AMICUS BRIEF: America’s Future Files Amicus Brief In Support of the Second Amendment
On Monday, May 2, 2022, America’s Future along with 10 other amici organizations, submitted an Amicus Brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in connection with Todd Yukutake and David Kikukawa v. Holly Shikada, in her official capacity as the Attorney General of the State of Hawai’i, et al., No. 21-16756 (2022). Central to this litigation is the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – every American’s “right to bear arms.”
The history of the case begins on October 24, 2019, when Plaintiffs, Mr. Yukutake and Mr. Kikukawa, filed suit against then-Attorney General of Hawaii, Clare E. Connors, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to protect their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Their lawsuit calls into question the constitutionality of two state statutes that the Plaintiffs understood to be infringing upon their Constitutional rights. The state statutes at issue are Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 134-2(e) and HRS § 134-3(c), in relevant parts mandating that (1) “that individuals purchase a handgun (pistol or revolver) within 10 days of obtaining a permit to acquire” and (2) “that individuals physically bring their firearm to the police department for in-person inspection and registration within five days of acquiring it.”
On August 16, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a memorandum opinion granting summary judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs. In so doing, the presiding judge in the matter, Chief U.S. District Judge for the District of Hawaii, Judge Michael Seabright, declared both regulations unconstitutional and in violation of the Second Amendment. Two months later and just shy of two years following commencement of the lawsuit, Defendant appealed the grant of summary judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
America’s Future along with the other named amici, posit that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should affirm the summary judgement granted in favor of Plaintiffs/Appellees by Chief Judge Seabright. As concisely stated in our Amicus brief, “[t]he [Second] Amendment recognizes and protects that natural right [‘of resistance and self-preservation’] — but does not limit or diminish it. Hawaii’s progressively onerous regulatory regime stands in diametrical opposition to the [Second] Amendment’s text and the God-given right it reflects and protects.”
America’s Future fervently endorses the Second Amendment along with all God-given inalienable rights of America’s citizenship. Our Amicus brief offers not only well-reasoned arguments in support of affirmance of Chief Judge Seabright’s decision, but also explains the historical context of the Second Amendment and the case law arising from it. The brief reiterates the import of America’s framework and serves as a reminder to never forget and never lose sight of how the creation of our nation came about – that is, through the blood, sweat and tears of the colonists, our forefathers who, with valor and determination, fortified and secured the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.
AMICUS BRIEF: America’s Future Files Amicus Brief to Protect The Second Amendment
On Friday, April 1, 2022, America’s Future joined 11 amici nonprofit and educational organizations to submit an Amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States supporting the position of the Petitioners in their fight to secure the Second Amendment – citizens right to bear arms. In the case, Duncan, et al. v. Rob Bonta, in His Official Capacity as Attorney General of California, No. 21-1194 (2022), Petitioner Virginia Duncan along with similarly situated plaintiffs sued California arguing California Penal Code § 32310, as amended by Ca. Senate Bill 1446 along with Proposition 63 (2016), the combination of which served to prohibit Californian’s possession of large-capacity magazines, is an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
After Proposition 63 was approved, but prior to its effective date, Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction that was granted and later upheld by an appellate court. The federal district court judge presiding over the merits of the case granted the plaintiffs motion for summary judgement, essentially handing the Plaintiffs a “win.” On appeal, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges affirmed the lower court’s decision. At this point, the state of California requested the Ninth Circuit hear the case en banc, meaning all Ninth Circuit judges participate in a review of the Ninth Circuit panel decision. An en banc review was conducted and the Ninth Circuit vacated the decision of the Ninth Circuit panel which resulted in the reversal of the district court summary judgment ruling; keeping this litigation moving forward in the system.
The dissenting opinion in connection with the Ninth Circuit’s en banc decision, authored by Judge Bumatay, shined a light on the unfortunate reality that politics too often plays a part in full Circuit rulings, stating, “[i]n reality, this tiers-of-scrutiny approach functions as nothing more than a black box used by judges to uphold favored laws and strike down disfavored ones.” (Bumatay, J., dissenting)
Central to the Petitioners position is that they are entitled under “possess for lawful purposes magazines that hold more than 10 rounds” by the plain text of the Second Amendment. Additionally, Petitioners raise the landmark Second Amendment 2008 Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v Heller, 554 US 570 (2008) and its plain holding that states in part, “[t]he Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
The late Justice, Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in Heller reminded us that “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right.” Even more telling, Justice Scalia warned against the use of “judge empowering interest-balancing inquir[ies]” which is precisely what the Ninth Circuit en banc panel improperly engaged in to issue their patently erroneous decision.
Essentially, no fundamental right guaranteed to “We the People” should be disturbed or impaired through some sort of judicial activism seeking to create a “balancing of interests” tests as though the import of a fundamental right can be diminished – that would be too slippery of a slope and would encourage the Judiciary to engage in the type of political nonsense our Founding Fathers feared and warned against.
Instead, and as Heller demands and as we reiterated in our Amicus brief filed in this case, “any court examining a law prohibiting “arms” need ask only whether the banned item is (1) commonly used, (2) by law-abiding citizens, (3) for lawful purposes, including for self-defense or defense of “hearth and home.” If so, then the banned item is categorically protected under the Second Amendment and no further analysis is needed.
America’s Future along with the other named amici, posit that the United States Supreme Court should issue cert in this case, vacate the en banc panel decision and restore the district court’s ruling upholding the Second Amendment fundamental right to bear arms, unabridged.
AMICUS BRIEF: America’s Future Joins Call to Dismiss ERA Ratification Case
On Friday, March 11, 2022, twelve amici organizations, mostly nonprofit organizations including America’s Future, submitted an Amicus Brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in connection with State of Illinois and State of Nevada v David Ferriero, in his official capacity as Archivist of the United States, No. 21-5096 (2022).
At the heart of this case is an antiquated and expired movement to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution purporting to guarantee equal legal rights for American citizens regardless of gender. Lest we forget, since the birth of our nation, Americans have fought and died for freedom, liberty and equality. Undoubtedly one of the most steadfast and celebrated of them all is the “women’s movement.”
The women’s movement, particularly throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s (a revolutionary period of civil unrest and societal progress in America unto itself), the rise of the women’s movement hit its stride. While the women’s movement garnered more and more support over time, there was also a sharp divide within the leadership and rank and file and sooner than later, what it truly means to be a feminist was at issue.
This split within the movement came to a head in 1972 when the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed Congress and was quickly ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. At this time, before the ERA could alter the way of life in every American household, national leaders, both male and female, actually read the legislation and realized that despite its moniker, the ratification of the ERA Amendment to the Constitution would likely lead to adverse effects which would do everything but support women’s rights, including dismantling child custody rights and devastating rights to alimony. The ERA, Phyllis Schlafly (likely the most renowned feminist at that time opposing the ERA) realized would cause irreparable harm to women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and beyond.
While proponents of the ERA drummed up support based on emotional rhetoric like “equal pay for equal work,” intellectuals and lawmakers understood the ERA was really about weaving a radical social agenda into our national framework of laws. As our Amicus brief states, the ERA would have resulted in shocking “subjecting women to the military draft and front-line combat; abolishing all laws regulating or prohibiting abortion; requiring taxpayer-funded abortions; undermining the proposition that marriage was only between a man and a woman; eliminating tax exemptions for churches with male-only clergy; ending single-sex schools and sports teams; establishing unisex prison cells, hospital and nursing home rooms, and school dormitories; and invalidating all legislation passed to protect women in the workplace.”
America’s Future along with the other named amici, posit that the Court of Appeals should affirm and uphold District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras’s dismissal of the Plaintiffs’ challenge to the Defendant’s refusal to certify the ERA as part of our Constitution. The District Judge dismissed this case for procedural reasons, including lack of standing to sue and the legal principle “laches,” which essentially stands for an unreasonable delay initiating suit or “sitting on your rights.” America’s Future believes the Court of Appeals should affirm the District Court’s dismissal and get rid of the ERA once and for all.
AMICUS BRIEF: America’s Future Joins Petitioner In Case Arguing Against ‘Cancel Culture’
On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, nine nonprofit organizations joined America’s Future in connection with the Amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) concerning Heltzel v Youngkin, No. 21-1084 (2022).
America’s Future filed in support of the Petitioner Janet Heltzel, et al. who was fighting against “cancel culture,” more specifically against the destruction of the Lee Monument, a Virginia statue of Robert E. Lee, erected in 1890 on land conveyed, by contract, to the Lee Monument Association reserving a portion solely to serve as the venue of the Robert E. Lee’s statue. The Lee Monument stood for 130 years. On June 4, 2020, Ralph Northam, the former governor of Virginia, announced the removal of the statue following desecration of the monument with vile statements like “F*** Cops.” Upon notice to the community, the former governor approved removal of the statue, and litigation began.
Procedurally, the petitioner in this case was initially granted injunctive relief late in the summer of 2020. Eventually, however, on September 2, 2021, the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Virginia affirmed the state’s intermediate appellate court’s decision to dismiss the case. Now that this case is in front of the SCOTUS, the highest Court in our land has an opportunity to “restore the Rule of Law in one important area — preserving the obligation of contracts from abrogation by arbitrary state government action.” America’s Future and the other amici organizations contend, “[t]hat the Contract Clause [located in Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 of the Constitution] should apply even to the Governor’s [former Virginia governor Ralph Northam] unilateral actions, just as the First Amendment’s admonition that ‘Congress shall make no law,’ applies to the Executive [Branch] as well.” Any infringement on the rights of any one American, is infringement on the rights of an entire nation and that can not stand. America’s Future is committed to protecting the individual rights of all citizens and preserving our Constitutional Republic. We will keep readers up-to-date on our organization’s legal filings and other advocacy efforts. A review of the First Amendment is included in our Bill of Rights series available here.
UPDATE: America’s Future learned on March 28, 2022, that the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear this case. Whether or not the Lee Monument fosters negative, positive, or neutral feelings for an individual, the legal issues raised in this case, particularly under the Contract Clause of the Constitution, should have prevailed and the Court should not have denied the petition to hear the case.
AMICUS BRIEF: America’s Future Joins In Case Charging NSA Illegally Surveilled Americans
On Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, America’s Future joined 11 organizations in an Amicus brief filing supporting a Petition for Writ of Certiorari of Jewel v NSA, 856 Fed. Appx. 640 (9th Cir. 2021) to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in support of the Petitioner Carolyn Jewel, et al. The request for the Writ follows a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) decision that the Petitioner did not have standing in the case.
At the heart of the 14-year-old case, grounded in the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution, Jewel is about civil freedoms and God-given rights to be secure that private matters and personal information stay that way, at each individual’s option, unless a fully-informed court with jurisdiction determines otherwise, on a case-by-case basis. Jewel concerns extraordinary constitutional violations by the U.S. government against its own citizens. The acts by the NSA, et al, include over two decades of covertly and unlawfully intercepting, copying, collecting, searching, and retaining detailed records of American citizens’ internet and cell phone usage and communications without any authority and under the color of law.
To read more about the Ninth Circuit decision and an explanation of relative legal terms, please click here. The government must file its response to the Petition for the Writ of Certiorari by or before March 21, 2022. America’s Future will keep readers informed as to the status of the case.
AMICUS BRIEF: America’s Future Joins In “OSHA” Case Filing To SCOTUS
On Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, America’s Future joined 11 organizations in an Amicus Brief filing with the Supreme Court of the United States supporting the Emergency Applications for Stay of Administrative Action along with the Petition for Writ of Certiorari in connection with and against the Occupational Safety and health Administration’s (OSHA) regulation published in its Interim Final Rule (IFR) dated November 5, 2021, entitled “COVID–19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard.” <86 Fed. Reg.61402>.
This IFR consisted of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate launched against private businesses, nationwide, with 100 or more employees. Page 3 of the brief, noted “The OSHA Vaccine Mandate is exactly what the Framers most feared when they established the federal government: a raw exercise of arbitrary power. In issuing this Mandate…OSHA exercised powers that it does not have…Accepting any drug into one’s body is a personal decision.”
On January 7, 2022, the SCOTUS held oral arguments pertaining to OSHA’s potential mandate along with another separate but similar case whereby the issue centered around whether the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) could require healthcare facilities who seek reimbursement from Medicare or a State Medicaid agency to compel its workers to be vaccinated.
With respect to the OSHA matter, on January 13, 2022, SCOTUS struck down OSHA’s IRF, thereby ensuring no private business would be penalized in the event an employee was not fully vaccinated. To read this SCOTUS opinion, please click here. With respect to the CMS matter, SCOTUS upheld the CMS’s mandate primarily because powers the federal government and its agencies to regulate businesses, including healthcare facilities, that accept federal funding are expansive in scope and the SCOTUS determined the CMS mandate constituted proper exercise of those powers. This SCOTUS opinion is accessible by clicking here.
To understand what an Amicus brief is, one must first define a “brief.” A brief is a legal document submitted to a Court in connection with a legal case that particular Court is presiding over or, in other words, has accepted jurisdiction to resolve the dispute. Most briefs are submitted by litigants interested in the outcome of a case (i.e., parties to a case) in hopes of persuading the Court to agree with their point of view. Generally, briefs address specific issues raised by either party at various times during the lifetime of a court case. Briefs lay out facts considered relevant to the issue(s) that a party raises; they provide the Court with law that is “on point,” and most importantly, briefs include legal arguments applying the pertinent law to the specific facts to draw a conclusion that favors a certain outcome.
An Amicus brief is a special type of brief that are submitted to Appellate Courts, upon permission by the Court, by non-parties. Amicus is short for Amicus Curiae. Amicus Curiae is Latin for “friend of the Court.” In other words, this type of brief is filed for the purpose of offering the Court information, insight, and rationale in connection with an appeal that is presently in front of the Court. Generally, Amicus briefs are not viewpoint-neutral, but rather they are filed in support of one party’s position.
Simply put, a Petition for Writ of Certiorari is a request that an Appellate Court review a lower Court’s decision. This type of Petition is filed by litigants, identified as “Petitioner,” who are dissatisfied (i.e., aggrieved) with an outcome and seek appellate review. In legalese, if an Appellate Court grants a litigant’s request for appellate review of a lower Court’s decision, it means the Appellate Court “issues a writ.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. There are 13 appellate courts that sit below it, and they are called the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Click here to view a graphic depiction of the Supreme Court and Circuit Court system in America.