Contributor, The Volokh Conspiracy

(Here is the latest edition of the Institute for Justice’s weekly Short Circuit newsletter, written by John Ross.)

A dirty haiku: The state took Chad’s dirt; Does it owe him for his hurt? For that, read the cert!

Friends, if you annoy the authorities and they arrest you in retaliation, they are not going to say they arrested you in retaliation (because that would be admitting to violating the First Amendment). Rather, they’ll come up with a pretext. We all violate vague or rarely enforced statutes every day, so this presents no difficulty. What is difficult, however, is for you to get courts to look past the pretext when you sue over said retaliation. Click here to read an IJ amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take a hard look at the issue. (The gentleman in the instant case was a prominent critic of Riviera Beach, Fla. officials’ plan to seize thousands of homes via eminent domain. He says that in addition to arresting him on a pretext, city employees followed him around, took photos of him in his home, and ticketed him for failing to muzzle his 10-pound dog on walks.)