The blowback from the Biden Justice Department's latest overreach has now reached the state level.
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association tells Delaware Valley Journal it disavows a letter last week from the national school board group asking that parents protesting education policy be investigated as possible violent domestic terrorists, That letter resulted in swift action from Attorney General Merrick Garland — and a swift backlash from advocates of parental rights and opponents of federal interference in local law enforcement.Read more
The Supreme Court reaffirmed strong First Amendment protection against voyeuristic government compulsory disclosure rules last week in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta. While we wrote about this last week, this is an important decision that deserves a second look. The Court ruled that California cannot require non-profit religious, charitable and civic organizations to disclose their donors to the state as a condition of soliciting contributions from Californians. The California requirement was started by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris. The Court’s opinion is a rebuke to the now Vice President.Read more
Democrat commissioners on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are showing us just how dangerous it would be if Democrat-backed election bills become law. As Kimberley Strassel explained in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Democrat Commissioner Ellen Weintraub is a case study for selective enforcement of FEC regulations.Read more
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Brandi Levy who sued her high school district after being punished for posting a profanity-filled rant on Snapchat upon not making the varsity cheerleading team. The New York Times reported:
The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a Pennsylvania school district had violated the First Amendment by punishing a student for a vulgar social media message sent while she was not on school grounds.Read more
Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution states: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Yet H.R.1, nicknamed the "Corrupt Politicians Act," clearly states (emphasis added):
An individual is eligible to serve as a member of an independent redistricting commission if the individual meets each of the following criteria: . . .
(iv) The reason or reasons the individual desires to serve on the independent redistricting commission, the individual’s qualifications, and information relevant to the ability of the individual to be fair and impartial, including, but not limited to— (I) any involvement with, or financial support of, professional, social, political, religious, or community organizations or causes;Read more
In July, the Federal Election Commission dismissed a complaint filed by the liberal Campaign Legal Center (CLC) against America Progress Now (APN). CLC alleged that APN had technically violated federal campaign finance regulations by failing to include required disclaimers for political ads on Facebook Ads run by APN's Facebook page. CLC also insinuated that APN was a "fake political group." However, CLC's real motive was not to get the small potatoes APN. The Commission made the decision to dismiss the Campaign Legal Center's complaint unanimously. In FEC Chairman Trey Trainor's Statement of Reasons for the complaint's dismissal, he raised concerns how a technical violation could be used to chill free speech.Read more
Today, the Supreme Court held in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that, under the Free Exercise Clause, if a state has a program giving public dollars to citizens to use at private schools, it cannot tell those citizens that the money can only be used at non-religious private schools. Montana had decided that its scholarship program funds could not be used at religious schools under the state's Blaine Amendment, a legacy of a failed anti-Catholic amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many First Amendment advocates hope this opinion proves to be a fatal blow to the discriminatory anti-religious Blaine Amendments still found in many state constitutions.Read more
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and state and local governments take different approaches in responding it, an increasing number of cases have been filed against alleged government overreach. At first they were largely First Amendment cases, as we have previously covered (5/5, 4/22, 4/16, 4/13, 4/9, and 3/27), but now litigation is pending on nearly every government action in response to the pandemic, including challenges to governors' entire executive orders.
Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers' "safer-at-home" order. RNLA member Jake Curtis analyzed the decision, which was made on state separation of powers grounds:Read more