FedSoc Blog

Federal Judge in Florida Strikes Down Individual Mandate

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 31, 2011, 3:21 PM

A second federal judge struck down a provision of President Obama's health-care law requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance today, reports the New York Times.

Judge Roger Vinson in Florida federal district court ruled that the individual mandate provision went beyond Congress' power under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and that this provision was not severable, meaning that the entire health-care law would be struck down if his decision is upheld.

This ruling brings the count of federal district court decisions on the individual mandate to two decisions invalidating the law and two decisions upholding it.

From the decision:

It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.

...

In sum, notwithstanding the fact that many of the provisions in the Act can stand independently without the individual mandate (as a technical and practical matter), it is reasonably “evident,” as I have discussed above, that the individual mandate was an essential and indispensable part of the health reform efforts, and that Congress did not believe other parts of the Act could (or it would want them to) survive independently.

Click here to read the full decision.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

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New Podcast: Terror Trials and Executive Power

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by The Federalist Society's International & National Security Law Practice Group
Posted January 28, 2011, 2:14 PM

Listen to the audio here.

To what extent may the U.S. Congress, using its power of the purse, determine in which courts war terror detainees must be tried?  Is the decision solely that of the President as a core executive power?  Or does Congress have a measure of control, using its appropriations authority, to prohibit expenditure of funds for certain trials?

Mr. Andrew C. McCarthy from the National Review Institute and Mr. David B. Rivkin Jr. from Baker & Hostetler LLP discuss these questions and more in this podcast. Click above to listen.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

New Podcast: Predator Drones and Targeted Killings

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by The Federalist Society's International & National Security Law Practice Group
Posted January 27, 2011, 5:02 PM

Listen to the audio here.

In this Practice Groups Podcast, Professor Michael W. Lewis of Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law and ACLU National Security Project Litigation Director Ben Wizner discuss the legal limits and policy considerations of unmanned aerial vehicles in the War on Terror. Click above to listen!

Click here to view this article on the source site »

Gun Rights Group Will Challenge Ruling on Guns in Church

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by The Federalist Society's Religious Liberties Practice Group
Posted January 27, 2011, 3:18 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that GeorgiaCarry.org will appeal a federal judge's dismissal of its suit challenging a state law banning weapons in churches, mosques, and synagogues to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

District Judge Ashley Royal ruled Monday that a law banning guns among places of worship did not violate the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion or Second Amendment right to bear arms. He dismissed the plaintiffs' argument that their religious beliefs required them to carry a firearm in church.

The petitioners to the Eleventh Circuit, on the other hand, argue that their right to practice their beliefs is "impermissibly burdened" by the law because they feel the need to be armed in order to protect themselves but fear being arrested for bringing their weapons to worship services.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

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New Video: The FTC and the Internet

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by The Federalist Society's New York City Lawyers Chapter
Posted January 26, 2011, 2:12 PM

On January 18, The Federalist Society's New York City Lawyers Chapter hosted an event with Prof. Richard Epstein and Prof. Joshua D. Wright at the Cornell Club on "The FTC and the Internet." Click above for the audio/video of the event.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

New SCOTUScast: Astra USA v. Santa Clara County

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 25, 2011, 4:06 PM

Listen to the audio here.

On January 19, 2011, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Astra USA v. Santa Clara County. A federal statute requires drug makers who participate in the Medicaid program to enter into contracts with the federal government that limit the prices that the companies can charge certain health care providers for their drugs. The question in this case is whether the health care providers can sue the drug makers for violating those price limitations - on the common law theory that the drug makers have violated their contract with the government and that the health care providers are third-party beneficiaries of that contract - even though the contract was required by statute and the statute does not authorize providers to sue drug makers for violations of the statute.

To discuss the case, we have Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, who is a partner in the Appellate Practice Group at King & Spalding.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

Categories: Multimedia, SCOTUScasts

Holder’s Justice Department Policies Criticized

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 25, 2011, 11:09 AM

There was a very strong attack on Attorney General Eric Holder in the Weekly Standard this week by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who, by way of full disclosure, is on the Federalist Society's Board of Visitors.

Mukasey calls Holder's conduct in many respects during his tenure as Attorney General "amazing." He criticizes the Attorney General's handling of the reinvestigation of CIA operatives who used enhanced interrogation techniques on Guantanamo detainees and the lawyers who wrote opinions authorizing some of these techniques.

He also attacks the Justice Department's failure to come up with a legal framework within which to try captured combatants and its handling of the voter intimidation cases against the New Black Panther party members in Philadelphia.

Click here to read the article by Jennifer Rubin.

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Georgia Public School District Keeps Graduations at Church Location

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by The Federalist Society's Religious Liberties Practice Group
Posted January 24, 2011, 6:21 PM

Brushing off a threat of litigation, the Cherokee County, Georgia public school district has voted to keep holding the district's public school graduation ceremonies in the 7,000 seat sanctuary of a local Baptist church.  The school board decided that the lack of alternative venues and the low fee charged by the church justified the continuation of the practice.

Click here to read the story.

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New SCOTUScast: Stern v. Marshall

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 24, 2011, 2:49 PM

Listen to the audio here.

On Jan. 18, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Stern v. Marshall. When a creditor files a claim in bankruptcy court, the debtor is sometimes required to file any counterclaim she may have or lose the right to assert that claim later or in another court. The question in this case is whether the bankruptcy judge can conclusively resolve such compulsory counterclaims. To discuss the case, we have Professor Todd J. Zywicki.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

Categories: Multimedia, SCOTUScasts

Ronald Rotunda on ABA Effort to Codify Caperton v. Massey

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by The Federalist Society's Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group
Posted January 24, 2011, 1:24 PM

Ronald Rotunda just published an article criticizing (as fruitless) the efforts of the ABA to codify Caperton v. A.T. Massey. That case held that due process required a judge to disqualify himself under certain conditions.

The reason the ABA efforts are fruitless, Rotunda argues, is because the Court majority did not really offer any test, and what it did say precludes the creation of any test. Rotunda, Trying to Codify Caperton, 42 McGeorge Law Review 95 (2010).

Click here to download it for free at SSRN.

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Federalist Society Debate on Individual Mandate Posted

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 21, 2011, 3:52 PM

The Federalist Society has posted a luncheon debate at its 13th Annual Faculty Conference between Prof. Randy E. Barnett of Georgetown University Law Center and Prof. Orin S. Kerr of The George Washington University Law School over the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Click above to watch.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

Deseret News Profile of Michael McConnell

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 19, 2011, 6:18 PM

Deseret News carried a profile Sunday of Michael W. McConnell, former judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and current professor at Stanford Law School, chronicling his life in academia and on the federal court. Click here to view the article.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

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Fifth Circuit Upholds University of Texas Admissions Policy

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 19, 2011, 3:38 PM

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the "race-conscious" admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin yesterday, as the panel concluded that the policy was permissible under the Supreme Court's 2003 decision dealing with the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action policy in Grutter v. Bollinger.

Judge Patrick E. Higgenbotham in his majority opinion attacked the argument of the petitioners, two white applicants who had been denied admission at the university, that the state's policy of admitting students in the top 10% of their high school classes was a viable alternative to the race-conscious policy, characterizing this alternative plan as a "blunt tool" that may not be constitutional.

Judge Emilio M. Garza wrote a separate opinion criticizing the Supreme Court's decision in Grutter:

I concur in the majority opinion because, despite my belief that Grutter represents a digression in the course of constitutional law, today's opinion is a faithful, if unfortunate, application of that misstep.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

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Fortune Piece on Chief Justice Roberts

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 19, 2011, 12:06 PM

Fortune has an interesting profile on Chief Justice John Roberts, his path to the Supreme Court, and his leadership of the institution since 2005. Click here to check it out.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

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Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal on D.C. Gay Marriage

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by The Federalist Society
Posted January 18, 2011, 2:43 PM

Robert Barnes writes in the Washington Post today that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from proponents of a referendum in Washington, D.C. that would allow voters in the District to decide whether to allow gay marriage. The D.C. Council voted to permit same-sex marriages in 2009.

The District's Board of Elections and Ethics decided that, if the ballot initiative succeeded, it would violate D.C.'s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

A local judge agreed with the Board, and the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld this decision by a five-to-four vote, concluding that the Board "correctly determined that the proposed initiative would have the effect of authorizing" discrimination under the Human Rights Act.

The ballot initiative's proponents argued that Congress, not the D.C. Council, had the power to set policy on ballot initiatives. However, it appears that the Supreme Court agreed with the city that it should defer to the city's court of appeals in matters of merely local significance.

Click here to view this article on the source site »

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