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    Today at the Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act

    This morning, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Windsor, a constitutional challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as the union of a man and woman for purposes of federal benefits. In this case, the issue was an estate tax bill faced … More

    Is the Government Reading Your E-Mail?

    Should the contents of your e-mail messages be protected from unwarranted law enforcement scrutiny to the same extent as your physical letters sent through the mail? To ask the question makes the answer seem obvious. E-mail is today’s postal service and the personal contents of your e-mail messages are as … More

    Supreme Court Strikes a Blow to State Court Bias

    In a unanimous opinion yesterday by Justice Stephen Breyer in Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, the Supreme Court concluded that plaintiffs’ attorneys can’t evade federal law on class action lawsuits through a self-serving stipulation designed to keep a case in state court and out of the federal system. Like … More

    No Joke: Man Jailed for Laughing in Own Home

    A Long Island man is facing 30 days in jail for laughing in his own home, according to The Huffington Post. Forty-two-year-old Robert Schiavelli, who suffers from a mental disability, was cited twice for “disturbing the peace” due to his loud laughter. What was he laughing at? Allegedly, Schiavelli’s neighbor … More

    Racially Charged Attacks Against Justice Scalia Unfounded

    The inflammatory attacks on Justice Antonin Scalia after the oral arguments in the Supreme Court in the Shelby County case last week show the desperation of the supporters of the “racial entitlement” that is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Those attacks, and some of the disgusting political cartoons … More

    Gideon v. Wainwright: Celebrating 50 Years of Constitutional Protection

    Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that has played a fundamental role in protecting constitutional rights of those accused of crimes. In Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court held that under the Sixth Amendment there is a right to counsel in all felony criminal cases, and … More

    Send in the Lawyers: The House Passes the Senate’s Violence Against Women Act

    Yesterday the House gave up any effort to pass its own version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and accepted the Senate bill, which now goes to the President for his signature. In so doing the House decided not to revise the Senate provision expanding Indian tribal court jurisdiction … More

    Man Arrested for Releasing Heart-Shaped Balloons in Romantic Gesture

    Anthony Brasfield, a 40-year-old Florida man, was arrested Sunday for releasing a dozen heart-shaped helium balloons into the air in what was to be a romantic gesture for his girlfriend, according to SunSentinel.com. Brasfield was charged with polluting to harm humans, animals, and plants under the Florida Air and Water … More

    Morning Bell: Voting Rights at the Supreme Court Today

    To understand what’s going on in the Supreme Court today, we have to go back in time. The year was 1965. Hundreds of people gathered in Selma, Alabama, to march for black Americans’ right to vote. Some states, especially in the South, had set up obstacles to voting, such as … More

    "Violence Against Women" Act: House Bill Better but Still Flawed

    The House has proposed its own reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It is an improvement over the Senate bill, but it, too, suffers from constitutional problems. As discussed in a previous Heritage posting and in a recent law review article, if enacted into law, the Senate VAWA … More