First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
Court Term: 2002-2003
   Petitions Filed
 
Freedom of Expression
 
  Review Granted
  Eldred v. Ashcroft
  Whether the First Amendment or the Copyright Clause of the Constitution constrains the Congress from extending for a period of years the duration of copy- rights, both those already extant and those yet to come.
  Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont
  Whether certain advocacy groups can contribute to candidates’ campaigns. Currently, only individuals, political action committees, political parties and other campaign committees can give to candidates. More specifically, the issue is whether North Carolina Right to Life and other nonprofit advocacy corporations -- groups that raise money not through business ventures but through donations from supporters -- can make campaign contributions. Such groups have neither business interests nor shareholders.
  Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates, Inc.
  Whether the state attorney general’s complaint operates to limit defendants’ ability to engage in solicitation-an activity protected by the first amendment. General issue: how much First Amendment protection should be given to the business of charitable solicitation, including telemarketers?
  Nike v. Kasky
  Whether, consistent with the First Amendment, Nike, Inc. can be sued for violating state consumer-protection laws concerning allegedly false advertising when such statements were made in response to charges by Nike’s critics and concerned wages, treatment and safety conditions of Nike’s workers at overseas factories.
  Overton v. Bazzetta
  At issue are a series of rules promulgated by the Michigan Department of Corrections governing visits to prisoners by outsiders. Visits by prisoners' minor brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews were banned, as were visits by former inmates and others. And if an inmate violated the department's drug-abuse policies twice, all visitors were banned except for lawyers and clergy. Michelle Bazzetta and other inmates challenged the regulations as a violation of their due-process rights, the First Amendment right of association and of other privacy-related rights to maintain family relationships.
  United States v. American Library Association, Inc.
  Whether the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) induces public libraries to violate the 1st Amendment, thereby exceeding Congress's power under the Spending Clause by providing that a library that is otherwise eligible for special federal assistance for Internet access in the form of discount rates for educational purposes under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. 254(h), or grants under the Library Services and Technology Act, 20 U.S.C. 9121 et seq., may not receive that assistance unless the library has in place a policy that includes the operation of a “technology protection measure” on Internet-connected computers that protects against access by all persons to “visual depictions” that are “obscene” or “child pornography,” and that protects against access by minors to “visual depictions” that are “harmful to minors,” a condition of the receipt of federal funding.
  Virginia v. Black
  Whether a state statute that prohibits the burning of a cross with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, impermissibly infringes upon freedom of speech and is unconstitutional on its face because it prohibits otherwise permitted speech solely on the basis of its content.
  Virginia v. Hicks
  Whether a state redevelopment and housing authority's trespass policy is overly broad and thereby violates the First Amendment. Overbreadth and standing.
 Petitions for Review (pending cases)
  Anderson v. Treadwell
  Commercial speech. Challenge of a New York statute that makes it illegal for real estate agents to direct in-home solicitations to homeowners who have registered their desire not to receive such solicitations. Issue: whether a state's regulation of residential real estate solicitations by licensed real estate salespersons violates their free speech rights under the First Amendment.
  Brown v. Li
  The extent to which the First Amend. and due process guarantees are implicated when a graduate student’s thesis committee declines to approve a thesis that meets academic and professional standards in all respects except one: The acknowledgments section does not conform to established academic and professional standards. In a section titled “Disacknowledgements,” Christopher Todd Brown wrote: “I would like to offer special Fuck You’s to The following degenerates for of being an ever-present hindrance during my graduate career . . . .
  Carrasco v. Arizona
  A criminal defense attorney was convicted of obstructing justice on the basis of his conduct in making false representations to gain access to a shelter for abused women. On the basis of that representation the lawyer gained access to the person who complained of sexual abuse by attorney’s client. Attorney then told the complainant that she need not talk with the police. Did the obstruction of justice conviction violate defendant’s First Amend. rights? If so, can the defendant’s conviction stand?
  Cartwright v. Perdue
  Ballot access for minority candidate. Can a ballot access restriction for minority party candidates for U.S. House of Representatives ever be so severe that its should be classified as an impermissible hardship under the First Amendment as interpreted in Jenness v. Fortson (1971)?
  Colombo v. O’Connell
  Plaintiff Lydia Colombo brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions against the defendant, Raymond O'Connell, the Superintendent of Schools for the Town of Stratford, claiming that O’Connell violated her First Amendment right to free speech. The violation, Colombo claims, occurred when O’Connell threatened to sue her civilly for libel after she filed a petition for a recall vote of the Town of Stratford Board of Education that alleged “‘illegal and unethical behavior on the part of O’Connell.’” The District Court held that Colombo did not allege any facts demonstrating injury to -- or indeed, any affect whatsoever on -- Colombo’s exercise of her free speech rights, and granted summary judgment to the defendant.
  Craft v. Georgia
  Child pornography & sufficiency of evidence.
  DCH Health Care Authority v. Mangieri
  First Amendment challenge to retaliatory non-renewal.
  Edwards v. Acadia Realty Trust, Inc.
  First Amend. standing issue.
  First Unitarian Church v. Salt Lake City
  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought a block of Main Street adjacent to its temple in 1999 from the city. A public easement guaranteed 24-hour public access to the plaza. The sale came with a provision that the church would be able to regulate speech, behavior and dress on the property. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled those restrictions were unconstitutional, after religious and civil rights groups sued. The church would have to allow free-speech activities just like on any other city sidewalk, the court said. The easement was held to be a public forum. (AP story) (First Amend. access claim sustained by lower court) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought a block of Main Street adjacent to its temple in 1999 from the city. A public easement guaranteed 24-hour public access to the plaza. The sale came with a provision that the church would be able to regulate speech, behavior and dress on the property. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled those restrictions were unconstitutional, after religious and civil rights groups sued. The church would have to allow free-speech activities just like on any other city sidewalk, the court said. The easement was held to be a public forum.
  Ford Marrin Esposito Witmeyer & Gleser, LLP v. Fitzgerald
  Hostile work environment/ held: sexual talk and vulgar terms was not hostile or abusive to a severe or extreme degree.
  Fulton County, Ga. v. Webster
  First Amend., independent contractors and retaliation against bidder that filed lawsuit alleging disparate treatment and racial bias.
  International Union of Operating Engineers v. Lowe Excavating Co.
  Trade defamation: claim that union engaged in false picketing statements
  Kahn v. White
  Khan sued defendant White in her capacity as the Director of Federal-State Operations for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). He claimed White violated his constitutional rights and the agency's statutory mandates by her handling of his questions and claims about a highly toxic cleaner used at his employment several years earlier. At his request, the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division (UOSH) investigated his charges that the cleaner was toxic and was applied inappropriately. Dissatisfied with the UOSH's response, Mr. Khan turned to OSHA, where he corresponded with Ms. White. In the course of the correspondence, Ms. White informed Mr. Khan that no further action would be taken with regard to his charges. Mr. Khan's complaint alleged that Ms. White's acts and omissions violated his First and Fifth Amendment rights, subjecting her to liability under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics (1971).
  Matthews v. Columbia County, Georgia
  Should county government be responsible for retaliating against whistleblower in violation of First Amendment when motive to retaliate was shared by only a minority of the voting members of local government body?
  Monts v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University A & M College
  Retaliatory discharge: plaintiff claims that he was terminated for reporting unethical and hazardous practices to his supervisors.
  Nicklas v. Eagle
  Does the “public concern” requirement of Connick v. Myers (1983) -- under which the First Amendment does not prohibit an employer from retaliating against a public employee for exercising free speech rights unless such speech involves a matter of “public concern” – apply to retaliation for exercising right of access to courts under the petition clause of the First Amendment?
  Oulton v. Wyndham Foundation, Inc.
  Housing covenants & requirement to remove flagpole.
  Pennington v. Helwig
  Section 1983 action by court employees against newly elected judge alleging unlawful discharge from their jobs in retaliation for their support of rival judge. Summary judgment claim by defendant judge denied.
  Scicchitano v. Mt. Carmel Area School Board
  Public school dress code. Display of protest slogan.
  Steam Press Holdings, Inc. v. Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Local
  In the course of a labor dispute, Mel Kahele (a union president) told a number of employees of the Steam Press Holdings that Michael Drace (Steam Press’ owner) was “making money” and “hiding it in Steam Press.” Drace sued Kahele for defamation. A federal district court awarded Drace $50,000 to compensate him for injury to his reputation and $50,000 in emotional distress damages. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment, holding that Kahele’s statements about Drace were an expression of opinion (“a call to arms”). As such, the court reasoned, they were not statements of fact and were not therefore susceptible to being proven true or false. Issue: Does the Ninth Circuit’s holding that factual defamatory statements must be treated as protected opinions, simply because they are made in the context of a labor dispute, conflict with the Court’s ruling in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal (1990)?
 Review Denied
  American Coalition for Life Activists v. Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette, Inc.
  Anti-abortion activists intimidated abortion providers by publishing their names and addresses, including publication on a website. A jury awarded more than $100 million in actual and punitive damages against the activists, and the district court enjoined their speech.
  BellSouth Advertising & Publishing Corp. v. Tennessee Regulatory Authority
  Commercial speech & state regulation of telephone directories. Issue: whether a state regulatory agency has the authority to require that the names and logos of local telephone service providers who compete with BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. be included on the cover of white pages telephone directories published by BellSouth Advertising & Publishing Corporation on behalf of BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc.
  Borgner v. Florida Board of Dentistry
  Commercial speech, dentists, advertising, disclaimers/ issue: whether the disclosure provision of Florida Statutes, which requires Florida-licensed dentists to include disclaimers when advertising specialty areas not recognized by the state and when advertising credentials from non-state approved credentialing organizations, places an unconstitutional ban on commercial speech.
  Brown v. Bayless
  Whether the First Amendment freedom of association rights of independent presidential candidates were impermissibly burdened by state statute that effectively required such candidates to file nomination petition with secretary of state one or two months earlier than political party candidates.
  Case & Point, Inc. v. Dallas, Texas
  Secondary effects doctrine: Whether under City of Los Angels v. Alameda Books (2002) a city is required to demonstrate with empirical data that its sexually oriented business ordinance will successfully lower crime. Court upheld city ordinance that forced dance halls to require dancers to wear bikini tops, rather than pasties, in order to avoid being classified as a sexually oriented business subject to stringent zoning restrictions. The local law was reasonably supported by study showing link between SOBs and secondary effects of crime, even though study included no findings on whether change in dancer’s attire from pasties to bikini tops would affect secondary effects.
  Casino Association of Louisiana, Inc. v. Louisiana
  Ban on campaign contributions by casino industry
  Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Landrum
  State regulation of political advertisements aired shortly before the election for members of the Mississippi Supreme Court. During the 2000 election season, the Chamber ran four television commercials describing the background and qualifications of candidates seeking positions on the court. The defendant state officials initiated a review of the advertisements to determine whether they were subject to a Mississippi statute that requires the disclosure of “independent expenditures” that "expressly advocate" the election or defeat of a specific candidate. In response, the Chamber sought a declaratory judgment that its advertisements were not subject to the disclosure law. The district court held that the advertisements were subject to state regulation because reasonable minds could not differ that the advertisements advocate the election of the specified candidates.
  Cobb v. Time, Inc.
  Issue concerns actual malice and question of independent review re jury verdict favoring public figure professional boxer who sued sports magazine re story about “fixing” fight.
  Dorsett v. Louisiana Tech University
  Action brought tenured professor challenging university’s hiring and administrative practices.
  Federal Heights, Colorado v. Essence, Inc.
  Nude dancing, age restrictions. Two women barred from being nude dancers because they were younger than 21.
  Fiesel v. Cherry
  Freedom of speech and discipline of state employees. Fiesel brought suit against employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, alleging that they used their positions to abridge his First Amendment right to freedom of speech, thereby rendering them culpable for violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
  Frank v. Akron, Ohio
  Elections & local campaign finance law: (1) non-cash contribution limits; (2) limits on cash contributions; and (3) home-address disclosure requirement.
  Freeh v. Trulock
  Whether former FBI director Louis Freeh and others were protected from the lawsuit, filed by an Energy Department employee who claimed Chinese spies had penetrated U.S. weapons laboratories. In order to state a First Amend. retaliation claim, must plaintiffs allege that defendants’ conduct has curtailed plaintiffs’ allegedly protected speech?
  Green v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
  Defamation: publication of allegations & opinions / privacy.
  Grid Radio v. F.C.C.
  Whether the F.C.C. violated the free-speech rights of an electrician who started a radio station for homosexual listeners without getting a license.
  Griffin v. Dept. of Veteran Affairs
  Whether federal officials’ refusal to fly a Confederate flag daily at a Civil War cemetery in Maryland violated the First Amendment.
  Gun Owners’ Action League, Inc. v. Swift
  Whether a state law restricting target shooting at human images violates the First Amendment.
  Harrah v. United States
  Are portions of the 1974 Privacy Act unconstitutional as prior restraints on communication prohibited by law?
  Huntsinger v. Board of Directors of E-470 Public Highway Authority
  First Amend. & retaliatory discharge: trial court held that the First Amend. was not violated by discharge of a public highway authority whose husband was owed money under a promissory note from firm that was bidding on a project with highway authority, and who was fired for violating authority rules.
  Jakes Ltd. v. Coates, Minnesota
  Secondary effects: zoning sexually oriented businesses. Whether the First Amendment bars a municipality from zoning sexually oriented businesses in a given way. There was a question as to adequacy of secondary effects findings.
  James v. Meow Media, Inc
  Lawsuit blaming video game makers and entertainment companies for a deadly 1997 school shooting spree in Kentucky. Sixth Circuit upheld the dismissal of the $33 million suit against Midway Games Inc., Capcom Entertainment, Sega of America Inc., New Line Cinema.
  Jewell v. Cox Enterprises
  Defamation case. Whether, consistent with the First Amendment, Richard Jewell can sue re claims that he was defamed by a newspaper that reported he was a suspect in the 1996 bombing at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.
  LLEH Inc. v. Wichita County
  Nude dancing & zoning of sexually oriented business; secondary effects: Whether studies of secondary effects in urban areas are sufficient to warrant certain restrictions on nude dancers working in adult business located in unincorporated areas.
  May v. Brewer
  Campaign finance. Arizona campaign finance law imposes a surcharge on civil and criminal fines to provide public funding for campaigns of qualifying candidates for certain elected offices. The Arizona Supreme Court held that the law does not compel payers to associate with any group message or burden the exercise of their speech. Held that law is viewpoint neutral. Issues: May the state single out a discrete group to involuntary bear financial burden of public campaign subsidy program? And, re compelled speech, do the decisions in Abood v. Detroit Bd. Of Education (1977), Keller v. California State Bar (1990), and United States v. United Foods (2001) create a general rule to which Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Wisconsin Sys. v. Southworth (200) is an exception? Or does Southworth extend to compelled speech beyond the university setting?
  Moore v. Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America
  State regulation of political advertisements aired shortly before the election for members of the Mississippi Supreme Court. During the 2000 election season, the Chamber ran four television commercials describing the background and qualifications of candidates seeking positions on the court. The defendant state officials initiated a review of the advertisements to determine whether they were subject to a Mississippi statute that requires the disclosure of “independent expenditures” that "expressly advocate" the election or defeat of a specific candidate. In response, the Chamber sought a declaratory judgment that its advertisements were not subject to the disclosure law. The district court held that the advertisements were subject to state regulation because reasonable minds could not differ that the advertisements advocate the election of the specified candidates.
  Nader v. Blackwell
  Whether candidates who qualify for the Ohio ballot by petition are entitled to a partisan label on the November ballot. Ohio decline to allow Ralph Nader to identify himself as a Green Party candidate on the 2000 presidential ballot.
  North Jersey Media Group, Inc. & New Jersey Law Journal v. Ashcroft
  Whether a government policy that blocks media and public access to immigration hearings of people detained after September 11. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied the First Amendment claim whereas the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sustained it.
  Norton v. Ashcroft
  Constitutionality of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. In part, the Act prohibits the “intentional interference and intimation of persons obtaining and providing reproductive health services” Commerce Clause & First Amend. challenges. Issue re First Amend.: Is petitioners’ as-applied challenge to FACE ripe for review if it is based solely on credible threats made by federal agents. Activities included peacefully handing out literature on sidewalk outside abortion clinic, which causes to stop in driveway and thereby block access to clinic in violation of FACE.
  Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. New Jersey
  Constitutionality of limits on media contact with discharged jurors in capital case.
  Regency Outdoor Advertising, Inc. v. Los Angeles
  First Amendment challenge by outdoor sign company alleging that local sign ordinance is content-based and/or that Cultural Affairs Commission enjoys unbridled discretion in deciding which signs may be erected.
  Richland Bookmart Inc. v. Nichols
  Secondary Effects: Whether a law limiting the hours of operation of adult businesses from 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, requiring the businesses to be closed on Sundays and holidays, and prohibiting closed booths where patrons can watch sexually explicit videos violated the First Amendment. The Legislature determined the law was necessary to combat what it termed the following harmful, secondary effects of adult businesses: “increased crime, downgrading of property values and spread of sexually transmitted and communicable diseases.”
  Shelby County School Dist. v. Cockrel
  Retaliatory firing of school teacher. Whether a Kentucky school district's firing of a fifth-grade teacher who invited actor Woody Harrelson to tell her students about the merits of industrial hemp violated the First Amendment.. The Court’s refusal means there will be a trial for Donna Cockrel to prove she was wrongly fired.
  Sinatra v. Keenan
  Son of Sam law: whether criminals in California who sell the rights to their stories must give the profits to their victims. The California Supreme Court ruled the law facially invalid under the First Amendment and the state Constitution to the extent that it permits seizure of all monies due a convicted felon from expressive materials that include the story of the crime; the ruling was unanimous.
  Stewart v. McCoy
  Criminal law: advice given to criminal street gang. Whether a state law that prohibits providing advice to criminals or encouraging criminal activity violates the First Amendment.
  Thomas v. Los Angeles Times Communications
  When a newspaper article contains defamatory implications, does the First Amend. protect the newspaper from intentionally withholding facts known prior to publication, that, if disclosed, would defeat defamatory implications?
  Unidentified Private Citizen v. McClatchy Newspapers, Inc.
  Press access to criminal sentencing ; redaction of individual’s name from court documents.
  Vargas-Harrison v. Racine, Wisconsin
  Public school principal: retaliatory demotion. Held that First Amend. was not violated when principal was demoted in retaliation for publicly speaking in opposition to the job-related policy-viewpoints of her superiors.
  White v. South Carolina
  Statutory limits on tattooing. Issue: whether people have a right to give or get tattoos.
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