cannot sue to force a state to pay higher Medicaid rates. The name of the case is Armstrong v. Exception Child Center. In Armstrong , the plaintiffs were a group of Idaho providers that furnish “habilitation services.” These are in-home care services, and...
    • 5 May 2015

    Court Holds that ‘Supremacy Clause’ Does Not Create a Private Right of Action to Enforce the Provisions of Medicaid

    On Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc. , No. 14-15 (U.S. March 31, 2015), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that private parties do not have the right under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], to sue states over low Medicaid reimbursement rates. Plaintiffs argued that...
    • 25 Mar 2015

    Third Time Is the Charm: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Argument in Disparate Impact Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. , [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]—the case presenting the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Two prior cases presenting this issue, Twp. Of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action...
    • 10 Mar 2015

    Divorce Equality Comes To New Jersey

    By Peter J. Gallagher ( @pjsgallagher ) When asked about same-sex marriage, the musician/politician/author Kinky Friedman is quoted as having said: “I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us.” In a recent decision, Groh v. Groh , a New Jersey trial court ruled that, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], if same-sex partners are "as...
    • 4 Mar 2015

    State AGs Take Sides as U.S. Supreme Court Hears Housing Discrimination Case

    On January 21, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project , [ writ of certiorari granted, enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], on the question of whether disparate impact claims for discrimination are recognized under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The third time may be the charm as the Supreme Court has twice dismissed...
    • 23 Feb 2015

    Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

    By Matt Ganas, Frank Ryan and Melissa Reinckens On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection. Davis v. Elec. Arts Inc ., 2015 BL 1633, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 154 (9th Cir. Jan. 06, 2015), [ enhanced version available...
    • 26 Jan 2015

    Free Speech In Condos and Co-Ops: Round III Goes To The Resident

    By Peter J. Gallagher ( @pjsgallagher ) It is not quite Ali-Frazier or even Gatti-Ward , but the New Jersey Supreme Court just delivered its third opinion in the past seven years regarding the free speech rights of residents in common interest communities (condos and co-ops). In Dublirer v. 2000 Linwood Avenue, Owners, Inc., [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Court ruled that a resident...
    • 8 Jan 2015

    Amicus Curiae Oppose Disparate-Impact Liability

    Recently, following the U.S. Supreme Court's grant of certiorari , [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], more than a dozen organizations, groups, and associations filed separate amicus curiae briefs, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], in support of the notion that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) does not provide disparate-impact liability. These groups, arguing in support of the...
    • 6 Jan 2015

    Federal District Court Vacates HUD Disparate Impact Rule

    In a Fair Housing Act (FHA) case we have been watching for some time, the federal district court in Washington, D.C., recently issued an opinion vacating the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) disparate impact rule on the ground that "the FHA prohibits disparate treatment only , and that the defendants, therefore, exceeded their authority" under the Administrative Procedure...
    • 13 Nov 2014

    High Speed Police Pursuit and The Fourth Amendment: Jay Shapiro on Plumhoff v. Rickard

    In the civil context, a plaintiff's claims that police used excessive force in seizing a suspect is evaluated under the "reasonableness" standard of the Fourth Amendment. While the determinations are fact sensitive, there are specific encounters that arise with some frequency, such as a high speed car chase. In Plumhoff v. Rickard , the Supreme Court reversed the rulings of lower courts denying qualified...
    • 10 Nov 2014

    Third Time's the Charm? Supreme Court Agrees Again To Hear FHA Disparate Impact Case

    By Michael W. Skojec, Sharon Wilson Géno, Bryan J. Harrison, Christopher J. Willis, John L. Culhane, Jr., and Peter N. Cubita The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed for the third time in recent history to decide whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The Supreme Court granted the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs' (Texas DHCA) petition for writ of certiorari...
    • 16 Oct 2014

    "Judges Think I Am Awesome!" Third Circuit Approves Use Of Judicial Endorsement on Lawyer's Website

    In an interesting First Amendment decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has struck down a New Jersey attorney-advertising guideline that banned attorneys from including judicial quotations in their advertising unless the full judicial opinions appeared in the advertisement, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]. In Dwyer v. Cappell , an attorney, Andrew Dwyer, included several...
    • 13 Oct 2014

    State Net Capitol Journal Spotlight on Constitutional Rights: States Have Mixed Reaction To Court Rulings, Non-Rulings

    In a historic non-decision, the United States Supreme Court last week allowed to stand — without comment — the rulings of three separate federal appeals courts striking down same-sex marriage bans across five states. The high court's decision prompted speculation that same-sex unions could soon become legal in as many as 30 states. But just how much and how fast their decision will actually impact those...
    • 9 Oct 2014

    7th Cir. Explains What Same-Sex Marriage and Voter ID Have in Common

    By Eric G. Pearson What do cases involving challenges to same-sex-marriage and voter ID laws have in common? The answer, according to a per curiam opinion issued last week by a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Frank v. Walker , Nos. 14-2058 & 14-2059 (7th Cir. Sept. 30, 2014), is that both involve “laws enacted through the democratic process” that should...