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Free Speech & Election Law

Supreme Court to Consider Honest-Services Fraud: Oral Arguments Heard in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
William J. Haun, Stephen R. Klein April 27, 2016

On Wednesday, April 27, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States. The Court will review the public corruption convictions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to determine whether the definition of “official action” as used in the federal bribery statute, Hobbs Act, and honest-services fraud statute is limited to exercising actual governmental power or the threat or pressure to do so. If the definition is not so limited, the Court will also consider whether the Hobbs Act and honest-services fraud statute are unconstitutional—given that such a broad definition could include political activity protected by the First Amendment. Our experts attended the oral arguments and offered a summary and analysis to Federalist Society members.

Featuring:

  • William J. Haun, Associate, Hunton & Williams LLP
  • Stephen R. Klein, Attorney, Pillar of Law Institute

Packing Districts?: Supreme Court Decides Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
Hans A. von Spakovsky April 22, 2016

On April 20, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, a case challenging Arizona's state legislative district map as partisan gerrymandering. Our expert discussed the opinion and what it means for the Court’s voting rights jurisprudence.

Featuring:

  • Hon. Hans A. von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-20-16 featuring Richard A. Epstein
Richard A. Epstein April 20, 2016

On March 29, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. A group of public school employees sued the California Teachers Association and various other entities, arguing that the agency shop arrangement itself--as well as the opt-out requirement--violated the First Amendment. The district court denied their claim and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed based on existing precedent and the 1997 Supreme Court decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The two questions before the Supreme Court were (1) whether the Abood precedent should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.

In a one-sentence per curiam opinion, the judgment of the Ninth Circuit was affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court, a 4-4 split.

To discuss the case, we have Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law and Professor Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
 

Free Speech and Climate Change

Short video featuring Andrew Grossman
Andrew Grossman April 19, 2016

Andrew Grossman, Partner at BakerHostetler, explains the investigation of the fossil fuel industry and public policy groups skeptical of climate change by the Attorneys General of nineteen states. He underscores the importance of free speech in public policy debates on climate change. Mr. Grossman is also Counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.