Elections & Politics Constitutional Law

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First of Two Constitutional Conventions on Millionaire Surtax Was a Doozy

It was one of the more fascinating events to occur at the State House in a long time, this joint session on Wednesday afternoon, May 18, of the House of Representatives and Senate, or constitutional convention as it’s called...more

U.S. States Expand Efforts to Collect Taxes from Out-of-State Businesses

Twenty-four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court announced in Quill v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), that in order for a U.S. state to require an out-of-state business to collect and remit sales and use taxes on its sales...more

SC Public Policy Update - May 2016 #2

What's New - SENATE - It was a short but busy week in the Senate as members worked through numerous bills remaining on the Senate calendar. The Senate gave third reading on Thursday to H. 5009, relating to the...more

District Court Rules One Aspect of ACA is Unconstitutional—No Change for Employers

You may have heard that a federal District Court ruled that the ACA was unconstitutional today. Do not start making any changes. This decision will not directly impact most employers and their health plans. We are sending...more

Misread Signs: U.S. Supreme Court Finds Employer’s Mistaken Belief about Employee Supports Retaliation Claim

Is it still retaliation if your boss fired you for something you didn’t actually do? In Heffernan v. City of Paterson, New Jersey, the U.S. Supreme Court said yes—your boss’s mistake does not get him off the hook for the...more

Quid Pro Quo and FCPA Enforcement

Yesterday on the podcast, the FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report, I posted the full oral argument from the Supreme Court in the case of McDonnell v. US (shout out to Web Hull for sending it to me), which is the appeal of the...more

Supreme Duplicity: The Fight to Fill Justice Scalia’s Seat

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has long been praised by Republicans as the model of judicial restraint, a proponent of strict adherence to the literal wording of the United States Constitution. Republican Speaker of...more

Demotion Based on Mistaken Belief Deprives Public Employee of Constitutional Rights

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Case Involving Political Campaigning Accusations - A government agency violated the constitutional rights of an employee who was demoted based on the mistaken belief that he violated the...more

A Day of Reckoning for the CFPB?

Virtually ever since its inception on July 21, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has inspired wariness and skepticism in the financial institutions and financial services providers, subject to this new...more

But I Didn’t Mean To! U.S. Supreme Court Says Employer Intentions Govern in First Amendment Retaliation Case

For government employers, disciplining and terminating employees can be especially difficult. Not only does the public employer face the same challenges in complying with the standard alphabet soup of employment laws that...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Ruling in Favor of CFPB against Lawyer in Mortgage Relief Scam, Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Director...

The Ninth Circuit recently considered arguments relating to an enforcement action brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) against a California attorney who was offering loan modification services. The CFPB...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Director Cordray's Recess Appointment as Defense to CFPB Enforcement Action; Dissenting Judge Disagrees

Since it was filed in a California federal court in July 2012, we have been following Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. Chance Edward Gordon, a case in which the CFPB alleged that an attorney duped consumers by...more

Public Employer May Not Retaliate Against Employee Based on Perception that He Engaged in Political Activity

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court held that a public employee could sue his employer for retaliation where the employer demoted him for engaging in constitutionally-protected political activity, even though the employer was...more

Supreme Court: Government Employer’s Incorrect Belief About Employee’s Activity Matters in First Amendment Analysis

A government employer can violate an employee’s constitutional rights by acting based on incorrect information that, if true, would violate the U.S. Constitution, even though the employee was not actually exercising his or...more

Supreme Court Update: Bank Markazi V. Peterson (14-770) And Heffernan V. City Of Paterson (14-1280)

After the deluge of cases last week, the Court took a breather and issued only one decision this week. However, eagle-eyed Update aficionados may remember that we still owe you one decision from last week. With that in mind,...more

Vote YES! for Compliance: An Election Law Refresher for California Employers

Seyfarth Synopsis: Under California law, employers have a part to play in protecting employee voting rights and other political activity. What follows is a short reminder of employer duties and obligations. With the...more

Perception Is Everything: Supreme Court Expands First Amendment Protections for Public Employees

In a decision that may expand the "zone of interest" protected by the First Amendment via 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Supreme Court in Heffernan v. City of Paterson, strengthened free speech rights for public employees by holding a...more

The Supreme Court – April 2016 #4

The Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in one case on April 26, 2016: - Heffernan v. City of Paterson, No. 14-1280: Petitioner Jeffrey Heffernan was a police officer in Paterson, New Jersey. Heffernan...more

Perceived Political Expression Protected By First Amendment, Supreme Court Says

In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court today held that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects both actual and perceived political speech and expression by public employees. The unsurprising decision squares with...more

The Future of Class Actions: The Impact of Justice Scalia’s Death on Upcoming Rulings

There is no doubt that the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will have major repercussions on Supreme Court jurisprudence. A 30-year veteran of the Court, Justice Scalia was known for his originalist positions and...more

The Challenges of the Evolving Marijuana Industry: Reconciling State Legislation with Federal Prohibition

Cultivation, production, distribution, or possession of marijuana is a federal criminal offense under the Controlled Substances Act (the CSA). Yet, despite federal prohibition, state-sanctioned marijuana industries have...more

Are Changes in Store for the Stored Communications Act?

Last week saw action on two fronts regarding the Stored Communications Act (SCA) – the US federal statute regulating government searches of online accounts in criminal investigations. In Congress, a proposal to reform the SCA...more

TN Republican Party Challenges MA Pay-to-Play Rules

On April 12, the Tennessee Republican Party filed a petition in the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to invalidate the SEC’s approval of new rules extending the MSRB’s long-standing “pay-to-play” prohibitions to new...more

Redrawing of Arizona Legislative Districts Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Breyer, has unanimously upheld the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission's plan to redraw Arizona's legislative districts. Lawyers from Ballard Spahr's Political...more

Supreme Court Decides Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

On April 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, No. 14-232, holding that a redistricting plan is not unconstitutional where the maximum population deviation between the...more

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