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April 15, 2021

In a 5-3 decision in Torres v. Madrid, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a police shooting, even without an immediate arrest, constitutes a seizure that can be challenged as a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions against the use of excessive force during an arrest. The case arose after Roxanne Torres, mistaking officers who approached her car with guns drawn for carjackers, fled from police only to be pursued and shot twice in the back. 

April 08, 2021

Warning against attempts by public school officials to expand their disastrous zero tolerance policies to encompass so-called ‘violations’ that take place in students’ homes and home environments, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a 14-year-old cheerleader who was suspended for expressing adolescent angst on Snapchat about not making the varsity cheer squad or softball team.

April 01, 2021

Defying clearly established First Amendment jurisprudence that protects the right to record police in public without fear of retaliation, a federal appeals court has given police the green light to intimidate and threaten individuals who record police brutality and misconduct. In dismissing a lawsuit by a man who was detained and questioned by police and threatened with arrest after recording police violently punching and head-slamming a suspect, a panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Frasier v. Evans that police are protected by qualified immunity.

March 26, 2021

The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to re-consider mandatory life sentences for young adults suffering from mental and emotional trauma which, when combined with their youth and emotional immaturity, may have contributed to their criminal offenses.

March 24, 2021

The Rutherford Institute is demanding that the State of Delaware cease enforcing its “evict first, ask questions later” policy after police mistakenly evicted a disabled man and his family during a snowstorm and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite state and federal moratoria on evictions.

March 22, 2021

Coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 outbreak, The Rutherford Institute has issued an in-depth report on the impact of the nation’s response to the pandemic on civil liberties. The report, “Civil Liberties in the Age of COVID-19,” analyzes the various tactics employed by federal and state governments to lock down the nation, the toll such restrictions have taken on constitutional rights, and whether such actions constituted an overreach of the government’s legal authority.

March 08, 2021

In a victory for the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski that a college student cited by campus police for “disorderly conduct” for speaking about his Christian faith and distributing religious literature on campus can sue officials for violating his free speech rights.

March 04, 2021

As part of a broader push for criminal justice reform, a wide-ranging coalition of civil liberties and public policy groups, as well as a bipartisan group of senators, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to ensure that individuals subjected to discriminatory drug laws that disproportionately, by a 100-1 ratio, deliver harsher prison sentences to African-Americans for low-level offenses can have their sentences reconsidered in a fairer light. 

February 22, 2021

In a case that tests the limits of digital privacy and the Fifth Amendment, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block an attempt by the government to force Americans to allow police carte blanche access to the contents of their cell phones and electronic devices by disclosing their pass codes.

February 12, 2021

In a victory for religious freedom, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Dunn v. Smith, affirming the right of a death row inmate to have a spiritual advisor present during his execution.

February 09, 2021

At a time when individuals who question COVID-19 protocols are finding themselves increasingly silenced or censored on social media and elsewhere, The Rutherford Institute has issued a strong warning to government officials that the First Amendment prohibits them from censoring individuals who take part in legislative public comment sessions based on the content of their speech. 

February 04, 2021

Citing the need to rein in the surveillance state, The Rutherford Institute is calling on the Maryland General Assembly to broadly forbid the police from carrying out persistent, citywide aerial surveillance on the citizenry except in specific, constitutionally prescribed circumstances.

January 29, 2021

In an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court in Caniglia v. Strom, The Rutherford Institute has issued a warning over police attempting to carry out warrantless home invasions in order to seize lawfully-owned guns under the pretext of their so-called “community caretaking” duties.

January 21, 2021

Denouncing a politically correct “cancel culture” that punishes anyone who voices opinions that challenge prevailing views, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a firefighter who was fired for condemning the vandalism of a public monument on social media. 

January 15, 2021

In an amicus brief filed in Birt v. United States, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to ensure that individuals subjected to discriminatory drug laws that disproportionately, by a 100-1 ratio, deliver harsher prison sentences to African-Americans can have their sentences reconsidered in a fairer light. 

January 08, 2021

Coming to the defense of a military cadet raped while enrolled at West Point Military Academy, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the right of military servicemembers to sue the government over injuries suffered as a result of government negligence in an amicus brief filed in Jane Doe v. United States.

December 30, 2020

Pushing back against efforts to dismantle the constitutional right to be secure in one’s home from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents, The Rutherford Institute is challenging an attempt by police to justify carrying out a warrantless home invasion of a man who honked his horn several times and had his music turned up while driving. 

December 17, 2020

In an 8-0 ruling in Tanzin v. Tanvir that affirms the right of religious individuals to not be persecuted for their faith, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of three men who were allegedly placed on a “no fly” list as retaliation for refusing to act as FBI informants within their religious communities.

December 10, 2020

The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the government from meddling in church affairs. In weighing in before the Court in Episcopal Church v. The Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth, Rutherford Institute attorneys warn against a trend in which state courts have attempted to second-guess church decisions on inherently religious matters by relying on so-called “neutral principles.”

December 02, 2020

Pushing back against efforts to extend the government’s spying powers, The Rutherford Institute has asked a federal appeals court to end Baltimore’s use of aerial surveillance to continuously track and monitor the activities of citizens throughout the city.

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