SCOTUS

Sorrell Means Business

By |2019-03-15T17:04:59-04:00June 29th, 2011|Blog|

Last week’s Supreme Court decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc.  signified a subtle yet important shift in commercial speech interpretation that may precede increased corporate strength in the legal arena.  The opinion, by Justice Kennedy, argues that Vermont did not have grounds to ban pharmaceutical data-mining as it is a form of non-deceptive commercial information-sharing that is [...]

Moot Court Competition Examines Real Student Cyber-Speech Issues

By |2019-03-13T15:37:41-04:00February 22nd, 2011|Blog|

David Hudson of the First Amendment Center is connecting the dots between the hypothetical case presented in the 2011 First Amendment Moot Court Competition (in which the College Of William and Mary Law School emerged victorious -- Go Tribe!) and the questions of freedom and accountability surrounding online speech facing administrators and communities around the country: Many questions remain in [...]

Second Circuit Strikes Down FCC Regulations on Fleeting Expletives on Constitutional Grounds

By |2019-03-07T23:27:07-04:00July 14th, 2010|Blog|

There is some good news in the prolonged battle of fleeting expletives in the media, FCC v. Fox Television Stations.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the FCC’s ban on fleeting expletives is unconstitutionally vague. This comes off the heels of a Supreme Court decision upholding the FCC’s authority under the Administrative Procedure Act to issue regulations [...]

Elena Kagan and the First Amendment

By |2019-03-07T21:50:48-04:00July 1st, 2010|Blog|

The activities and viewpoints of Elena Kagan have been put under a microscope since congressional hearings on her nomination to the Supreme Court have started, but one area that senators have not questioned her in are her thoughts and work on the First Amendment.  Based on her writings and speeches, both in court and out, it seems that Ms. Kagan [...]

Supreme Court declines to hear theatre smoking ban case

By |2019-03-15T15:24:35-04:00May 28th, 2010|Blog|

The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear Curious Theatre Company v. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, meaning that the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that smoking can be banned from a stage stands. This means that issues could arise in any state where there is a catch-all smoking ban in public areas, without an exemption [...]

First Amendment Upheld in US v Stevens

By |2019-03-07T23:06:52-04:00April 21st, 2010|Blog|

In a much anticipated decision, the Supreme Court yesterday struck down a federal statute making it a crime to create, sell or possess “a depiction of animal cruelty.” In the 8 – 1 opinion, the Court characterized the law as "a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth," because of its potential to criminalize a vast array of legally protected expression, including [...]

Alito takes (another) stand on student speech

By |2019-03-15T15:31:14-04:00March 26th, 2010|Blog|

“[W]hen a public school purports to allow students to express themselves, it must respect the students’ free speech rights,” Justice Alito said in an opinion this week. His words came in a powerful dissent to the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a case involving students’ musical choice for the graduation ceremony. Justice Alito, the conservative judge who took his [...]

Supreme Court Rejects Dress Code Case

By |2019-03-14T17:36:16-04:00January 14th, 2010|Blog|

Earlier this week the Supreme Court denied petition to review a high school student’s challenge to his school’s dress code. In denying review, the Supreme Court has chosen to leave the lower court’s holding intact — a holding that serves as a dangerous curtailment of students’ rights of freedom of expression. Paul “Pete” Palmer was found to be in violation [...]

Good intentions – dire consequences: US v. Stevens

By |2019-03-15T15:29:04-04:00October 9th, 2009|Blog|

Which of these images would also be illegal if a 1999 law, heard on October 6, 2009 by the US Supreme Court, were to be upheld? Remember – we are talking about images, not the acts themselves. video from circus companies showing workers hooking elephants and striking tigers; footage from factory farms where farmers are beating sick turkeys to death [...]

Sonia Sotomayor: Judicial Minimalism and the Court of Last Resort

By |2019-03-07T22:42:31-04:00June 12th, 2009|Blog|

Last week, we analyzed cases from the Second Circuit, in which Sonia Sotomayor had some part in deciding, addressing the right to free expression. Still the Supreme Court’s role, and Sotomayor’s judicial style make it difficult to make a broad statement about how she will decide on free expression issues  in the years to come. […]