On 1st Amendment free speech protests against Presidents: Wood v. Moss

Questions in this case and 5-cent rundown: Did two Secret Service agents – Tim Wood and Rob Savage — violate Michael Moss’ 1st Amendment rights when they forcibly moved him and a group of anti-George W. Bush protesters, but not a group of pro-Bush demonstrators, away from a restaurant where the president was dining? Second, should the agents be protected from such a lawsuit, which could result in having to pay damages, as a result of the “qualified immunity” status given to Secret Service who are tasked with protecting presidents?

Bush

10-cent explanation:  In the fall of 2004, shortly before the Bush-Kerry presidential election, George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush decided to dine at the Jacksonville Inn in Jacksonville, Oregon. Continue reading

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

5-Cent Explanation:

The issue in the case is whether a for-profit business can claim free exercise of
religion as an exemption to a law mandating employers provide their employees
with contraception coverage.

10-Cent Explanation:

Signed into law in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains a
provision mandating any business employing 50 or more people to provide health
insurance to those employees. The act requires that pre- and post-contraceptive
benefits also be provided under the penalty of severe fines to the employer for
each employee not afforded the sanctioned coverage. Continue reading

“Stony-faced” Alito on the WBC, 1st Amendment, and Obama’s jab

We enjoyed this article giving us a glimpse at Chief Justice Samuel Alito’s remarks to law students at Pepperdine University.  Talking points from the speech included – 1) Stay in school kids!

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Justice Alito looking less than “stony.”

Despite recent trends showing significantly low numbers of law school applicants not seen since the 1970s, Alito enthusiastically encouraged people to attend.  “Our country needs lawyers.  The Constitution and the law is one of the things that holds us together,” Alito told the audience.  2)  Reflecting on one of his most challenging cases, Alito recalled his lone dissent in the 2011 1st Amendment free speech case involving the Westboro Baptist Church. Continue reading

UPDATE-Decision in 4thAmend Fernandez v. CA and “So when do police need a warrant?!”

We got a decision on February 25th in the 4th Amendment case we covered last fall-Fernandez v. California.  Yes, it’s March.  We were a little busy.  Get our two-cents on the decision in the case here.  We end with a brief takeaway on what this case tells us about search warrants, police, and the 4th Amendment.  Don’t worry.  We’re still watching the Court websites for an update on the “Boobies” case (soon).