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Justice Thomas & the First Amendment: voting record
 

Compiled by Alyssa Work
10.08.07

These tables show Justice Clarence Thomas’ voting record on selected topics. The charts list all the sexual-expression, commercial-speech, compelled-speech and campaign-speech cases in which Justice Thomas participated, beginning with the 1991-92 term, his first on the Supreme Court, through the 2006-07 term.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s voting record in these cases is offered to allow comparisons with Thomas’ votes, as the two justices often vote in agreement. Pluses (+) indicate a vote to uphold a First Amendment claim; minuses (-) show denial of a First Amendment claim.

Sexual-expression cases
Thomas’ vote Case Court’s vote Scalia’s vote
-
Joined Breyer’s majority opinion
City of Littleton v. Z.J. Gifts (2004) (9-0) - -
+
Joined Kennedy’s majority opinion
Ashcroft v. ACLU (2004) (5-4) + -
-
Joined Rehnquist’s majority opinion
United States v. ALA Inc. (2003) (6-3) - -
-
Authored majority opinion
Ashcroft v. ACLU (2002) (8-1) - -
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2002) (6-3) + -
-
Joined O’Connor’s majority opinion
City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books (2002) (5-4) - -
-
Joined Scalia’s concurrence
City of Erie v. PAP'S A.M. (2000) (7-2) - -
+
Authored a separate concurrence
United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group (2000) (5-4) + -
+
Joined Stevens’ majority opinion
Reno v. ACLU (1997) (9-0) + +
-
Joined Rehnquist’s majority opinion
Alexander v. United States (1993) (5-4) - -



Sexual-expression cases decided by 1 vote
Thomas’ vote Case
+
Joined Kennedy’s majority opinion
Ashcroft v. ACLU (2004)
-
Joined O’Connor’s majority opinion
City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books (2002)
+
Authored a separate concurrence
United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group (2000)
-
Joined Rehnquist’s majority opinion
Alexander v. United States (1993)



Commercial-speech cases
Thomas’ vote Case Court’s vote Scalia’s vote
+
Joined majority denial of certiorari
Nike v. Kasky (2003) (6-3) + +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Thompson v. Western States Medical Center (2002) (5-4) + +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly (2001) (5-4) + +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
United States v. United Foods Inc. (2001) (6-3) + +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Greater New Orleans Broadcasting Assn. v. U.S. (1999) (9-0) + +
-
Joined Scalia’s separate concurrence
Los Angeles Police Dept. v. United Reported Publishing Corp. (1999) (7-2) - -
+
Authored a separate dissent
Glickman v. Wileman Brothers & Elliott Inc. (1997) (5-4) - +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
44 Liquormart v. Rhode Island (1996) (9-0) + +
-
Joined O’Connor’s majority opinion
Florida Bar v. Went for It Inc. (1995) (5-4) + -
+
Authored the majority opinion
Rubin v. Coors Brewing Co. (1995) (9-0) + +
+
Joined Ginsburg’s majority opinion
Ibanez v. Florida Dept. of Business & Professional Regulation Board (1994) (7-2) + -
-
Joined Rehnquist’s dissent
City of Cincinnati v. Discovery Network (1993) (6-3) + +
+
Joined Kennedy’s majority opinion
Edenfield v. Fane (1993) (8-1) + +
-
Joined White’s majority opinion
United States v. Edge Broadcasting Co. (1993) (7-2) - -


Commercial-speech cases decided by 1 vote
Thomas’ vote Case
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Thompson v. Western States Medical Center (2002)
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly (2001)
+
Authored a separate dissent
Glickman v. Wileman Brothers & Elliott Inc. (1997)
-
Joined O’Connor’s majority opinion
Florida Bar v. Went for It Inc. (1995)


Compelled-speech cases
Thomas’ vote Case Court’s vote Scalia’s vote
-
Joined Roberts’ majority opinion
Rumsfeld v. FAIR (2006) (8-0) - -
-
Authored a separate concurrence
Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association (2005) (6-3) - -
-
Authored a separate concurrence
Nebraska Cattlemen Inc. v. Livestock Marketing Association (2005) (6-3) - -
-
Joined Scalia’s concurrence
Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates Inc. (2003) (9-0) - -
+
Authored a dissent
FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001) (5-4) - +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
United States v. United Foods Inc. (2001) (6-3) + +
-
Joined Kennedy’s majority opinion
Board of Regents v. Southworth (2000) (9-0) - -
+
Joined Rehnquist’s majority opinion
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000) (5-4) + +
+
Authored a separate dissent
Glickman v. Wileman Brothers & Elliott Inc. (1997) (5-4) - +
+
Joined Souter’s majority opinion
Hurley v. Irish-American GLIB Association (1995) (9-0) + +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1995) (7-2) + -


Compelled-speech cases decided by 1 vote
Thomas’ vote Case
+
Authored a dissent
FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001)
+
Joined Rehnquist’s majority opinion
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000)
+
Authored a separate dissent
Glickman v. Wileman Brothers & Elliott Inc. (1997)


Campaign-speech cases
Thomas’ vote Case Court’s vote Scalia’s vote
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Randall v. Sorrell (2006) (6-3) + +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Sorrell v. Randall (2006) (6-3) + +
+
Authored a separate concurrence
Vermont Republican State Committee et al. v. Sorrell (2006) (6-3) + +
+
Authored a dissent
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) (5-4) - +
+
Authored a dissent
Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont (2003) (7-2) - +
+
Joined Scalia’s majority opinion
Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002) (5-4) + +
+
Authored a dissent
FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001) (5-4) - +
+
Authored a dissent
Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC (2000) (6-3) - +
+
Authored a concurrence
Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee v. FEC (1996) (7-2) + +
-
Joined White’s majority opinion
Burdick v. Takushi (1992) (6-3) - -


Campaign-speech cases decided by 1 vote
Thomas’ vote Case
+
Authored a dissent
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003)
+
Joined Scalia’s majority opinion
Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002)
+
Authored a dissent
FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001)

Alyssa Work is an intern at the First Amendment Center.


Related

Chief Justice Rehnquist's First Amendment record

By Ronald K.L. Collins Lists, tables showing Chief Justice William Rehnquist's record on First Amendment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. 09.04.05

Online symposium: Justice Thomas & the First Amendment



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