Communications & Media Constitutional Law Elections & Politics

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Federal Judge: Arkansas Law Prohibiting Political Robocalls is Unconstitutional

A federal judge in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Arkansas recently held that an Arkansas state law prohibiting political robocalls is unconstitutional. Under the Arkansas Code, - It is unlawful for...more

Arkansas Ban on Political Robocalls Struck Down

A federal judge for the District Court in Little Rock, Arkansas ruled this week that a 1981 State law banning political robocalls is unconstitutional. The ruling comes less than a year after a federal court overturned a...more

The Death Of Alexander Hamilton And The Birth Of The American Free Press

Alexander Hamilton has more to do with American independence than you might think. His efforts as a Founding Father (the hottest Founding Father on Broadway, it should be noted) helped the United States achieve political...more

TCPA Under Scrutiny in Court and by Senate

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and a 2015 omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order (2015 Order) interpreting the TCPA issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have recently faced additional challenges...more

Are Changes in Store for the Stored Communications Act?

Last week saw action on two fronts regarding the Stored Communications Act (SCA) – the US federal statute regulating government searches of online accounts in criminal investigations. In Congress, a proposal to reform the SCA...more

Miller Canfield Secures Court Order Stopping Enforcement of Law Barring Objectively Neutral Speech by Public Officials

On February 5, 2016, United States District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara issued an Opinion and Order granting a preliminary injunction and blocking enforcement of §57(3) of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, which barred...more

Media and political campaigns: From the era of free air time to that of free online advertising

The increasing influence of mass media in political campaigns has been an issue of concern for campaign finance regulators worldwide during the past decades. The role of media often goes beyond merely informing the citizens...more

Federal District Court Strikes Down Law That Bans Ballot Selfies

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire recently struck down on First Amendment grounds a 2014 amendment to New Hampshire Revised Statute 659:35 that made it illegal for New Hampshire voters to post pictures...more

Anti-robocalling statute banning automated political calls found unconstitutional

On August 6, 2015, the Fourth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision that the South Carolina anti-robocall statute was unconstitutional. The South Carolina robocall statute targeted automated telephone calls that were...more

California Bill Requiring Mobile, Cloud Search Warrants Advances

On July 14, 2015, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“Cal-ECPA”) unanimously passed the California State Assembly’s public safety committee. The bill would forbid warrantless cellular “stingrays” as well...more

Rand Paul And The Expiration Of The Patriot Act

During the last weekend in May, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul did something that is not easy to do – he managed to anger most Republicans and Democrats, the Senate Majority Leader (who is also the senior senator from Kentucky),...more

Another Bill to Expand the Wire Act: Bad Law Clothed in a Lie

This past week’s focus on the presence of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol (and elsewhere) brought back to the fore the specter of “states’ rights” – the seemingly high-minded excuse...more

Federal anti-SLAPP Statute Proposed in Congress

With the District of Columbia Circuit holding that the DC anti-SLAPP act does not apply in federal court, and at least four judges in the Ninth Circuit concluding that Circuit erred in applying state anti-SLAPP statutes in...more

Wake-Up Call: Second Circuit Declares NSA’s Mass Telephone Surveillance Program Illegal; Defers Injunction While Congress Ponders...

Whatever your opinion of Edward Snowden, the shockwaves from his leaks of classified material continue to roil all three branches of the federal government. The latest wave broke last week when the United States Court of...more

Arkansas Narrowly Avoids Enactment Of Sweeping Publicity Rights Statute

Yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed Senate Bill 79. Governor Hutchinson noted that, while the intent of the bill was to “protect the names, voices, signatures, photographs and likenesses of the citizens of...more

Appellate Court Affirms Anti-SLAPP Dismissal of Defamation Lawsuit by Political Candidate

On October 30, in Goral v. Kulys, the Illinois First District Appellate Court affirmed dismissal of a defamation suit pursuant to the Illinois Citizen Participation Act, 735 ILCS 110/1 et seq. (the “Act”). The Goral decision...more

November Elections Impact the Food & Beverage Industry (Part 1)

Bids to require mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) were voted down in Colorado and Oregon on Tuesday. Colorado voters rejected Proposition 105, with nearly 70% of voters saying no;...more

Duke, Hershey, and Winston: Who gets to trademark a famous name?

Common sense tells you that you can always use your own name. But under trademark law, that’s not always true. Three recent cases illustrate this conundrum, which plays a major role in many Internet marketing and domain name...more

Californians To Vote On Stripping Common Cause Of Its First Amendment Rights

I recently wrote about SB 1272 (Lieu) which calls a special election for this November 4 at which California voters will be able to cast an advisory vote on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to overturn the U.S....more

UPDATE: Supreme Court Denies Certiorari For Challenge to Regulation of Speech on Public Broadcast Stations

Two weeks ago, we speculated that the Court would grant certiorari in Minority Television Project, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission (9th Cir. 2013) 736 F.3d 1192 (en banc) (lead opn. of McKeown, J.). In the case, a...more

Supreme Court To Consider Cert. For FCC Regulation Speech On Public Broadcasting Stations

Federal law prohibits non-commercial broadcasters from airing paid advertisements (a) for for-profit entities, (b) issues of public importance or interest, and (c) political candidates. In Minority Television Project, Inc....more

Nancy Hamilton's Notes: 18½ Minutes vs. 2 Years: Then and Now

During the Watergate scandal of 1973 and 1974, which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the Nixon White House tapes were the focal point of a media firestorm and the nation's rapt attention,...more

Supreme Court Decides Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

On June 16, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, No. 13-193, holding that a credible threat of enforcement of a law is sufficient to establish an Article III injury in fact....more

Hershey Is Not So Sweet on Maryland Senator’s HERSHEY Campaign Logo

When you think of The Hershey Company, you think of delicious chocolate candy bars, chocolate kisses, and a fabulous amusement park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The company’s brown candy bar wrappers with the HERSHEY’S trademark...more

U.S. House Approves Law Targeting Sex Trafficking Ads, Threatens to Undermine Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

On May 20, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2014 (“SAVE Act”). If enacted, the bill would expose websites and other media to federal criminal penalties for...more

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