Violence Against Women

  • Congress enacted the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) for the primary purpose of preventing children from viewing indecent or otherwise harmful material online. The legislators emphasized that its goal was “to help encourage the private sector to protect our children from being exposed to obscene and indecent material on the Internet” by removing liability for Internet companies that “make a good faith effort to edit the smut from their systems.” The First Circuit Court of Appeals—like several other courts—interpreted the law as providing complete immunity to websites that solicit and profit from illegal content so long as the legal claims against them bear some relationship to online content provided by a third party. Because Backpage’s “adult” services section contains advertisements written by paid users, the First Circuit held that the site was protected from liability for aiding the Petitioners’ sexual exploitation as minors, even though the Petitioners persuasively alleged that Backpage took an active role in shaping the content of the ads and deliberately tailored its website to “make sex trafficking easier.” This sweeping interpretation  is not what Congress intended when it enacted legislation seeking to encourage website operators to behave responsibly.
  • Determined the definition of extreme cruelty under the VAWA provision that protects immigrant victims from deportation and return to their abuser.
  • Concerned the right to sue for civil remedies under VAWA and the constitutional power of Congress to enact VAWA.
  • Determined whether New York’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims can be tolled due to psychological disability resulting from domestic abuse.
  • Determined whether the Lautenberg amendment applies to individuals convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" with "Recklessness" mens rea.
  • Concerned whether rape and attempted rape by a spouse can be considered "extreme cruelty" under VAWA's immigrant protection provisions.
  • Addressed the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act civil rights remedy. The decision was overruled, in part, by the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Morrison.
  • Determined the constitutionality of New York State's anti-stalking statute.
  • Challenged President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, an executive order that placed limits on travel to the U.S. from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
  • Determined whether the U.S. government violated international human rights treaties by failing to protect an individual from – and provide a remedy for – domestic violence, when local law enforcement failed to do so.
  • Determined whether allowing victim's statements made to 911 or to police to be used as evidence in criminal prosecutions where victim does not testify, including domestic violence prosecutions, violates criminal defendant's rights under Confrontation Clause of U.S. Constitution.
  • For reversal of the district court decision granting defendants-appellees summary judgment. Appellant had sued regarding false charges of theft after she reported a robbery and rape. The brief argues the police had no probable cause for arrest, but instead based the charges on long-discredited beliefs about sexual assault. In its decision, the Court of Appeals found the District Court to be in error in granting summary judgment on the probable cause issue.