On January 22, 2012, Constitutional Accountability Center and the Brennan Center together filed a brief in support of the Respondents in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, a challenge to the National Voter Registration Act and the power of the federal government to protect citizens’ voting rights.
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Fisher v. University of Texas involves a challenge to the University of Texas’ holistic admissions policy, which uses race as one factor among many in selecting a critical mass of diverse, academically accomplished students for admission. The challengers argue that UT-Austin’s policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it allows the university to take race into account in making decisions to admit students. The lower courts rejected this claim.
On August 13, 2012, CAC filed an amici curiae brief in the Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of UT-Austin’s admissions policy on behalf of CAC and some of the most prominent constitutional scholars in the country, Professors Bruce Ackerman, Vikram Amar, Jack Balkin, Burt Neuborne, James Ryan, and Adam Winkler. Drawing on the work of our clients, our brief demonstrates that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment approved of the use of race to foster equality of opportunity. As the brief explains, the Reconstruction Framers, contemporaneous with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, enacted a long list of race-conscious legislation designed to guarantee equality of opportunity for all persons regardless of race. Our brief argues that, under the text and history of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Supreme Court’s case law, UT’s sensitive use of race in admissions is constitutionally permissible in order to ensure a diverse, accomplished academic community and to provide pathways to professional life and leadership for all of the state’s residents regardless of race.
The Supreme Court heard oral argument on October 10th, 2012.
On February 28, 2013, Constitutional Accountability Center and the Cato Institute filed a joint amici curiae brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the landmark marriage equality case that challenges California’s Proposition 8. Read more here about CAC and Cato’s partnership in this brief.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case on March 26, 2013.
On March 20, 2013, Constitutional Accountability Center filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in support of appellees in Koenning v. Suehs, a case that has important implications for the spending clause, preemption, and the private enforcement of federal Medicaid requirements. Koenning will address the question of whether the federal Medicaid statute’s state plan requirements preempt contrary state laws and whether federal requirements are enforceable by Medicaid beneficiaries.
On December 28th, CAC filed a brief on behalf of the American Planning Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the City of New York in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. Koontz is by far the biggest takings challenge granted by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts.
On February 1, 2013, Constitutional Accountability Center filed an amici curiae brief in support of the Respondents in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a challenge to the Voting Rights Act and the federal government’s power to protect the voting rights of citizens. CAC filed the brief on behalf of leading scholars on the Constitution and the Reconstruction Amendments, including Professors Jack M. Balkin, Guy-Uriel Charles, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer and Adam Winkler.
As CAC’s brief demonstrates, the text and history of the Fifteenth Amendment support the constitutionality of Congress’s near-unanimous 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, demonstrating that when Congress acts to prevent racial discrimination in voting, its authority is broad and entitled to great deference.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on February 27, 2013. Read analysis of the arguments from CAC’s Elizabeth Wydra here.
On July 10, 2012, Constitutional Accountability Center filed Tuaua v. United States in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to vindicate the Constitution’s guarantee of citizenship at birth and contesting the constitutionality of federal laws and policies that deny U.S. citizenship to persons born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. The lawsuit was filed by CAC, the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, and prominent American Samoa attorney Charles V. Ala’ilima, on behalf of Leneuoti Tuaua and other individuals born in American Samoa, as well as the Samoan Federation of America.
On December 17, 2012, Judge Richard Leon held a hearing on Defendants’ motion to dismiss, calling the Tuaua case “truly novel and interesting.” A decision is pending.
On February 1, 2013, Constitutional Accountability Center and the Cato Institute filed a joint amici curiae brief in support of the Respondent in United States v. Windsor, a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) , which excludes married, same-sex couples from more than 1,000 federal legal protections, rights and benefits provided to married, opposite-sex couples.