First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech... more +
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech or the press, preventing citizens from peacefully assembling, or interfering with citizens' ability to petition the government for redress of their grievances. The First Amendment is one of the most sacred aspects of the American legal tradition and has spawned a vast body of jurisprudence and commentary. less -
News & Analysis as of

Trademark Review | March 2015

Registration Cancelled Where Services Related to Mark Not Provided - Playdom, Inc. filed a petition to cancel Couture’s mark, arguing that the registration was void because Couture did not use the mark in commerce as of...more

County's Decision to Reject Controversial Ad Did Not Violate the First Amendment

Rejecting a First Amendment challenge, a county can choose to not run an advertisement on its own bus system if it might cause vandalism and violence, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held this week. The court...more

Ninth Circuit Draws Clear Distinction Between California's Meeting Disruption Statutes

Skid Row Demonstration Disrupts a Neighborhood “Walk,” But Police Make an Arrest for the Wrong Violation - A Los Angeles Skid Row advocacy group faced off against those participating in a “walk” through the Skid Row...more

What You Didn’t Say Can Be Used Against You in a Court of Law: Perceived Speech is Not Protected Speech

What some might charitably consider a loophole in First Amendment protections of public employees received deferential treatment recently by the Third Circuit. ...more

Your Mom and the Courts Agree: Naked Online Pix are Not OK

Since the 1990s and the rise of the Internet and social media, each one of us has become increasingly aware of the risks and dangers of unwanted posts and how fast a “discreet” image can go viral....more

Crying Over (Virtual) Spilled Milk: ACLU Sues School District For Firing Employee Who Posted Vegan Beliefs Online

A recent lawsuit out of Ohio brings a local flare to what has otherwise become a relatively common story. We’ve all heard of teachers being disciplined or dismissed for posting something thoughtless online that led to...more

Delaware Legislature Introduces Rapid Arbitration Act

The Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act, House Bill 49, was recently introduced in the Delaware General Assembly. The proposed Act would establish a streamlined arbitration procedure to resolve disputes involving Delaware business...more

California Jury Finds “Blurred Lines” Infringed “Got to Give It Up”: Society’s Mixed Signals on Copying and Intellectual Property...

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, a California federal jury returned a verdict finding that Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” when writing Thicke’s 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines.”...more

SLAPP’d in Orange County: Court of Appeal Confirms Right to Recover Post-Judgment Fees

California has an anti-SLAPP law that protects defendants from lawsuits brought to chill their First Amendment rights. The anti-SLAPP law, Code of Civil Procedure, section 425.16, provides “for the early dismissal of...more

Supreme Court Update: Perez V. Mortgage Bankers ASS'n (13-1041), Dep't Of Transportation V. ASS'n Of American Railroads (13-1080)...

It's been a great week for admin-law junkies; maybe not so much for the D.C. Circuit, which suffered two unanimous reversals in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass'n (13-1041) and Dep't of Transportation v. Ass'n of American...more

Bob Latham Speaks: Satire and Democracy

In the past two months, the role of satire in a free society has been front and center, once for tragic reasons and several times for sentimental reasons. The horrifying and outrageous murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices in...more

Does the E.U. “Right to be Forgotten” Pose a Threat to Companies in U.S.?

Even observed from “across the pond,” the right of European Union (“E.U.”) consumers to compel an Internet search engine to de-link specific personal information of the consumer from certain search results – the “Right to be...more

SLAPP’d in Corona: Anti-SLAPP Protection not Applicable to Claims against Homebuilder Shea Homes

This post is the latest in a series of posts about California’s anti-SLAPP law. California’s anti-SLAPP law (Code of Civil Procedure, section 425.16) protects defendants from lawsuits brought to chill their First Amendment...more

Blog: Will Congress Revisit The Conflict Minerals Rule?

According to a Bloomberg BNA report, a representative of the Chamber of Commerce, one of the plaintiffs in National Association of Manufacturers, Inc. v. SEC, the conflict minerals case currently pending in the DC Circuit,...more

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Online Threats Are Illegal

As the internet continues to swiftly transform the way we do business, shop and socialize, it also offers a new platform for those with more criminal or malicious intentions. While some of these activities are clearly...more

Blog: House Republicans Pressure SEC To End Court Battle Over Conflict Minerals Rule

According to this article from The Washington Post with Bloomberg, in February, House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling and three other House members (Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Bill Huizenga of Michigan,...more

Ruling in First Amendment Suit Strikes Down Charlottesville Panhandling Ordinance

My office off of Charlottesville’s downtown mall provides me with a great view of each day’s activities in this lively pedestrian space. On any given day, I can see the street musicians, vendors, or the blindfolded...more

Celebrity SLAPP’d in Los Angeles: Lawsuit arising from American Idol Negotiations Reinstated

California has an anti-SLAPP law that protects defendants from lawsuits brought to chill their First Amendment rights. When the anti-SLAPP law applies, a defendant can obtain a fast dismissal at the early stage of the...more

Free Speech & Pharmaceutical Promotion — U.S. ex rel. Solis v. Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Off-label prescription drug use — using drugs to treat ailments not indicated on FDA-approved labeling — is among the thorniest legal issues facing the pharmaceutical sector. On one hand, off-label prescriptions are lawful...more

Spiritual Director Doesn't Have a Prayer When it Comes to Her Discrimination and Termination Claims

Religious employers can rejoice once again, as yet another court upholds the ministerial exception and dismisses an employee's discrimination and termination claims....more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Anonymity of Internet Poster

In the closing days of its January term, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hadley v. Subscriber Doe. Hadley poses the question of whether the defendant is entitled to quash the plaintiff’s subpoena seeking to...more

Texas Federal Court Rejects Challenge to ‘No Credit Card Surcharge’ Law

A federal district court in Texas has dismissed a lawsuit brought by several merchants challenging the constitutionality of a state law that prohibits merchants from imposing a surcharge on credit card purchases. In Rowell v....more

Governor Rauner Issues Order Eliminating Fair Share Fees

Yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Executive Order 15-13 eliminating “fair share” fees paid by state employees who choose not to join a union. At the same time, Rauner filed a complaint in federal court seeking a...more

"Courts Parse First Amendment Protections for Anonymous Critics Online"

The Supreme Court has long recognized that the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment extends to anonymous speech, noting that “persecuted groups and sects … throughout history have been able to criticize...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FTC Ruling on Deceptive Advertising; Rejects First Amendment Challenge

In a much-awaited decision on Friday, January 30, the D.C. Circuit upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s decision that pomegranate juice maker POM Wonderful LLC engaged in false or misleading advertising by claiming its...more

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