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September 01, 2016
TRI's Complaint in Payden-Travers v. Talkin; Dept. Of Justice's Motion to Dismiss

Insisting that the government can dictate where people can engage in religious activity, the Department of Justice is asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit, Payden-Travers v. Talkin, filed by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute challenging a 2013 regulation which broadly prohibits expressive activity in the plaza fronting the U.S. Supreme Court’s building. The regulation was issued in response to a June 2013 ruling in another lawsuit, Hodge v. Talkin, filed by Rutherford Institute attorneys in which a federal district court declared a 60-year-old statute banning expressive activities on the Supreme Court plaza “unreasonable, substantially overbroad, and irreconcilable with the First Amendment.”

August 26, 2016
Opinions in Hassan El-Nahal v. David Yassky

A federal appeals court has upheld New York City’s program of warrantless and continuous GPS surveillance of taxi drivers, ruling that drivers are not protected by the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches and seizures when on the job. The Rutherford Institute appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of taxi drivers who were being forced by government officials to attach GPS tracking devices to their taxis.

August 18, 2016
Constitutional Q&A: So You Think You Can Write-In Your Vote? The Options and Limitations of Write-In Voting

With election day fast approaching, voters will be making decisions that will affect each of the branches of government in important and lasting ways. For many voters, the task is made all the more difficult because of dissatisfaction over the candidate choices they have been offered by the major parties. Citizens wishing to express their objections to the candidates named on the ballot may seek to vote “outside the box” by writing in the name of a person not listed on the ballot, the so-called “write-in” vote.

August 03, 2016
Motion for Reconsideration in Burruss v. Riley, et al.

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal court not to grant immunity from wrongdoing to Virginia police whose so-called “welfare check” on a 58-year-old man resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck and a 72-hour mental health hold.

June 27, 2016
Justice for Childhood Sexual Abuse Victims: House Bill 1947

Having been at the forefront of the evolving national debate over civil liberties, government transparency and accountability, and how to navigate the fine line between legislating justice and abiding by the rule of law, The Rutherford Institute offered the following legal opinion on the constitutional question pending before the Pennsylvania legislature regarding House Bill 1947 as amended: whether the revival of a claim subject to a lapsed civil statute of limitations would be constitutional. If adopted, House Bill 1947 would allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice and would assist in removing known predators from positions where they continue to have access to unsuspecting children.

June 21, 2016
Supreme Court: Utah v. Strieff

In a 5-3 ruling in Utah v. Strieff, the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for police to stop, arrest and search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

June 08, 2016
Revenge Porn: Read TRI's Letter to the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Weighing in on a controversial “revenge porn” bill before the Rhode Island General Assembly, The Rutherford Institute has joined with other civil liberties groups in warning legislators that the proposed law, H-7537, is so overly broad and vague that it could do more harm than good by criminalizing legitimate First Amendment activities aimed at holding government officials accountable for wrongdoing.

June 02, 2016
Biometric Database: Read TRI's Comment to the DOJ

Warning against efforts by the FBI and Justice Department to acquire near-limitless power and control over biometric information collected on law-abiding individuals, millions of whom have never been accused of a crime, The Rutherford Institute has denounced an attempt to exempt the government’s massive biometric database from a federal law aimed at protecting Americans’ privacy.

April 05, 2016
Karns/Parker v. Shanahan: Court Documents

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are planning to appeal the dismissal of a First Amendment lawsuit involving two street preachers who were charged with trespass and obstruction of justice and arrested for allegedly refusing police orders to cease proselytizing at a Princeton train station.

March 18, 2016
Whistleblower Protection: Coalition Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee

In a letter to the ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the coalition pointed out that the Federal Bureau of Investigation Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (FBI WPEA) of 2015 (S. 2390) would, if enacted, upgrade one of the least effective whistleblower policies in the U.S. Code and ensure that the nation’s top law enforcement agency is held accountable to the rule of law. The letter asserts that the lack of protections for whistleblowers within the FBI has imposed a culture of forced silence within the agency resulting in a continuous use of inaccurate lab results in federal prosecution, participation in mass surveillance of citizens, and other law enforcement failures and abuses.

March 09, 2016
The Rutherford Institute’s Public Meetings Guidelines

Warning that representative government works best when the government’s actions are fully disclosed and citizens are allowed to speak honestly and openly to their elected representatives and other citizens without fear of retribution, The Rutherford Institute has issued guidelines for local boards, commissions and councils to consider and follow in order to best assure that the fundamental First Amendment rights of citizens are respected.

February 24, 2016
Letter to the Virginia General Assembly (RE: Senate Bill No. 552)

Sounding a warning over proposed legislation that would bar the public from learning the identity of persons employed as law enforcement officers, The Rutherford Institute is cautioning the Virginia General Assembly against taking an unprecedented and unjustified step toward the creation of unaccountable secret police forces. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill No. 552, would classify the names of all police officers as “personnel records,” and exempt them from mandatory disclosure under Virginia’s freedom of information law.

February 18, 2016
Rutherford Institute's appeal brief in Wikipedia et al. v. National Security Agency

The Rutherford Institute and a coalition of educational, legal, human rights and media organizations, including the ACLU, Wikipedia, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, have asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a lawsuit challenging the government’s mass surveillance programs.

February 10, 2016
The Sixth Circuit’s ruling in United States v. Rocky Joe Houston

In a ruling handed down in United States v. Rocky Joe Houston, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that police can spy on Americans’ front doors for ten weeks without a warrant using a camera mounted to a public utility pole. In rebutting the concern that such surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against warrantless searches, Circuit Judge John M. Rogers noted, “Although this ten-week surveillance was conducted without a warrant, the use of the pole camera did not violate Houston’s reasonable expectations of privacy because the camera recorded the same view of the farm as that enjoyed by passersby on public roads…the Fourth Amendment does not punish law enforcement for using technology to more efficiently conduct their investigations.”

January 06, 2016
The Rutherford Institute’s petition for a writ of certiorari in Hodge v. Talkin

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare its own ban on expressive First Amendment activity on the Supreme Court plaza unconstitutional. In asking the Court to hear the case of Hodge v. Talkin, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s decision to uphold a 60-year-old federal statute criminalizing expressive First Amendment activity on the Supreme Court plaza conflicts with the high court’s own rulings regarding expressive activity in public elsewhere.

December 08, 2015
The Rutherford Institute's complaint in Dantzler v. Hindman and Westbrook

The Rutherford Institute has filed a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against Texas police officers who, after being denied entry to a private home without a warrant, arrested the homeowner, placed him in handcuffs, threw him to the ground for refusing to allow police to search his home, and then carried out a warrantless raid on his rural home.

December 02, 2015
The Twelve Rules of Christmas

(Compiled by attorneys for The Rutherford Institute)  Over the years, The Rutherford Institute has been contacted by parents and teachers alike concerned about scho...

November 19, 2015
The Rutherford Institute’s complaint in Burruss v. Riley, et al.

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have sued Virginia police and other government officials after a request to carry out a “welfare check” on a 58-year-old man resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck, a wrongful arrest, and a 72-hour mental health hold. According to the complaint, police acknowledged that they had no legal basis nor probable cause for detaining Virginia resident Benjamin Burruss, who was preparing to depart on a camping/hunting trip to Montana, given that he had not threatened to harm anyone and was not mentally ill.

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