Why We Need Federal Funding for Indigent Defense

John Pfaff, a law professor at Fordham University, has an op-ed in the New York Times about the deplorable state of our indigent defense system in the United States, which is left entirely up to state and local governments and is vastly underfunded and lacking in resources. … [Read more...]

Staver Suddenly Loves Judicial Independence

Mat Staver, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Larry Klayman, is representing Christian Reconstructionist (read: fascist) Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in an ethics complaint filed against him for ordering judges in that state not to follow the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling. And he's suddenly a fan of judicial independence: … [Read more...]

Ammon Bundy’s Ridiculous Legal Defense

Well, we now know that Ammon Bundy's legal defense to the charges of taking over the Malheur wildlife refuge is going to be and, as expected, it's utterly ridiculous. His argument is that the Constitution forbids the federal government from owning property within a state and therefore could not pay the agents that arrested him to do so. … [Read more...]

SCOTUS Hears Challenge to Obama Immigration Orders

On Monday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v Texas, a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas and 25 other states to challenge President Obama's deferred action program on immigration involving the families of those in the country legally. As Tom Jawetz explains, this should be a very easy case: … [Read more...]

FFRF Sues CA School for Refusing to Promote Scholarship

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a federal suit against the Antelope Valley Union High School District in California for unequal treatment after the school refused to include a scholarship contest for atheist students in the list of scholarships they sent out to parents. … [Read more...]

Cruz: Marriage is Totally a State Issue

Ted Cruz went on Good Morning America on Monday and took live questions from the audience. One of those questions was about same-sex marriage, from a man who is in a gay marriage. He did the usual dodge of saying it should be left up to the states, but ignored the contradictions and implications of his argument. … [Read more...]

Another Follow Up on the Pastafarian Court Ruling

I continue to see an enormous number of people missing the point when it comes to the recent court ruling that says Pastafarianism is not a religion for the purposes of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, along with others who raise interesting and valid concerns about it. So, another post on the topic. … [Read more...]

Texas Supreme Court Ends AG Attempt to Void Same-Sex Marriage

This is how virulently anti-gay Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is: He's been trying to void a same-sex marriage because it was performed a few months before the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling, under a court injunction at the time. The Texas Supreme Court just dismissed his attempt as moot. … [Read more...]

When Ted Cruz Defended a Ban on Dildos

The state of Texas was one of three states that, just a few years ago, actually had a law that forbid the buying and selling of sex toys. And they enforced that law, which led to a legal challenge to it. When Ted Cruz was the Texas Solicitor General, he defended the constitutionality of that ban. … [Read more...]

Appeals Court Blasts Puerto Rican Judge on Marriage Ruling

A few weeks ago, a judge in Puerto Rico ruled that the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell did not apply to that territory and thus it could continue to ban same-sex marriage. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals just overturned that ruling in a rather blistering rebuke of that judge. … [Read more...]

Does Historical Action Automatically Determine Constitutional Meaning?

I've been reading the book Inventing a Christian America by Steven Green, Director of the Center for Religion, Law, and Democracy at Willamette University.There's an interesting discussion of originalism and the idea that the actions of the first congress are dispositive of the meaning of a given constitutional provision. … [Read more...]

Jefferson’s Irrelevant Opinion on Judicial Review

Josh Charles, a columnist for the Worldnetdaily, has been posting excerpts from his new book about the founding fathers. In the latest column, he cites Thomas Jefferson's views on judicial review and the Supreme Court and then pretends that Jefferson's views represented that of the founders as a whole. … [Read more...]