- Kansas Supreme Court rules 4-3 that cops can conduct warrantless search of private homes if they say they smell marijuana. Practical difference between this and “…whenever they please” is not clear [Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capital-Journal] More: Jacob Sullum;
- At Timbs v. Indiana oral argument, Court seems sympathetic to idea of applying Excessive Fines clause to the states [Robby Soave, Jacob Sullum, Ilya Somin, earlier here, here, and here] Notwithstanding Justice Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s interjections, there is and has been no uniform incorporation of the entire Bill of Rights against the states [Rory Little]
- Arizona Supreme Court should recognize that First Amendment protects right of calligraphic art studio not to be forced to draw invitations and vows for wedding ceremony of which owner/artists disapprove on religious grounds [Ilya Shapiro and Patrick Moran on Cato Institute amicus brief in Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix]
- Claim: notwithstanding SCOTUS precedent to the contrary, U.S. Constitution contains no general federal power to restrict immigration [Ilya Somin and others, Cato Unbound symposium, more]
- “The Supreme Court Really Needs to Start Defining the Scope of the Second Amendment” [Ilya Shapiro and Matthew Larosiere on Cato amicus brief in Mance v. Whitaker, interstate sales by gun dealers] “Bump Stock Rule Bumps Up Against the Constitution” [Shapiro and Larosiere] “The Most Common Firearm in America is Not a ‘Weapon of War’” [same on Cato amicus brief in Worman v. Healey, Massachusetts ban on “assault weapons”] Federal court strikes down as unconstitutional New York’s ban on nunchaku [AP, Lowering the Bar with previous coverage of lawyer’s quest]
- “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.” That’s a recently adopted provision of the New Hampshire constitution. Now what does it mean? [David Post]
The Supreme Court yesterday in a 5-4 decision upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban, citing the relevant statute’s extreme deference toward executive branch national security determinations on the entry of persons, as well as the Court’s own historic deference toward executive branch discretion in this area.
The four liberal justices dissented, but did not agree on reasoning. Breyer and Kagan went for a low-key, minimalist fix — keep the injunction in place while ordering additional factfinding about implementation — that might have begun as an effort to craft a narrow decision conservatives would join. Only two Justices, Sotomayor and Ginsburg, went along with the arguments that persuaded the Ninth Circuit judges below.
Both dissents, however, stressed the significance of improper animus / discrimination against religious belief, the same issue championed by the Court’s conservatives in Masterpiece Cakeshop earlier this month.
Legal buffs may be interested in Thomas’s concurrence in which he pronounces universal injunctions “legally and historically dubious.”
Finally, and of interest to all Americans, the Court through its majority opinion officially repudiated Korematsu v. U.S. (1944), the decision in which it once upheld forced wartime internment of Japanese-Americans. Korematsu had never been officially repudiated until today.
- “Leave your 13-year-old home alone? Police can take her into custody under Illinois law” [Jeffrey Schwab, Illinois Policy]
- So many stars to sue: Huang v. leading Hollywood names [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar]
- Morgan Spurlock’s claim in 2004’s Super Size Me of eating only McDonald’s food for a month and coming out as a physical wreck with liver damage was one that later researchers failed to replicate; now confessional memoir sheds further doubt on baseline assertions essential to the famous documentary [Phelim McAleer, WSJ]
- If you’ve seen those “1500 missing immigrant kids” stories — and especially if you’ve helped spread them — you might want to check out some of these threads and links [Josie Duffy Rice, Dara Lind, Rich Lowry]
- “Antitrust Enforcement by State Attorney Generals,” Federalist Society podcast with Adam Biegel, Vic Domen, Jennifer Thomson, Jeffrey Oliver, and Ian Conner]
- “The lopsided House vote for treating assaults on cops as federal crimes is a bipartisan portrait in cowardice.” [Jacob Sullum, more, Scott Greenfield, earlier on hate crimes model for “Protect and Serve Act”]
“For over 60 years, the executive branch has, through regulatory fiat, imposed a ‘border zone’ that extends as much as 100 miles into the United States.” Within this zone, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service can set up fixed or mobile checkpoints that require travelers, whether foreign- or native-born, to stop and submit to questioning and possible search “to get to work, go to the store, or make it to a vacation destination in the American Southwest.” Were the government to try using these same techniques at frankly internal checkpoints — in Omaha, say, or Indianapolis or Cheyenne — a range of constitutional protections would come into play to limit police discretion and protect citizens’ rights to go about their business freely. But the border, or areas within 100 miles of it, are different. One problem: since the coasts count as borders too, an estimated two-thirds of the American public lives in areas that are just one executive decision away from having a checkpoint system.
The Cato Institute is launching a new online initiative, “Checkpoint America: Monitoring the Constitution-Free Zone.” Patrick G. Eddington explains in the Cato Daily Podcast above, and in this blog post.
In the case of a federal law providing for the mandatory deportation of lawful permanent residents convicted of a hazily defined “crime of violence,” Justice Neil Gorsuch steps comfortably into Nino Scalia’s shoes as the Court’s champion of void-for-vagueness invalidation of criminal laws whose contours were left overly unclear. “It doesn’t make him a squish. It makes him an originalist,” [Ilya Shapiro, Washington Examiner; opinion in Sessions v. Dimaya] More: Jay Schweikert, Cato.
“The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse, mistakes and unfairness.” It happened back in 2007. [T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, and Kiah Collier and Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune; related, Ilya Somin]
From the 1890s to the 1920s labor unions helped lead a war of laws and boycotts aimed at Chinese restaurants, drawing on anti-immigrant feeling and even sex panic. Recounting a forgotten history [Gabriel J. Chin and John Ormonde, Cato Regulation]
- Go figure: Trump executive order says “Hire American” even as federal law bans job discrimination in favor of American citizens [Jon Hyman]
- Though ADA excludes “gender identity” claims, judge green-lights suit over gender dysphoria [P.J. D’Annunzio, Law.com]
- “UC Berkeley Drops Free Online Videos In Response To Government Threat” [Jane Shaw/Heartland, and thanks for quote]
- “Hostile work environment can be created with one racial slur, 2nd Circuit rules” [ABA Journal]
- Connecticut’s CHRO attracts much higher per capita filings of workplace discrimination than comparable agency in Massachusetts, with complaints from incumbent employees a key growth area [Marc E. Fitch, Yankee Institute; Daniel Schwartz with somewhat different view]
- Missed, from December: Philadelphia could close businesses deemed to discriminate [Tricia Nadolny, Philadelphia Daily News, related earlier]
Fabricated persecution claims are an insult (and in practice a menace) to those who have suffered genuine persecution: “When he found a client seeking asylum in the United States, typically from Iraq, the suburban attorney would quickly forge that person’s name on an application and pepper the person’s life story with horrific hardships, including kidnappings, bombings and religious persecution — all false. He drew inspiration from news articles he collected.” A federal judge has now sentenced Robert Dekelaita to 15 months in prison. [CBS Chicago]
I’ve already recommended Short Circuits, the well-written newsletter by John Ross of the Institute for Justice that briefly digests interesting decisions from the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. Until recently you needed to subscribe if you wanted to read it, but now it’s also being shared by Eugene Volokh on the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog. Here’s one case write-up from the most recent number:
Naturalized citizen hasn’t been able to renew her California driver’s license since 2004 because two different federal agencies have two different birthdates on file for her (which they decline to reconcile). Can the courts intervene? Sadly not, says the Ninth Circuit, as Congress delegated exclusive power over naturalization to the executive branch (to make the process easier for immigrants).