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December 15, 2015
It's Bill of Rights Day. Do You Know Where Your Freedoms Are?

The Bill of Rights officially became part of the U.S. Constitution on December 15, 1791. Unfortunately, more than 200 years later, the freedoms enshrined in those first ten amendments are in dire jeopardy. Those responsible for its demise are none other than the schools, which have failed to educate students about its principles; the courts, which have failed to uphold the rights enshrined within it; the politicians, who long ago sold out to corporations and special interests; and “we the people” who, in our ignorance and greed, have valued materialism over freedom.

December 08, 2015
Rutherford Institute Sues Texas Police Over Warrantless Raid, Search & Arrest of Homeowner Who Refused Entry to Police Without a Warrant

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 04, 2015
John W. Whitehead Named '2015 Citizen of the Year' by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson Chapter

Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, has been named the “2015 Citizen of the Year” by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson Chapter, in recognition of his patriotic achievement and service. Upon being presented with the Outstanding Citizenship Award at a private ceremony in Charlottesville, Va., Whitehead reminded listeners that the battle for freedom is not yet over. “Too often,” says Whitehead, “we forget that America began with a revolution. America was born out of the sheer grit and determination of a rebellious group of colonists. These freedom fighters stood their ground. They knew they had rights. And when those rights were systematically violated, they resisted.”

December 02, 2015
Reiterating Need for Common Sense About Christmas, Rutherford Institute Issues Guidelines for Celebrating Christmas in Public, at School or Work

Responding to a recent spate of cancellations of Christmas celebrations, concerts, parades and displays, The Rutherford Institute has issued its “Twelve Rules of Christmas” guidelines in the hopes of clearing up any confusion arising from political correctness over the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Christmas in schools, workplaces and elsewhere. Over the years, The Rutherford Institute has been contacted by parents and teachers alike complaining about schools changing their Christmas concerts to “winter holiday programs” and renaming Christmas “winter festival” or cancelling holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays.

November 21, 2015
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November 19, 2015
Rutherford Institute Sues Virginia Police for Carrying out a 'Welfare Check' with a 2-Hour, SWAT Team-Style Raid, Flash Grenade, Wrongful Arrest & Detention

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.

November 17, 2015
U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case of Marine Brandon Raub Who Was Arrested & Locked up in a Mental Hospital for Criticizing the Gov't on Facebook

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of decorated Marine Brandon Raub, who was seized by a swarm of Secret Service, FBI and local police officials and involuntarily committed to a mental institution for a week after posting controversial song lyrics and political views critical of the government on his Facebook page.

November 11, 2015
Rutherford Responds: City Officials, Police Ask Federal Court to Dismiss First Amendment Lawsuit Over Violation of Street Preachers’ Free Speech Rights

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal court to reject an attempt by the City of Hampton and three of its police officers to have a First Amendment lawsuit against them dismissed. Rutherford Institute attorneys sued government officials after police officers cited, convicted and arrested two street preachers for using voice amplifiers to share their message amidst crowds gathered for the City’s Hampton Bay Days. Although the ordinance banning the use of amplifiers (which the lawsuit challenged as unconstitutional) has since been repealed, Institute attorneys point out that the city has yet to rectify its wrongful arrest of the street preachers.

November 06, 2015
'Government Cannot Discriminate Against Offensive Speech': Rutherford Institute Argues for First Amendment Protection for Redskins' Name

The Rutherford Institute has asked a federal appeals court to reject a lower court ruling that confers sweeping power on the government to police private ideas and equates a trademark registration with a form of government-sanctioned speech. Weighing in before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, et al., attorneys for The Rutherford Institute and The Cato Institute argue that a district court order allowing the government to cancel the federal trademark registration of the NFL Redskins and refuse registration to other applications it deems “offensive” constitutes blatant content and viewpoint discrimination and imposes a “hecklers veto” on speech that violates the First Amendment’s protection of even unpopular speech.

November 05, 2015
Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Reconsider Decision Upholding 60-Year-Old Ban on Expressive Activity on U.S. Supreme Court Plaza

A federal appeals court has summarily rejected a request that it reconsider its ruling that a 60-year old federal statute criminalizing expressive First Amendment activity on the Supreme Court plaza is “reasonable” and does not violate the First Amendment, setting up an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

October 29, 2015
Rutherford Institute Challenges Virginia Over Its Cancellation, Revocation and Recall of License Plates Displaying the Confederate Flag

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a petition with a Virginia Circuit Court challenging an order of the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) cancelling, revoking and/or demanding the return of specialty commemorative license plates issued to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) bearing the Confederate battle flag on the grounds that such a recall is unauthorized by Virginia law and beyond the power of the DMV.

October 27, 2015
Upholding System of Secret Surveillance, Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by The Rutherford Institute, Wikipedia, ACLU Et Al. Over the NSA's Spying Program

Despite extensive evidence that the government is systematically copying and substantially reviewing all international text-based communications, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the government’s mass surveillance programs brought by The Rutherford Institute, the ACLU, Wikipedia, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and other educational, legal, human rights and media organizations.

October 23, 2015
Victory: Appeals Court Orders Transportation Security Administration to Set Regulations on Use of Whole Body Scanners at Airports

A federal appeals court has ordered the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to move forward with establishing rules and regulations governing the use of whole body scanners, which have been likened to virtual strip searches, in the nation’s airports. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by The Rutherford Institute, along with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), asking the court to compel the TSA to issue formal rules regulating the use of Whole Body Imagers (WBI) and subject those standards to public examination and judicial review. 

October 22, 2015
Victory: Court Gives Green Light to Lawsuit over Activist Held at Gun Point by Police, Handcuffed and Arrested for Lawfully Carrying a Rifle During a Protest

A federal court has rejected an attempt by a Virginia police officer to dismiss a lawsuit filed by The Rutherford Institute on behalf of a man who was arrested as he was engaged in a First Amendment protest against President Obama while lawfully carrying a rifle. The order entered in Brandon Howard v. John Hunter, allows the lawsuit to move forward in which Rutherford Institute attorneys assert that the police violated Howard’s First Amendment right to free speech, Second Amendment right to bear arms, and Fourth Amendment right to be free from a groundless arrest when they confronted him with guns drawn and ordered him to the ground on the unfounded belief that Howard was violating the law by being in public with a rifle slung over his shoulder, when in fact his possession and display of the rifle was wholly legal and did not make him subject to an arrest.  Soon after the incident, the City of Hopewell Police Department has admitted in writing that the incident involved a violation of department policy.

October 19, 2015
Rutherford Institute Asks Appeals Court to Reconsider Its Decision to Uphold 60-Year-Old Ban on Expressive Activity on U.S. Supreme Court Plaza

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling that a 60-year old federal statute criminalizing expressive First Amendment activity on the Supreme Court plaza is “reasonable” and does not violate the First Amendment.

October 06, 2015
Rutherford Institute Urges Alabama Sheriff's Office to Resume Lawful Display of 'Blessed Are the Peacemakers' Decals on Police Vehicles, Offers Assistance

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are urging the Houston County Sheriff’s Office to reconsider its decision to remove “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” decals from police department vehicles. Sheriff Valenza removed the decals after being threatened with lawsuits and accused of violating the Establishment Clause’s so-called “separation of church and state.”

September 25, 2015
Virginia Police Insist That Activist Was Not Under Arrest Even Though He Was Held at Gun Point by Police, Handcuffed and Taken to the Police Station

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are rebutting an attempt by a Virginia police officer to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who was arrested as he was engaged in a First Amendment protest against President Obama while lawfully carrying a rifle. Rutherford Institute attorneys are also challenging an assertion by police that Brandon Howard was not actually under arrest, even though he was detained by police at gun point, handcuffed against his will and transported against his will to a local police station.

September 18, 2015
Rutherford Institute Calls on President Obama to Restore Whistleblower Protections for Intelligence Community Contractors Such as Edward Snowden

The Rutherford Institute, as part of a coalition of 45 national and international organizations that includes the ACLU, Government Accountability Project, Human Rights Watch and the Sunlight Foundation, is calling on President Obama to restore whistleblower protections for intelligence community (IC) contractors such as Edward Snowden.

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