On November 13, 2023, the Supreme Court formally announced a Code of Conduct, a significant development encapsulated in a 14-page document outlining five canons of conduct. Addressing issues such as judicial recusal and permissible outside activities, the Code consolidates ethical rules guiding the Court’s members. This webinar assembles a panel of Supreme Court and Legal Ethics experts to delve into the nuances of the Code, exploring surprises within its text and elucidating its implications for the Court’s future.
The release of a Code coincides with the Professional Responsibility & Legal Ethics Practice Group’s sponsorship of a National Lawyers Convention breakout panel titled “Originalist Perspectives on Ethics and the Supreme Court.” The discussion, held just days before the Code’s unveiling, pondered the necessity of an Ethics Code for the Supreme Court and foreshadowed lingering questions for the Court. A recording is available here.

Prof. Arthur Hellman, Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
David Lat, Founder, Original Jurisdiction
Moderator: Hon. Jennifer Perkins, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One

Koons v. Platkin is a challenge to certain provisions of New Jersey Bill A4769/S3214 – now known as Chapter 131 – that overhauled the state’s firearms and concealed carry laws following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.

Among other things, the law features 25 broad categories of “sensitive places” where permit holders may not carry a firearm. Additionally, the law makes all private property presumptively a “sensitive place” and requires permit holders to obtain consent from the property owner before carrying on their property.

United States v. Rahimi, argued before the Supreme Court this fall, raises the question of whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), which prohibits the possession of firearms by persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders, violates the Second Amendment on its face.
When executing a search warrant on Texas resident Zackey Rahimi’s home in relation to a series of shootings in which he was a suspect, police found a rifle and pistol. Rahimi, however, was subject to a domestic violence restraining order after the alleged assault of his former girlfriend, a protective order that specifically barred him from possessing a firearm. He was indicted under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) (a federal statute that makes it illegal for those who are subject to domestic violence restraining orders to possess a firearm).
Rahimi challenged that indictment, arguing the law is facially unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment. Initially, both the federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the law, but, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen, the Fifth Circuit reversed and vacated Rahimi’s conviction. The decision was appealed and oral argument occurred before SCOTUS on November 7, 2023.
In this recorded webinar, Mark Smith joined us to break down and analyze how oral argument went before the Court.

–Mark W. Smith, Senior Fellow, Ave Maria School of Law, and Host of the Four Boxes Diner Second Amendment Channel

Communities across the country are grappling with the complex issues presented by growing homeless encampments that have filled parks, blocked building entrances, and overrun sidewalks. Some observe that their ability to find effective, compassionate solutions have been impacted by the Ninth Circuit opinion in the City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, et al., holding that laws regulating camping on public property constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.”
In a lengthy series of opinions about these purported new rights of the homeless, the Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc, setting up a showdown in the Supreme Court where cities, law enforcement, disability rights advocates, property owners, and homeless advocates are looking for a final resolution to the important balance of Constitutional rights and Separation of Powers concerns.

–William R. Maurer, Managing Attorney of the Washington Office, Institute for Justice
–McGregor W. Scott, Partner, King & Spalding LLP
–John F. Bash, III, Partner, Quinn Emanuel
–[Moderator] Antoinette T. Bacon, US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida

On Thursday, June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s admissions programs violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Two months later, The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education issued a joint guidance document addressing the decision.

Court observers have put forth different analyses concerning how far-reaching this decision may be. Will corporate diversity programs be stopped? What about government initiatives? The jury is still out, but one thing will certainly change – college admissions.

Pakistan finds itself in yet another multi-faceted crisis. In response to numerous economic challenges, including the worst inflation in Asia and the risk of default, the government is scrambling to raise funds. But the country’s socio-political entities are paralyzed amidst a high-stakes tussle between former Prime Minister Imran Khan and the powerful security establishment–one that has drawn international scrutiny about Pakistan’s judicial processes and the health of democratic institutions. These domestic concerns cannot be separated from Pakistani leaders’ strategic balancing between the United States and China. This panel explored these and other related issues.Featuring:

  • Sahar Khan, Research Fellow, CATO
  • Michael Kugelman, Director, South Asia Institute, Wilson Center
  • Moderator: Nitin Nainani, Student Liaison, International & National Security Law Practice Group

Each month, a panel of constitutional experts convenes to discuss the Court’s upcoming docket sitting by sitting. The cases covered in this preview are listed below.

  • Culley v. Marshall (October 30) – Due Process; What test should district courts apply to determine whether a state or local government must provide a hearing to someone who has had property seized under a civil asset forfeiture law?
  • Lindke v. Freed (October 31) – Civil Rights, First Amendment; Whether a public official’s social media activity can constitute state action only if the official used the account to perform a governmental duty or under the authority of his or her office.
  • O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier (October 31) – Civil Rights, First Amendment; Are public officials acting as government officials, so that they can violate the First Amendment, when they block people on their personal social media accounts that they use to communicate with the public?
  • Vidal v. Elster (November 1) – First Amendment, Intellectual Property; Does Section 2(c) of the Lanham Act, which bars the registration of a trademark which uses the name of another living person without that person’s permission, violate the Constitution when used to reject a trademark that contains criticism of a government official or public figure?
  • Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Housing Service v. Kirtz (November 6) – Fair Credit Reporting Act, Sovereign Immunity; Whether the civil-liability provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act clearly waive the sovereign immunity of the United States.
  • United States v. Rahimi (November 7) – Second Amendment; Whether a federal ban on the possession of guns by individuals who are subject to domestic violence restraining orders violates the Second Amendment.
  • Rudisill v. McDonough (November 8) – GI Bill; Whether a veteran who has served two separate periods of qualifying service under the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill is entitled to receive a total of 48 months of education benefits as between both programs.


Which Test is it Anyway? Civil Asset Forfeiture and the Right to a Prompt Post-Seizure Hearing at the High Court.

The Court will hear argument on Monday, October 30, 2023, in Culley v. Marshall. Petitioners Halima Culley and Lena Sutton contend police seized their vehicles and held those vehicles for more than a year without judicial oversight. The Respondents assert that those vehicles were seized because they were being used to traffic narcotics and then Petitioners sat on their rights. Ultimately, the state court denied the Petitioners a post-seizure hearing based on the Sixth Amendment speedy-trial test of Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972). The Petitioners contend the court employed the wrong test and they should have received a prompt post-seizure hearing under the Due Process Clause.

In What It Means to Be Human – The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics Prof. O. Carter Snead investigates the tension between the natural limits of the human body and the political philosophy of autonomy, and the legal and policy challenges that arise when those two conflict. He proposes a new paradigm of how to understand being human and applies it to complex issues of bioethics, laying out a framework of embodiment and dependence.
Join us for a special 90-minute webinar conversation with Prof. Snead moderated by Prof. William Saunders on “What it Means to Be Human” -both philosophically and practically.

–Prof. O. Carter Snead, Professor of Law, Director, de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, & Concurrent Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame Law School
–[Moderator] Prof. William L. Saunders, Professor – Human Rights, Religious Liberty, Bioethics, Catholic University of America

This Term, the Supreme Court will hear Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo—a case concerning judicial deference to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes. Pursuant to Chevron v. NRDC and follow-on cases, courts defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes. Loper Bright offers the Court an opportunity to abandon Chevron deference entirely. But the phrasing of the Question presented in Loper Bright also presents an off-ramp for the Court, allowing it to keep Chevron’s framework intact. How the Court resolves Loper Bright will have massive implications for administrative law. On this panel, three distinguished administrative law scholars discuss the task before the Court in Loper Bright and the future of Chevron deference.


Agreeing to Disagree: How the Establishment Clause Protects Religious Diversity and Freedom of Conscience investigates the questions that surround the correct interpretation of the Establishment Clause, breaking down the practical history of establishment and disestablishment in the United States of religion as law and argues that a Clause often seen as a defense against religion is valuable for promoting religious freedom and diversity in America. In this installment of our Talks with Authors series, Prof. Michael McConnel, co-author of the book, and Prof. Vincent Munoz discussed these themes and the history of the Establishment Clause in the United States.


In recent months, there has been a notable escalation in China’s economic coercion of various countries and private companies, prompting a pressing need for a deeper examination of this phenomenon and China’s global strategy. Our panel will delve into the repercussions of actions taken by China in multilateral institutions and its use of debt-trap diplomacy, examining their effects on international relations and trade dynamics. The discussion will also shed light on how the United States and its like-minded partners can effectively deter China’s coercive tactics, paving the way for a more stable and secure global landscape. Ivan Kanapathy, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic International Studies, and DJ Nordquist, Former US Executive Director of the World Bank joined us to discuss these issues and more.


In her new book, The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves, Alexandra Hudson explores the question – how can a reinvigorated dedication to civility help our nation come together despite deep and growing differences? She argues that our difficulties in this arena are not new; luckily, the solutions aren’t either. Drawing wisdom from a host of ancient philosophers and influential thinkers, Hudson encourages Americans to turn inward and commit themselves to live tolerantly. She contends that our Republic depends on it.

Please join us as Alexandra Hudson sits down with The Federalist Society’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Dean Reuter, to discuss The Soul of Civility.

Will the 118th Congress succeed in creating a statutory framework for effective regulation of cryptocurrencies? Join House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry and our expert panel to discuss the status of this complex legislative issue, the competition among regulators and potential division of regulatory jurisdiction, the differences between stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies, federal vs. state regulation, what financial reports and other disclosures should be required, and what key decisions must be made.

Many state constitutional provisions are worded similarly to provisions of the federal Constitution. At times, this has led some to simply assume as binding or highly persuasive the interpretations of the latter on the former. But to what degree should interpretations of the United States Constitution inform a particular state’s interpretation of its own foundational document? We hosted a lively discussion of this important issue by a distinguished panel:

Judge David R. Stras, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

The 2023 Ron Rotunda Memorial Webinar featured a conversation with Gregory Jacob and Prof. Josh Blackman discussing the current state of the legal culture and the future of the legal profession.

Professor Rotunda wrote seminal law books that are still used in law schools across the country and was the author of over 500 law review articles and other legal publications. These books and articles have been cited more than 2000 times by law reviews, by state and federal courts at every level, by the U.S. Supreme Court and by foreign courts in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. He was also a member of the Federalist Society’s Professional Responsibility & Legal Education Practice Group. Each year, the Practice Group holds an annual Teleforum in his honor.

In Bates v. Pakseresht, Oregon mother-of-5 Jessica Bates is challenging the Oregon Department of Human Services’ (OHDS) rules that require all potential adoptive families to affirm and support the sexual orientation, gender identity, and/ or gender expression of any potential children placed with them.
Ms. Bates asserts that OHDS’s rules violate the “Free Speech,” and “Freedom of Assembly” clauses of the First Amendment, and has sued in Federal Court to have the OHDS rules deemed unconstitutional.
This webinar served as an update on this litigation affecting free speech, freedom of religious practice, state regulations, and child safety with Jonathan Scruggs, lead attorney representing Ms. Bates from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

–Jonathan Scruggs, Senior Counsel, Vice President of Litigation Strategy & Center for Conscience Initiatives, Alliance Defending Freedom
–(Moderator) Miles Coleman, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Alliance for Fair Board Recruitment v. Weber is a challenge to California’s Assembly Bill 979 requiring racial, ethnic, and sexual orientation diversity on boards of public corporations located in California. The Alliance for Fair Board Recruitment is arguing that the Bill violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

On May 15, 2023, the US District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled that the law is unconstitutional and enjoined its continued enforcement.

Each month, a panel of constitutional experts convenes to discuss the Court’s upcoming docket sitting by sitting. The cases covered in this preview are listed below.

  • Pulsifer v. United States (October 2) – Federal Criminal Law; Whether a defendant satisfies the criteria in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)(1) as amended by the First Step Act of 2018 in order to qualify for the federal drug-sentencing “safety valve” provision so long as he does not have (a) more than four criminal history points, (b) a three-point offense, and (c) a two-point offense, or whether the defendant satisfies the criteria so long as he does not have (a), (b), or (c).
  • CFPB v. Community Financial Servs. Ass’n of America, Ltd. (October 3) – Constitutional Law, Appropriations; Whether the court of appeals erred in holding that the statute providing funding to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 12 U.S.C. § 5497, violates the appropriations clause in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, and in vacating a regulation promulgated at a time when the Bureau was receiving such funding.
  • Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer (October 4) – Constitutional Law, Americans with Disabilities Act; Whether a self-appointed Americans with Disabilities Act “tester” has Article III standing to challenge a place of public accommodation’s failure to provide disability accessibility information on its website, even if she lacks any intention of visiting that place of public accommodation.
  • Murray v. UBS Securities LLC (October 10) – Labor Law, Sarbanes Oxley Act; Whether, following the burden-shifting framework that governs cases under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, a whistleblower must prove his employer acted with a “retaliatory intent” as part of his case in chief, or whether the lack of “retaliatory intent” is part of the affirmative defense on which the employer bears the burden of proof.
  • Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC (October 10) – Admiralty; Whether, under federal admiralty law, a choice-of-law clause in a maritime contract can be rendered unenforceable if enforcement is contrary to the “strong public policy” of the state whose law is displaced.
  • Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP (October 11) – Election Law; Whether the district court erred when it failed to apply the presumption of good faith and to holistically analyze South Carolina Congressional District 1 and the South Carolina General Assembly’s intent. Additionally, the court’s handling of the alternative-map requirement, its treatment of the relationship between race and politics, the assessment of racial predominance in District 1, and the consideration of intentional discrimination are all under scrutiny.


For the past few Supreme Court terms we have hosted Mark Rienzi, President of the Becket Fund and Professor of Law at Catholic University of America, for a discussion of Religious Liberty at the Court moderated by William Saunders, Professor and Co-director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Catholic University of America. This installment looked at the most recent term including the unanimous holding in Groff v. DeJoy and provided a preview of the October term.