CCJ In the News
July 25, 2014 – 2nd Amendment Victory
Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida – 2nd Amendment protections passed by the state of Florida
CCJ had a big win in Florida. The case was Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida. We represented Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence in defense of Florida’s 2011 law prohibiting doctors from asking patients about whether they owned firearms in the home, unless there was a medical reason for the inquiry. The American Medical Association and other gun-control groups have sought to infringe on 2nd Amendment rights while hiding behind supposedly "neutral" medical and "mental health" questioning.
We challenged the lower court ruling that the law was unconstitutionally vague and violated the First Amendment rights of doctors. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed on July 25, upholding the law on grounds that we had argued in our brief. Kudos to Tom Caso, who was lead attorney on the case (which we affectionally called “Docs for Glocks!”), Chapman law student Jessica Ngyuen, and our client at Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, Tim Wheeler, for this important victory.
Read our brief for Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida.
Important Cases from the Last Week of the Supreme Court's Term – June, 2014
Hobby Lobby – Health and Human Services' contraception requirement
The question before the court was whether the Department of Health and Human Services could use the power of the state to violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of business owners by forcing them to provide (and pay for) abortifacient birth control in the health plans of their employees. We argued that this was a violation of the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion.
In the Founders' eyes, free exercise of religion prohibits the government from forcing you to violate your religious beliefs so long as they don't threaten public peace. Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion didn't go that far, but it was a step in the right direction. The court ruled that the government’s actions violated the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, especially its statutory language protecting free exercise of religion.
Read our brief for Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
Harris v. Quinn – compulsory unionization for home health care workers
The majority opinion in Harris v. Quinn—like the Hobby Lobby decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito—instructed the state of Illinois that it could not classify family members taking care of elderly relatives at home as de facto members of the SEIU and force them to pay public-employee union dues. This is an important 1st Amendment free speech ruling, because as we all know, those public-employee union dues often substantially contribute to all manner of political activity with which many of the coerced union members would disagree.
We urged the Court to overturn its prior bad precedent on this question of forced union dues, and while Justice Alito didn’t quite get us there in his majority opinion, he provided vindication of the rights of the home health care workers in Illinois, and laid the groundwork for overturning this doctrine once and for all in the coming years.
Read our brief for Harris v. Quinn.
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action – affirmative action in Michigan
We filed an amicus brief supporting the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative which outlawed racial discrimination and preferences in public education and employment. A federal court had struck down the law on the theory that the ban on racial preferences was itself unlawful discrimination because it made it more difficult for racial minorities to pass laws authorizing preferences.
The Supreme Court issued its ruling in April, reversing the lower court's ruling that banning racial preferences was unconstitutional.
Read our brief for Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.