Category
Commentary and Analysis
Scales of Justice

Divided Federal Appeals Panel Reinstates Prisoner Rights Group’s First Amendment Challenge to Jail’s Postcard-Only Policy

A prisoner rights group had its First Amendment claim against an Arkansas county’s ban on inmate mail other than postcards reinstated by a divided federal appeals court panel. The panel reasoned that the district court needed to make factual findings on whether there were other ways the prisoner rights group could have communicated with the inmates.  

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Colorado Supreme Court Rejects First Amendment Challenge to Lawyer Disciplinary Rule

A Colorado rule prohibiting lawyers from referring to individuals during a legal process with language exhibiting bias or animus on the basis of sexual orientation does not violate the First Amendment, the state’s high court has ruled. The ruling came in the case of an attorney who was disciplined for calling a judge a “gay, fat, fag.”  

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Divided Federal Appeals Court Panel Rules that Palm Beach Man’s Mansion is Not Expressive Conduct

Is a house – even a carefully planned 20,000 square foot mansion – a form of expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment or is it primarily a place to eat, sleep, and live without expressive elements?  That was the question that led to a spirited debate among a sharply divided three-judge panel of the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Burns v. Town of Palm Beach.  

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Scales of Justice

Minnesota Appeals Courts Finds Substantial Truth Doctrine Protects Online Reviewer

A former customer’s online review of a person and business who worked on her home was not defamatory because the challenged statements in the review were substantially true, a Minnesota appeals court has ruled.  

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Stanford Law School Sends the Wrong Message About Satire, Protected Speech with Investigation of Student

One would think that those running Stanford Law School—an elite law school within an elite university—would know well what students’ First Amendment rights are, and what speech is protected by those rights. That’s why it was so jarring to see administrators there recently threaten a student’s graduation over a satirical email he sent to the law school community.

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Federal Appeals Rejects Free-Speech Challenge to Relocation of Confederate Monument, Rules It is Government Speech

Confederate heritage supporters who sued the city of Lakeland, Florida for removing a Confederate monument, lost their free-speech challenge because a federal appeals court ruled that the monuments are a form of government speech, and as such, are immune from First Amendment review. 

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Arizona Law, Already Vetoed Once by Governor Ducey, Still Threatens First Amendment Rights in Education

The Arizona state legislature continues to consider a bill that would drastically curtail LGBTQ-themed education and discussion in the state’s K-12 schools. Despite already being vetoed once by Governor Doug Ducey due to its obvious First Amendment problems, the proposed law has been brought back by its legislative sponsor. If passed, the law would squelch important and timely expression in educational institutions throughout the state.

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Scale of justice

Federal Court Ruling Invalidates Georgia’s Anti-BDS Law on First Amendment Grounds

A federal judge’s recent decision on Georgia’s law against the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement signals a win for the First Amendment and for the right to protest peacefully.

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