Constitutional Law and Litigation

From time to time the firm handles cases that present significant issues of constitutional law. In the past, these cases have often involved matters relating to the duty of government officials to comply with the Constitution and various civil-rights statutes. For instance, in Gibson Products, Inc. of Plano v. Secretary of Labor, 407 F. Supp. 154 (E.D. Tex. 1976), Robert Rader won the first judicial decision that the Secretary of Labor is required by the Fourth Amendment to obtain a search warrant in order to compel an OSHA inspection of a non-consenting business owner. In Mosher Steel Company v. Commissioner of Labor, 327 S.E.2d 87 (Va. 1985), Mr. Rader won a decision by the Virginia Supreme Court that OSHA's administrative plan for selecting businesses to be inspected must be open to discovery and challenge by an inspection target. And in Collier Sawmill, Inc. v. Commissioner of Labor, 1984 CCH OSHD 26,798 (Ind. Cir. Ct. 1983), Mr. Rader won a judicial holding that OSHA officials may not compel an inspection by armed force.

Donovan Campbell was lead counsel for the plaintiff in Paula Jones v. William Jefferson Clinton, No. LR-C-94-290 (E.D. Ark.), 36 F. Supp.2d 1118 (E.D. Ark. 1999), a case that raised questions whether Bill Clinton, as Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States, was required to comply with the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and laws prohibiting sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and obstruction of justice. Robert Rader and McCord Wilson also participated in that case. The firm's discovery in that suit, including its subpoena of Monica Lewinsky, led directly to the ultimate impeachment of President Clinton by Congress and to his citation for contempt of court for obstructing justice. 

Most recently, Robert Rader and McCord Wilson won a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Butler v. Elle, 281 F.3d 1014 (9th Cir. 2002), that a state tax investigator may be held personally liable for making false statements to a magistrate in order to obtain a warrant and for conducting an abusive, unconstitutional search.

The firm also occasionally represents clients (both plaintiffs and defendants) in civil rights suits brought under 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1983, 1985, and/or 1981 to enforce clients' constitutional rights as against state and local governments and officials or private organizations challenging those rights. We have successfully undertaken such cases affirming the right to display Christmas scenes on county property, the right to produce passion plays in county-owned theaters, the rights of student-athletes to pray at public high school games, and the rights of parents to home-school their children without prosecution by the state or school district authorities.