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June 14, 2018

In a decisive 7-2 ruling in favor of the First Amendment’s guarantee to freedom of speech, the United States Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutionally vague a Minnesota law that bans political speech on any “badge, button, shirt, or hat” worn at election polling stations.

June 11, 2018

Citing the need to address and resolve concerns about Maryland State Police internal controls, improper influences and faulty police practices in connection with a fatal car crash, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked Maryland officials to launch an independent  review of the circumstances surrounding the crash.

June 01, 2018

In refusing to hear the First Amendment case of a Christian prisoner who was denied access to a legible Bible while in solitary confinement, the U.S. Supreme Court has paved the way for government officials to restrict religious activities that are not deemed to be “mandatory” religious practices.

May 29, 2018

Refusing to grant law enforcement yet another loophole to encroach on the rights of citizens to privacy in their homes, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police may not intrude on private property in order to carry out a warrantless search of a vehicle parked near a residence.

May 23, 2018

Denouncing senseless overregulation, especially as it relates to occupational licensing laws, The Rutherford Institute is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Missouri law requiring individuals to secure a costly license in order to braid hair.

May 18, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two Fourth Amendment rulings this week that impact privacy rights. In the first case, Byrd v. United States, a unanimous Court ruled that drivers of rental cars—whether or not they are explicitly named in the rental agreement—are generally entitled to the same reasonable expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment as the individual listed in the rental agreement.

May 16, 2018

The Rutherford Institute has filed a lawsuit demanding that government officials allow a physician to examine and provide medical care for a pipeline protester who is being deprived of food and water in an effort to force her to end her “tree sitting” protest against the construction of a natural gas pipeline through the National Forest.

May 03, 2018

In its latest “Constitutional Q&A,” The Rutherford Institute tackles the troubling use of excessive force by police who have shot and killed Americans of all ages, many of them unarmed, for standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has very little to do with an actual threat to their safety. 

April 26, 2018

The Virginia Supreme Court has delivered a blow to the police’s use of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) to surveil citizens and track drivers’ movements. The Rutherford Institute filed an amicus brief in Neal v. Fairfax County Police Department, a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Virginia, challenging the police practice of collecting and storing ALPR data as a violation of Virginia law that prohibits the government from amassing personal information about individuals, including their driving habits and location.

April 12, 2018

Condemning draconian zero tolerance school policies bereft of common sense, The Rutherford Institute is demanding that a North Carolina school district rescind the suspension of a middle school student for drawing a sword-wielding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and other fanciful stick figures. In coming to the defense of a 13-year-old student at Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School who was suspended for two days for doodling stick-figure drawings that included a Ninja Turtle holding swords in each hand, another stick figure aiming a rifle, a souped-up car, a magician, and a tower with a bow and arrow, Rutherford Institute attorneys assert that the punishment infringes on the student’s First Amendment right of expression, is excessive and is contrary to district policies guaranteeing children a right to an education.

March 23, 2018

Urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that deem only “mandatory” religious practices as worthy of First Amendment accommodations, thereby rendering many common religious practices such as reading a Bible unprotected, The Rutherford Institute has asked the Court to ensure that prisoners are afforded the fundamental protections they are entitled to under the U.S. Constitution.

March 15, 2018

Events of the past year have generated a nearly unprecedented level of public debate over the protections and limits of the First Amendment right of free speech. On March 21, 2018, two of the nation’s foremost civil liberties attorneys, John W. Whitehead (president of The Rutherford Institute) and Nadine Strossen (former head of the ACLU) will discuss and debate the unique tensions surrounding First Amendment activities in the current national and political climate, especially as they relate to free speech, freedom of the press, the right to petition/protest, and the freedom of assembly, hate speech laws, laws limiting protest activities nationwide, and the role of government leaders in cultivating an environment in which free speech is valued and protected.

March 12, 2018

The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of an FBI agent and military veteran who was fired for blowing the whistle on misconduct within the FBI.

February 22, 2018

In response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates held in “dehumanizing” conditions of isolation, a federal court has found that the conditions on Virginia’s death row violated the constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

February 19, 2018

Insisting that retailers have a First Amendment right not to be forced to speak for the government, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court urging the Court to strike down an ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to tell consumers that cell phones are dangerous.

January 26, 2018

Warning that attempts by the political establishment to blacklist groups espousing unpopular ideas will endanger and undermine legitimate First Amendment activities across the political spectrum, The Rutherford Institute is calling on the Virginia General Assembly to denounce House Bill No. 1601.

January 24, 2018

Police have agreed to favorably settle a Fourth Amendment lawsuit brought by The Rutherford Institute over a warrantless raid, search, and arrest of a Texas homeowner based on unreliable information from an anonymous source.

January 12, 2018

Challenging a Minnesota law that bans political speech on any “badge, button, shirt, or hat” worn at election polling stations, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute, Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and The Individual Rights Foundation have asked the United States Supreme Court to declare that the clothing ban violates the First Amendment’s guarantee to freedom of speech.