On Tuesday, in a 2-1 decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found Illinois’s ban on carrying concealed firearms unconstitutional based on a 2008 Supreme Court decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, which overturned a D.C. handgun ban. In his decision for Moore v. Madigan, Judge Richard Posner wrote that the Second Amendment “confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside,” and that Illinois failed to show “more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety.” The court will give the Illinois legislature 180 days to craft a new law regulating how weapons are carried.
See SCOTUSBlog’s analysis of the case. There is some speculation that the case could be headed to the Supreme Court, particularly since the ruling appears to conflict with a recent decision by the Second Circuit.
On Friday, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled that North Carolina cannot offer specialty pro-life licenses plates without offering an alternative of pro-choice license plates. Judge James Fox held that the plates were private speech, as opposed to government speech that the North Carolina General Assembly is able to regulate. As such, to allow pro-life license plates without the pro-choice option would be “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”
On 10 December 1948, the United Nations established an annual Human Rights Day to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration contains a preamble and 30 articles that outline the rights and freedoms to which anyone is entitled anywhere in the world. Visit the UN’s Human Rights Day page to read a copy of the Declaration and to get more details.
As mentioned on Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case and a Proposition 8 case. SCOTUSBlog has four new commentaries on the same-sex marriage grants worth checking out: “Article III & Same-Sex Marriage” by Neal Devins and Tara Grove, professors at William & Mary Law, “Different Ways of Splitting the Difference–The Menu of Options in Hollingsworth v. Perry” by Kenji Yoshino, “Marriage Equality’s Cinderella Moment” by Yale Law professor William Eskridge, Jr., and Hans P. Johnson, President of Progressive Victory, and “Opportunity for the Court to Right Some Wrongs” by William Duncan, Director of the Marriage Law Foundation. Check ’em out!
On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will review the constitutionality of both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. The Court granted certiorari in the cases of United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.
The other DOMA cases seeking review will be held until a decision in Windsor.
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that police do not require a warrant to search a suspect’s cell phone once the suspect has been lawfully arrested. In both Commonwealth v. Phifer and Commonwealth v. Berry, the court upheld searches of the suspect’s cell phone as searches incident to arrest, despite the suspects’ claims that cell phones differ from other items a person is carrying at the time of arrest because of a phone’s ability to store large amounts of information. In both cases, the court ruled only on the particular facts of the case at hand and did not rule on whether a cell phone seized incident to arrest can always be searched without a warrant.
On Tuesday, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia upheld Milan Lukic’s life sentence. Lukic, the Bosnian Serb commander sentenced to life in prison for crimes that include burning 100-plus people alive during the Bosnian War, had submitted eight appeals against his crimes against humanity and violations of the customs of war convictions on counts of murder, persecution, extermination cruel treatment and other inhumane acts against Bosnian Muslims. This is the first time ever that the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY has upheld a life imprisonment sentence. Also on Tuesday, the Appeals Chamber reduced the sentence of Lukic’s cousin, Sredoje Lukic, from 30 years to 27 years.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of California William Shubb temporarily blocked the State of California from enforcing a law prohibiting mental health providers from engaging in SOCE, sexual orientation change efforts, with minors. California Senate Bill 1172 would subject any mental health provider who does engage in such efforts to discipline for unprofessional conduct. Mental health providers sought to block the law before it goes into effect on January 1st, on grounds that it violates their First Amendment freedom of speech, and Judge Shubb, finding that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits, granted the preliminary injunction limited only to the three plaintiffs.