Issue 86, Summer 2002
- A federal appeals court in California caused a political firestorm when it ruled that public schools may not include the words “under God,” which were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, when students recite the Pledge. The Ninth Circuit has stayed the decision; an appeal is expected.
- The Ninth Circuit issued another controversial decision in Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition for Life Activists. Doctors and abortion clinics sued anti-choice activists over “Wanted” posters and a web site called the “Nuremberg Files,” which charged abortion providers with “crimes against humanity.”
In May, an en banc panel ruled 6-5 that the posters and web site constituted illegal threats, not free speech.
- For a review of recent Supreme Court 1st Amendment cases, see Joan E. Bertin’s Talking Dirty: Court’s Cases on Sex & Speech Are Fractured But Thoughtful (click here).