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October 03, 2022

The Rutherford Institute has issued a public comment opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed rule on “Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities,” which seeks to force healthcare workers to provide abortion and gender transition services, among other things. Institute attorneys warn that any attempt by the government to compel healthcare workers to provide services against their professional judgement, religious convictions, and conscience is unconstitutional.

September 27, 2022

In a First Amendment victory for political free speech, a state circuit court has overturned fines totaling $3000 against two protesters for displaying “F@#k Biden” and other political signs in violation of a Florida city’s ban on “indecent” speech, which the court found to be unconstitutional. 

September 23, 2022

Warning that misguided school zero-tolerance policies can have disastrous ramifications for students’ future academic prospects, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a North Carolina student who was denied admission to a charter school based on an improper and unlawful suspension in his records arising from an incident two years earlier.The incident arose in 2020 after the sixth grader was suspended from school and reported to police for possessing a look-alike weapon and making a threat after he briefly displayed a toy gun during a virtual Zoom class as part of a Halloween game when instructed by his teacher to look “scary.” Although school officials subsequently agreed to remove the unlawful suspension from the student’s record, they shared details of the incident two years later with a charter school to which the child was admitted. In once again coming to the student’s defense, Rutherford Institute attorneys warned that negligently distributing false information which causes harm to a student’s standing and reputation could constitute defamation.

August 27, 2022

Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead will be one of the lead speakers at a national conference on the dangers of the American police state. The “Anatomy of a Police State” conference, sponsored by the Ron Paul Institute, will feature a broad array of speakers, including former presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul and retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor.

August 25, 2022

The Rutherford Institute has called on the U.S. Supreme Court to rein in the government’s power to indiscriminately pick and choose the laws by which it will abide, especially as it relates to the rights of the accused in criminal cases. Weighing in before the Supreme Court in two cases, Khorrami v. Arizona and Smith v. United States, Rutherford Institute attorneys are challenging government efforts to undermine longstanding Sixth Amendment rights: namely, the right to have a trial by an impartial jury of twelve fellow citizens and to be tried in the district where the alleged crime was committed.

August 05, 2022

The Rutherford Institute is challenging an attempt by Texas officials to muzzle political viewpoints expressed in the form of boycotts and protests. Texas' anti-boycott law prohibits the government from doing business with companies that boycott or criticize Israel. Approximately 33 states have adopted laws that seek to punish those who criticize Israel by denying them government contracts.

July 28, 2022

A case before the U.S. Supreme Court throws into stark relief the racial bias, prosecutorial misconduct and systemic injustice at the core of Texas’ death penalty system. The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to allow DNA testing of evidence in Reed v. Goertz, a murder case that could exonerate a black death row inmate while implicating a white police officer for the murder of his own fiancé. In agreeing to hear the case, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide when prisoners can pursue post-conviction claims for DNA testing of crime scene evidence.

July 14, 2022

In the midst of politically polarizing rulings on abortion, gun rights and religion, the U.S. Supreme Court closed out its 2021-22 term with a handful of disparate rulings that served to further shield federal officials and police against lawsuits arising out of their misconduct, incompetence and brutality, undermine longstanding remedies for Miranda violations, and allow a death row inmate to seek death by a firing squad as an alternative form of execution.

July 07, 2022

By a 6-3 decision in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York law which allowed government officials to pick and choose which class of citizens were deemed worthy of self-protection. Affirming that the Second Amendment “right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not a second-class right,” the Court ruled that individuals do not have to demonstrate some special need to the government for approval before exercising any other constitutional rights.

June 27, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects a public high school coach’s right to kneel and silently pray on the school’s football field after a game. The 6-3 ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District comes more than a decade after The Rutherford Institute first asked the Court to safeguard the right of another high school football coach, Marcus Borden, to bow his head and take a knee during a student-led prayer.

June 10, 2022

Despite a lack of direct evidence that a suspect was engaged in ongoing illegal activities, a court sentenced the man to five years in prison based in part on the frequency of his visits to a barbershop where drugs were being sold. Weighing in before the U.S. Supreme Court in Tucker v. U.S., The Rutherford Institute warns that convictions based on government conspiracy theories and speculative calculations rather than clear-cut proof will render every American a criminal who has the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

June 03, 2022

The City of Houston has recently adopted an ordinance that requires private businesses to purchase and install digital surveillance cameras that carry out round-the-clock, citywide surveillance on the populace while “allowing” police to access the footage at any time, for any reason, and without the need of a court-issued warrant.

May 16, 2022

The Rutherford Institute is challenging attempts by a Texas school district to prohibit its employees from publicly criticizing the school or its policies. In a letter to officials at the Carroll Independent School District, Rutherford Institute attorneys warn that the non-disparagement clause included in the District’s employment contracts, which requires employees to “agree to not disparage, criticize, or defame the District, and its employees or officials, to the media,” constitutes a restriction on speech in violation of the First Amendment that would likely not hold up in court.

May 02, 2022

In a unanimous ruling in Harold Shurtleff v. City of Boston, the U.S. Supreme Court has concluded that the City of Boston violated the First Amendment when it refused to fly a Christian flag on a city flagpole while allowing other flags. 

April 25, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling in Hammond v. U.S. that allows police to warrantlessly track people’s location and movements through their personal cell phones, despite longstanding Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions against warrantless searches and seizures and growing concerns about the government’s massive surveillance networks.

April 22, 2022

A bill passed by the Tennessee legislature to deter homelessness could put all citizens at risk of jail, police searches and a $3,000 fine for sleeping or camping outside in a public place. In providing a legal analysis of the bill’s shortcomings, The Rutherford Institute warns that the General Assembly’s attempt to criminalize homelessness will only worsen the plight of the homeless while criminalizing activities enjoyed by the general populace and threatening their freedoms, and might not withstand constitutional scrutiny.

April 21, 2022

In a 6-3 ruling in Thompson v. Clark, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that individuals have a Fourth Amendment right to hold police accountable for maliciously instituting charges and arrests without probable cause.

March 31, 2022

The Rutherford Institute is challenging a Florida city’s ordinance which resulted in two protesters being fined $3000 for displaying political messages in violation of a city ordinance banning signs, clothing and other graphic displays containing words that the city deems “indecent.”

March 25, 2022

In the debate over when and how government officials should accommodate the spiritual requests of death row inmates when pitted against prison protocols, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a death row inmate’s request to have his pastor audibly pray and lay hands on him in the execution chamber.

March 24, 2022

Coinciding with the second anniversary of the COVID-19 outbreak, The Rutherford Institute has issued an in-depth, follow-up report on the impact of the nation’s response to the pandemic on civil liberties. The 2022 report, “The Right to Be Let Alone: How to Safeguard Your Freedoms in the Face of the Government’s COVID-19 Power Grabs,” posits that the government’s response to the pandemic has become a massively intrusive, coercive and authoritarian assault on the right of individual sovereignty over one’s life, self and private property.

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