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Virginia Supreme Court, Governor Clash Over Felons' Voting Rights

Michael W. Kirk July 26, 2016

On July 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued a historic decision invalidating Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s unprecedented order that purported to erase Virginia’s constitutional provision disenfranchising felons. The decision preserves the People’s choice to require their Governor to determine that an individual felon has earned the public trust before restoring his political rights. And more broadly, it vindicates constitutional limitations on executive power. [Read More]


Article: Supreme Court Season of Turmoil

Author Response: More on Judicial Impartiality

David L. Applegate July 25, 2016

I concur wholeheartedly with Evan Bernick’s thesis, written in response to my recent blog, “Trump Trumps Ginsburg,” July 18, 2016, that “systematic judicial bias that poses a far graver threat to constitutionally limited government than an individual justice’s opinion of a presidential candidate.” (See Bernick, “Judicial Impartiality Must Not Be a Mere ‘Façade’: On the Dangers of Individual and Systematic Judicial Bias,” July 19, 2016.) He is surely correct that “[i]mpartiality is not only an individual duty but a systemic ideal to which the judiciary is institutionally committed by explicit constitutional commands” (emphasis in original). [Read More]


Photo Credit: By (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Amendments to Federal Criminal Rule 41 Address Venue, Not Hacking Powers

Jonathan Keim July 21, 2016

A few weeks ago the Supreme Court notified Congress of this year’s proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Without further congressional action, the new rules will become final in December 2016. Several amendments to Rule 41, which governs search and seizure warrants, have generated some opposition on the grounds that they are unconstitutional and unlawfully confer new legal powers on the government. As I explain below, however, those legal objections are not well-founded. The amendments only loosen venue requirements, removing artificial geographical constraints on the issuance of certain types of warrants.   [Read More]


Assault rifle

Keyes v. Lynch: A successful as-applied challenge to the federal firearms ban for the mentally ill

Joseph Greenlee July 21, 2016

Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4)) prohibits any person “who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution” from possessing firearms or ammunition. In Keyes v. Lynch, a federal district court in Pennsylvania held that § 922(g)(4) violated the Second Amendment as applied to Plaintiff Jonathan Yox.  [Read More]



Dodd-Frank Appears In Cleveland

John Shu July 20, 2016

Last night, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump, Jr. criticized Dodd-Frank and the rapidly overgrowing administrative state in his keynote speech. He called today's administrative state a “regulatory state on steroids,” and noted, as an example, that Dodd-Frank itself was approximately 1,000 pages long, and that the federal government has issued approximately 22,000 pages in accompanying regulations.  He also said, almost certainly referring to the essentially-unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,[1] that Dodd-Frank “doesn't help consumers, what it does is destroy small-business in favor of big business, who can afford the vast number of lawyers and accountants needed to comply.” [Read More]


Supreme Court Columns

Judicial Impartiality Must Not Be a Mere “Facade”: On the Dangers of Individual and Systematic Judicial Bias

Evan Bernick July 19, 2016

In an article published Tuesday on this blog, David Applegate applauds the New York Times for what Applegate rightly describes as an “astonishing” recent editorial. In that editorial, the Times took Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to task for her widely-publicized critical comments concerning Donald Trump, imagining a case in which “the resolution of the [upcoming presidential] election depended on a Supreme Court decision” (it has happened before) and posing a powerful rhetorical question: “Could anyone now argue with a straight face that Justice Ginsburg’s only guide would be the law?” [Read More]


The Federalist Society is hiring--Video Editors needed!

Timothy Courtney July 19, 2016

The Federalist Society produces a range of videos on law and policy topics. Our team is looking for proposals from freelance video editors who can assemble 3-4 minute videos on an ongoing basis explaining law & policy issues at a production level equivalent our recent videos:

John Jay: Family, Faith, & The Federalist Papers

Drones: The FAA's Regulations for Recreational Use

iPhones & the "All Writs Act"

We expect you to:

  • Collaborate with us initially to discuss the project and our objectives, and throughout the project on producing a high quality final product

  • Cut the script we’ve provided into an initial radio cut. We review and finalize the cut

  • Add images and other b-roll, music, title slides, intro and outro, and other simple animation & motion graphics -- bringing the academic substance to life in a creative way. We anticipate that the video has b-roll and other additional visual effects for 40-60% of the running time

  • We provide final feedback and you make final changes

  • Deliver the final video via YouTube and DropBox

  • Be highly proficient in Adobe Premiere CC

  • Be able to perform basic color correction

We would provide:

  • The interview footage and a script complete with timestamps

  • Some suggestions for b-roll and other visuals  

  • Consultation throughout the project if you have questions or need input

  • Access to/and/or budget for stock footage & Music

We’re interested in developing an ongoing relationship with you for future projects. Some of our projects are freestanding three-minute videos.  Other projects are multiple videos on related topics, based on a longer interview with a speaker, and are produced with similar stylization.

If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please send the following to

  • A proposal, including links to prior videos that you have produced in a similar style

  • A rate estimate per 3-4 minute video

  • References from previous projects


computer lock privacy

Second Circuit Issues Landmark Decision Regarding Electronic Privacy And The Territorial Scope Of U.S. Law

Viet Dinh July 18, 2016

On July 14, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a landmark decision addressing a number of important issues of national sovereignty and electronic privacy. See Microsoft v. United States, No. 14-2985. The Court held that U.S. law only authorizes the government to seek disclosure of electronic communications (such as emails) stored within the territory of the United States, and that any disclosure of information stored abroad must be obtained pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or the laws of the country in which the data is stored. [Read More]


Trump Trumps Ginsburg

David L. Applegate July 18, 2016

In an astonishing editorial – astounding because of its source, not its content – entitled “Mr. Trump Is Right About Justice Ginsburg,” The New York Times on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, opined that “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to drop the political punditry and the name-calling.”  As The Times noted, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg three times in the preceding week not only let the nation know what she thinks about the prospect of Mr. Trump as a potential U.S. President, but did so in a way befitting a politician more than a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. [Read More]


Call for Papers -- 2017 Federalist Society Annual Faculty Conference

Timothy Courtney July 14, 2016

The 2017 Federalist Society Annual Faculty Conference will take place January 5-6, 2017 in San Francisco, CA at the Parc 55 Hilton. The conference will again take place as part of the official AALS annual meeting (though we will continue to retain the same general format we have used in recent years). One need not register for the AALS conference, however, to participate in or attend the Federalist Society conference panels.

Below, please find our Annual Call for Papers, as well as a note about AALS "Hot Topics: [Read More]

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