Courts

Federal Court Strikes California Handgun Advertising Ban as First Amendment Violation

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled on Tuesday that California’s ban on handgun advertisements violates the First Amendment. The ruling involved Tracy Rifle and Pistol (TRAP), Ten Percent Firearms, Sacramento Black Rifle, Inc., and PRK Arms, all of whom were supported by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees. The case was brought when Sacramento Black Rifle, Tracy Rifle and Pistol, and others were told aspects of their logo violated the state’s ban on advertising handgun sales with photographs and/or images of handguns. CBS Sacramento reports that Rob Adams, owner of Sacramento Black Rifle, was told he was breaking the law by having a pistol embedded with an “R” in his company logo. Adams said, “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment, you know, advertising. It’s censoring.” California argued that the ban on handgun advertisements helps reduce suicides and crime, but court rejected these arguments, ruling that California did not provide evidence sufficient to support these claims Judge Troy L. Nunley wrote, ” In the absence of evidence and with no common-sense relation, the Government has not met its burden of demonstrating that § 26820 directly and materially advances that interest. In sum, the Government fails to show that § 26820 has any effect on handgun suicide or crime.” Nunley also addressed the issues put for by Sacramento Black Rifle owner Rob Adams, writing, “California may not accomplish its goals by violating the First Amendment.” He noted, “The Supreme Court has rejected this highly paternalistic approach to limiting speech.” Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb commented on legal victory, saying, “A state cannot legislate political correctness at the expense of a fundamental, constitutionally-delineated civil right. We were delighted to offer financial support to this case.” The case is Tracy Rifle and Pistol, LLC, v. Harris (No. 2:14-cv-02626).

Excellent decision!!  The court was exactly right, and slapped fascist California right across the face for their brazen violation of the First Amendment ostensibly to squash advertising of firearms.  Outstanding!!     🙂

Brett Kavanaugh backed by Bob Bennett, Bill Clinton’s Paula Jones-era lawyer

Bob Bennett, the lawyer who represented former President Bill Clinton during the Paula Jones sexual misconduct case, declared his support on Tuesday for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, referring to the nominee as “the most qualified person any Republican President could possibly have nominated.” In a letter exclusively obtained by Fox News, written to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Bennett detailed his relationship with Kavanaugh, with whom he spent time during Ken Starr’s investigation into Clinton. Kavanaugh, 53, assisted Starr in writing his report in the 1990s, which laid out the legal framework for supporting Clinton’s impeachment on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, linked to his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Bennett noted that while he and Kavanaugh worked for different teams during the investigation, the two were able to avoid “falling prey to that trap” of treating the opponent as a “villain.” The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, Bennett wrote, “has had an innate sense of fairness and civility that has governed his relationships with allies and adversaries equally.” Bennett also said lawyers “love” to argue their cases to Kavanaugh, who will then treat each one fairly. “To him, it does not matter whether you are bringing a ‘conservative’ case or a ‘liberal’ case,” Bennett said. “What matters is whether you can support your case with solid arguments grounded in the law.” Bennett added that attorneys think “Brett is a ‘judge’s judge'” and that when Kavanaugh “rules against parties, they know he gave them a fair hearing and thoughtful explanation for his position.” Bennett said that if the Senate does not confirm Kavanaugh to the recently vacated Supreme Court seat held by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “it would undermine civility in politics twice over.” “First in playing politics with such an obviously qualified nominee, and then again in losing the opportunity to put such a strong advocate for decency and civility on our Nation’s highest court,” Bennett wrote. Confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh are expected to begin Sept. 4.

U.S. court rejects atheists’ appeal over ‘In God We Trust’ on money

A federal appeals court on Tuesday said printing “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency is constitutional, citing its longstanding use and saying it was not coercive. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota rejected claims by 29 atheists, children of atheists and atheist groups that inscribing the national motto on bills and coins violated their First Amendment free speech and religious rights. While other courts have allowed the motto’s use on currency, Circuit Judge Raymond Gruender said it also did not constitute an establishment of religion under a 2014 Supreme Court decision requiring a review of “historical practices.” Gruender said the Constitution lets the government celebrate “our tradition of religious freedom,” and that putting the motto on currency “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” without compelling religious observance. “In God We Trust” began appearing on U.S. coins in 1864 during the Civil War, a period of increased religious sentiment, and was added to paper currencies by the mid-1960s. President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law making the phrase the national motto in 1956. Tuesday’s 3-0 decision upheld a Dec. 2016 lower court ruling, though one judge refused to join part of its analysis. The federal appeals court in Chicago upheld the use of “In God We Trust” on currency in May.

Outstanding decision by the 8th Circuit!!  And, it was well-considered.  Saying, “In God We Trust” is NOT a governmental endorsement of any particular religion.  Further, our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  Those that don’t like that FACT just need to get the hell over it.  Atheists and liberals who hate how this country was founded have for years used the courts to undo that founding.  This time effort blew up in their faces…  Thank God.

 

French: Colorado Defies the Supreme Court, Renews Persecution of a Christian Baker

Even after a 7–2 Supreme Court decision protecting Colorado custom baker Jack Phillips from overt religious discrimination, the state is doubling down. It’s participating in and empowering a grotesque campaign of discrimination and harassment that should shock the conscience of sensible Americans. Phillips, you’ll recall, is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the bakery at the epicenter of one of the most contentious cases of the Supreme Court’s last term. Phillips had refused to design a custom cake to celebrate a gay wedding, and a clear majority of SCOTUS ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated his right to free exercise of religion by demonstrating overt religious animus against him. Commissioners not only denigrated the sincerity of his religious-liberty argument, they applied overt double standards (by allowing bakers to refuse to create anti-gay messages) that were clearly discriminatory. So Jack won. Colorado lost. But Jack’s ordeal, it turns out, was far from over. By standing up for his First Amendment freedoms, Phillips put a target on his back, and bad-faith, malicious actors aimed and fired. Here’s what happened. According to a verified complaint filed today by my old colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, on June 26, 2017 — the very day the Supreme Court granted Jack’s request to review his wedding-cake case — a lawyer named Autumn Scardina called Masterpiece Cakeshop and “asked Masterpiece Cakeshop to create a custom cake with ‘a blue exterior and a pink interior’ — a cake ‘design’ that, according to the lawyer,” reflected “the fact that [the lawyer] transitioned from male-to-female and that [the lawyer] had come out as transgender.” Lest anyone wonder whether this request was made in good faith, consider that this same person apparently made a number of requests to Masterpiece Cakeshop. In September 2017, a caller asked Phillips to design a birthday cake for Satan that would feature an image of Satan smoking marijuana. The name “Scardina” appeared on the caller identification. A few days earlier, a person had emailed Jack asking for a cake with a similar theme — except featuring “an upside-down cross, under the head of Lucifer.” This same emailer reminded Phillips that “religion is a protected class.” On the very day that Phillips won his case at the Supreme Court, a person emailed with yet another deliberately offensive design request.

To actually read this offensive request, and the rest of the article by attorney Army Reserve officer David French, click on the text above.  David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.  Clearly the State of Colorado has it out for Mr. Phillips, and is brazenly assaulting his religious freedoms in defiance of the Supreme Court.  Unreal..

Senate confirms two more circuit judges after Flake lifts blockade

The Senate confirmed two more appeals court judges Thursday, continuing to make progress on President Trump’s goal of revamping the federal judiciary after a maverick Republican dropped his blockade. Sen. Jeff Flake earlier this summer had halted progress on judges, staging a protest over Mr. Trump’s trade policies. But after getting the chance to vote on a non-binding statement of pushback against Mr. Trump, the Arizona Republican relented last month and the GOP was able to clear more judges through the committee pipeline, readying them for floor votes. The latest two to earn full Senate approval were Marvin Quattlebaum and Julius Richardson, both of whom will sit on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Quattlebaum was confirmed 62-28, while Mr. Richardson was cleared by 81-8. Judge Quattlebaum was confirmed last year as a district court judge and Mr. Richardson worked as assistant U.S attorney for the District of South Carolina since 2009. Mr. Trump has now placed 26 judges on the circuit courts.

 

In wake of Supreme Court’s anti-union ruling, nonmembers seek repayment of dues

The labor movement unions suffered a major hit to the pocketbook after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions could not force nonmembers to pay dues — and now some of those who had paid for years say they want their money back. Mark Janus, the Illinois state employee who won the Supreme Court case in June, became the latest to demand repayment from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for what he estimates is roughly $2,000 in dues he is owed. All told, billions of dollars could be at stake for hundreds of thousands of government workers. But first they will have to prove they’re entitled to collect on the old payments. “It’s quite clear workers can go and get refunds for whatever the statute of limitations is in their state,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who represented Mr. Janus. Others aren’t so sure, saying the justices didn’t say anything about repayments. “In my view, it’s very unlikely that there will be any retroactivity with respect to this decision, and the reason for that is the Janus decision overruled 41-year-old precedent,” said Mitchell Rubinstein, a New York based lawyer. “It changed existing law.” The high court overturned a 1977 case when it ruled 5-4 in Mr. Janus’ favor. The justices said Mr. Janus was right to complain about being forced to pay dues to a labor union that then used his money to advocate for public policies on education or health care that he disagreed with. The court said the dues were an infringement on Mr. Janus’ free speech rights. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said losing access to non-members’ money could be “unpleasant” for the unions but Americans’ First Amendment rights needed to be maintained. “It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely,” Justice Alito wrote. Even before the ruling, Mr. Semmens‘ organization was battling on behalf of Debora Nearman, an Oregon state employee who objected to her union’s dues. She recently settled with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 for roughly $3,000, the amount permitted under the statute of limitations in Oregon for claims brought when civil rights are violated. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation also is representing a class-action lawsuit of more than 30,000 employees in California who are suing the SEIU over its policies, and seeking reimbursement in light of the Supreme Court’s latest ruling. “We actually estimated for them that the over 30,000 workers could be entitled to over a $100 million in refunds,” Mr. Semmens said.

Liberal 9th Circuit surprises with pro-2nd Amendment decision blocking California ammo ban

Second Amendment activists were given a surprise boost this week when the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals backed a lower court’s decision to suspend California’s ban on the possession of large magazines. Activists, supported by the National Rifle Association, have argued that the state’s ban on ownership of magazines holding 10 bullets or more is unconstitutional. They won a preliminary injunction by a San Diego district court last year, and a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit backed that injunction Tuesday. The court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the injunction or by concluding that magazines fall within the scope of the Second Amendment. “The district court did not abuse its discretion by applying the incorrect level of scrutiny,” the judges also found. “The district court concluded that a ban on ammunition magazines is not a presumptively lawful regulation and that the prohibition did not have a ‘historical pedigree.'” “This is a significant win for law-abiding gun owners in California,” Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement. “This unconstitutional law criminalizes mere possession of many standard capacity magazines and would instantly turn many law-abiding gun owners into criminals.”

Agreed!  A small, but welcome, rare pro-gun victory for the law-abiding gun owners in California.