Questions tagged [united-states]

For questions specific to the United States as a whole, or that span multiple state jurisdictions. If your question is related to a specific state then you should use that state's tag instead (or as well).

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135
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6answers
21k views

Can a public school in the USA force a 14yr old to create a Twitter account for a passing grade?

My youngest is a freshman & signed up for a program the school refers to as "co-lab". At my insistence. 2yrs ago, I attended a board meeting where the formation of the program was introduced. At ...
90
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3answers
21k views

If I don't want to patent something, what can I do to ensure the patent office doesn't unintentionally grant the patent to someone else?

Say that I have created a hypothetical new invention. I would like for it to be used by as many people as possible without restrictions, so I deliberately choose not to pursue a patent on it. As ...
84
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2answers
14k views

On what basis might Trump's executive order on immigration be illegal?

On 27 January 2017, US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order entitled 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States'. On 30 January 2017, the acting ...
74
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4answers
18k views

How can you tell if you have to follow a police officer's instructions?

If a police officer gives me an order, how can I tell whether or not I'm legally obligated to follow that order? If I ask the officer, is he/she required by law to answer truthfully? If the police ...
62
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2answers
34k views

Why are lawyers typically excluded from juries?

At least in the United States practicing lawyers are called to serve on juries. But my understanding is at least one side will always remove them before trial. Why would it always be the case that ...
60
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7answers
64k views

What power do I have as a driver if my interstate route is blocked by a protest?

I recently read about protests blocking an interstate. I feel like ethically no one no (non-police) citizen has the right to obstruct my travel (on a public interstate for the sake of protest), ...
59
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3answers
11k views

How do I anonymously report the Establishment Clause being broken?

My daughter's public school principal has put up Christian symbols and quotes and also invited a public speaker to present during an assembly who told students that God and prayer was the answer to ...
59
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5answers
45k views

Is it illegal to run away from a police officer in a way that provokes them, in the US?

So I know this is very silly and obviously hypothetical, but I've wondered about it for a while. Let's say you aren't doing anything (else) illegal, you don't have anything illegal on you, and you ...
57
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2answers
88k views

Can you refuse to swear on the Bible?

Everyone has heard the procedure to get sworn in in an American court: Put your hand on a Holy Bible and answer yes to "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so ...
56
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1answer
19k views

Is Elon Musk's child name valid in California?

Elon Musk and his partner want to name their child X Æ A-12. Is that name allowed in California, US?
55
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3answers
17k views

Can I legally make a website about boycotting a certain company?

Located in the US. Can I make a website which is specifically aimed at boycotting a certain company? There is no lawsuit between myself and the company. There would be no defamation on the website ...
54
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3answers
17k views

Landlord wants to switch my lease to a “Land contract” to “get back at the city”

I've been living at this place for about two months and my lease looks pretty typical. Nothing unusual. I've had no problems so far. Today my landlord called me and explained something about the city ...
53
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2answers
24k views

Is it truly illegal for the US army to hire someone with IQ less than 83?

In this video Peterson says that ... anybody into the Armed Forces if they have an IQ of less than 83... Is this true? What law is this supposed restriction based on?
53
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3answers
36k views

Would open source programs that use encryption be illegal under this draft of the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016”

The U.S. congress has a draft for a bill that would require companies to fetch information from a device when requested by a court. A consequence of this is that many types of security technology ...
52
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3answers
6k views

How does the mandate to report income from illegal activities in the US jibe with the Fifth Amendment?

Al Capone was famously taken down for tax evasion for not reporting income from his illegal activities. If someone were to report the income from illegal activities like a marijuana dispensary or a ...
51
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6answers
19k views

Can a university legally enforce a policy preventing students from creating their own wireless networks?

I attend a university in the United States where the school policy states that "Students are not permitted to setup or use their own wireless networks." This includes personal hotspots that ...
49
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4answers
10k views

Can an employer withhold pay for a fire drill?

Moved from WorkplaceSE. Recently there was a routine fire drill in an office building. As with most fire drills, it took about half an hour for the fire drill to complete and for everyone to get ...
48
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9answers
37k views

Can I terminate an employee for qualifying for a job through a “degree mill?”

We have recently put together an HR unit, which reviewed all our employees and found that one has an unsatisfactory qualification (BA in Public Relations from an unaccredited college). HR suggested ...
48
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5answers
14k views

How come the nude protesters were not arrested?

I read today about the Anti-Censorship Activists in New York (Warning! NSFW pictures inside link) who protested against Facebook while being totally nude out in the street. I'm also pretty sure ...
47
votes
4answers
14k views

In Los Angeles can I defend my own property against looters?

Currently, there is looting being done in Los Angeles by many people who are pretending to protest against the killing of George Floyd (some others are actually protesting and a few people are helping ...
46
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11answers
24k views

What if a law is literally impossible to follow?

This question originated from the Australian encryption debate, but I am mainly asking about the US. Just to keep things simple (if a bit absurd), suppose the US passed a law that says, Every ...
46
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5answers
21k views

If a signal person in California tells me to kill someone, do I have to do so?

According to California sample written driving test (problem 6): You see a signal person at a road construction site ahead. You should obey his or her instructions: A. Only if you see orange cones ...
46
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6answers
17k views

Can I forbid the government from using my patented invention?

(this is a purely hypothetical situation, for literary research) I've filed a patent on a certain technology for facial recognition/analysis, and as the patent holder I want to use my exclusivity to ...
46
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5answers
16k views

Is it illegal to infringe copyright if your boss or your client ordered you to do it?

The first possible scenario is this: suppose you work in a company, and you need to install some software for a client. The software needs to be purchased, but the boss tells you to just download it ...
46
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5answers
7k views

Why is the structure of the US Code so poor? (And would it even be legal to reorganize it?)

In the process of researching the legality of coil guns in Massachusetts (University engineering project), I stumbled across Cornell's Legal Information Institute, which offers what appears to be a ...
46
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5answers
10k views

Can a Resident Assistant be told to ignore a lawful order?'

Today I have an interesting question involving Police, Fire and university administration. A little bit of background: for the past few years, my University has been involved in a small, awkward ...
45
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4answers
12k views

Course of action in a criminal case when there is no conceivable defense

I am not a lawyer or a law student; my work is in mathematics, but I like to learn about criminal law as a hobby. I have spent some time googling and searching to find an answer to my question but ...
44
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7answers
11k views

USPS Back Room - Trespassing?

I go to my local post office nearly every day to drop off packages for online purchases. A couple of years ago, I had a van full and it would have taken many trips to bring them inside. I asked a ...
44
votes
3answers
14k views

Can illegal aliens claim sanctuary in a church?

This tweet (as quoted in a Washington Post article), seems to suggest that illegal aliens can claim sanctuary in a church: #GuadalupeGarcia attorney says @ICEgov has lied to him and he will advise ...
42
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4answers
20k views

Is it legal for a supermarket to refuse to sell an adult beer if an adult with them doesn’t have their ID?

Today I went with my dad grocery shopping at a supermarket in New York (ShopRite) and he put a six-pack of beer in the cart. They then wouldn’t let him buy the beer because they couldn’t ID me (21, ...
42
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2answers
15k views

Is it illegal to backup your hard drive if you have copyrighted software on it?

Is it illegal if you create a backup of an HDD that has copyrighted software installed on it? This could be anything from legally purchased games and or expensive popular graphics/video editing ...
42
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3answers
9k views

Can I sign legal documents with a smiley face?

The signature on my driver's license is a unique and identifiable smiley face :-) I use this signature to sign all legally binding documents. A lot of the time, people reject it, and request an "...
40
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4answers
15k views

What are the legal repercussions of taking a stranger's picture in public?

With Snapchat and Instagram it is all too easy to abuse picture taking and really inexpensive to snap a photo of an unknowing stranger. If you are in public and will only post pictures online without ...
39
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4answers
9k views

Can a soldier refuse to carry a weapon?

During WWII, Desmond Doss joined the US Army as a combat medic. Due to his religious belief in nonviolence, he refused to carry a weapon and was eventually allowed to do so, going on to win various ...
39
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4answers
12k views

Can UPS really trademark the color brown?

So, today as I received an email from UPS, I read the disclaimer at the end and it said: © 2016 United Parcel Service of America, Inc. UPS, the UPS brandmark, and the color brown are trademarks of ...
39
votes
1answer
13k views

I fancy myself an amateur lawyer. Can I represent someone in court, in the state of Maryland?

I live in Montgomery County Maryland. I am not a lawyer. But I have significant legal experience. I have successfully sued people, watched many trials, I have successfully won dozens of trials for my ...
38
votes
9answers
33k views

How can I declare independence from the United States and start my own micro nation?

How can I take back my sovereignty from the American government and start my own micro nation? I've read about starting a foreign company with my name in all caps but I want a lawyer's answer.
38
votes
3answers
13k views

Was it illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of the State of the Union address?

President Trump has claimed it was illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of his State of the Union address, as it was an official document. Is there any law stating that it is illegal to tear ...
38
votes
3answers
12k views

Is it legal to have an abortion in another state or abroad?

Alabama passed new laws recently, making abortion a very limited option. In that context is it legal for a US national who lives in Alabama to have an abortion in another state where it is legal in ...
38
votes
5answers
14k views

Is ban evasion illegal?

What is the legality of "Ban Evasions"? This sounds like a dumb question but perhaps enlighten the ignorant. Ban Evasion, "The creation of a new account on a platform or website after being ...
38
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2answers
5k views

If the police search my vehicle or house without my consent, and they don't find anything, what recourse is there?

I understand that if the police perform an illegal search, then any evidence found during that search will be excluded from a trial, but what if they didn't find any evidence? If the police do an ...
38
votes
2answers
14k views

How is it legal for a hospital to put two patients together in the same room in the US?

In the United States we have HIPAA regulations in place to (among other things) prevent healthcare providers, insurance providers, and any other entity that handles medical information from leaking ...
38
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the legal status of “warrant canaries”?

A warrant canary is a repeated claim by an individual or organization that they have not been served any warrants with an attached gag order. The idea is that you can say whatever you like if you have ...
36
votes
1answer
7k views

How to protect assets from being passed to a beneficiary in a will when they are likely to die soon also

I'm going through the process of creating a simple (my first) last will and testament. I'm young with modest assets. I'm married with no children and live in the United States. I'd like to have ...
35
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2answers
12k views

Why would someone get a fine when using a disabled parking space when the disabled person is not in the car?

An article in LA Times about someone parking on a disabled parking space without the disabled person being in the car: (...) I saw a woman pull into a disabled parking space and begin to exit her ...
34
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5answers
17k views

Is the banning of large events in the USA constitutional?

Recently several US cities banned large gatherings of events such as listed here. Given that the 1st amendment of the US constitution states Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment ...
34
votes
1answer
6k views

Do I have legal rights against a company that offered me a raise to not leave, and then promptly fired me after turning down the other offer?

I was just informed of this situation that occurred somewhere by a co-worker, and was wondering what the legal ramifications are (U.S. Law). To be clear, the scenario is as follows: I tell my boss I'...
33
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4answers
19k views

Does ripping up the only signed contract form invalidate it?

Suppose I sign a contract in front of witnesses, but then immediately tear it up. Is the contract still binding?
33
votes
3answers
28k views

Can women also go shirtless in public legally?

Do women have the same rights as men to walk on the beach or sidewalk topless where men are also walking bare-chested without being discriminated against? If a woman is arrested or asked to leave by ...
33
votes
2answers
15k views

Does being engaged (to be married) carry any legal significance?

Being married carries specific legal consequences, e.g. spouses typically are treated differently under tax law, divorce property law, inheritance law, have rights regarding medical visitation and ...

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