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

Washington Redskins Challenge the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act

The Washington Redskins trademark controversy is far from over. Despite the fact that certain news and sports commentators and mainstream newspapers and organizations have announced that they will no longer use the term...more

Renowned Architect Wins Retraction From The New York Review of Books

On August 25, 2014, The New York Review of Books issued a retraction in response to a defamation suit filed in New York State Court by well-known architect Zaha Hadid. Hadid was selected to design one of the stadiums for the...more

Food and Beverage News and Trends

Vermont AG defends the state’s GMO statute. On August 8, the Vermont attorney general filed a motion to dismiss a case brought by food trade groups against the state’s newly enacted statute requiring GMO foods be...more

A Moment of Simple Justice - Ferguson [Video]

August 26, 2014 (Mimesis Law) -- Scott talks about how the police response to the Mike Brown protests in Ferguson, Missouri spells big trouble for the rest of America....more

Ninth Circuit Holds Alleged Retaliatory Actions Must Be Viewed in Context For Purposes of a First Amendment Retaliation Claim

In Wendy Thomas, et al v. County of Riverside, et al, the Ninth Circuit considered whether the District Court properly granted summary judgment of an employee’s First Amendment retaliation claim in favor of the employer....more

Doctor’s Slapp at Yelp Reviewer Largely Dismissed by DC Superior Court

Yelp, and websites like it, have certainly added to the development of law in the First Amendment area. The Virginia Supreme Court is poised to decide the standard for unmasking anonymous commentators on websites like Yelp. ...more

Update: District Court Finds First Amendment Does Not Protect Former Guidance Counselor’s Sexually-Explicit Book

The Northern District Court of Illinois found that Rich Township High School District 227 did not violate the free speech rights of former guidance counselor and girls’ basketball coach Bryan Craig when it dismissed him based...more

The Food Fight Continues: Vermont AG Seeks to Dismiss Lawsuit Against GMO Labeling Law

In June, we reported on a suit brought by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (“GMA”) seeking to rescind Vermont’s new GMO-labeling statute, Act 120. As we explained in that post, the GMA argues that Act 120 is doubly...more

SCOTUS Affirms Right to Blow Your Whistle in Public Sector

There has long been tension in the public sector regarding an employee’s duties as an agent of the state and his or her right as an individual to freedom of speech. In a decision handed down in June of 2014, the United States...more

English Teacher’s Blog Post Ruled As Unprotected Speech

A Pennsylvania District Court dismissed teacher Natalie Munroe’s violation of free speech claim against the Central Bucks School District. Ms. Munroe accused the School District and some administrators for violating her free...more

A Review of the Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 Term

The United States Supreme Court concluded its 2013-2014 term by issuing decisions in several highly publicized employment and employee benefits cases during the Court’s final scheduled sessions, including Noel Canning,...more

Social Media Freedom of Expression Cases Pit the Public Against Public Officials

In perhaps the next battleground for government and education, citizens who comment on social media sites are facing off with local government officials public and school administrators who find their online expression...more

New Decision Bodes Well for SEC in Conflict Minerals Case

In April 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held the SEC’s conflict minerals rule and statute embodied in Dodd-Frank violate the First Amendment to the extent the statute and rule require...more

Rooting Out Conflict Minerals

If your company manufactures consumer electronics, avionics, or any product incorporating even trace amounts of gold, coltan, cassiterite, or wolframite— including their derivatives, tantalum, tin, and tungsten—you may need...more

Public Sector Unions Take a Hit in Recent Supreme Court Decision

The United States Supreme Court recently held in Harris v. Quinn that the First Amendment protects certain "quasi-public" employees from being forced to pay fees to a public sector labor union that they don't support. While...more

Dealing with the Dangers of Online Reviewing

Law tries to find the line between protecting speech and punishing defamation - Online review websites, such as Yelp or Angie’s List, have become a common forum for griping. They give a voice to past customers to...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

First Amendment Protects Public Employees Who Give Truthful, Sworn Testimony Outside The Scope Of Their Ordinary Job Duties From...

In Lane v. Franks, et al, Edward Lane was discharged as a program director at a state college after testifying in a criminal, public corruption case against an Alabama State Representative. Lane had previously discharged the...more

Message Board Post Highly Critical of Company is Opinion and Thus Not Defamatory

An essential defense to a defamation claim is "pure opinion." In other words, if the defendant can show that the statements alleged to be defamatory are opinions protected under the relevant free speech laws, the defamation...more

Supreme Court Invalidates Union Fee Requirements Imposed on Homecare Employees

On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Illinois law that required homecare providers for Medicaid recipients to pay fees to a union. In Harris v. Quinn, the Court held that compulsory union agency fees imposed on...more

Supreme Court To Hear Sign-Ordinance Case

On July 1, 2014, the Supreme Court granted cert in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, a case in which the Ninth Circuit upheld the Town of Gilbert’s sign ordinance against a First-Amendment challenge. The case could directly impact...more

Defeating “Libel Tourism” under Mississippi law and the SPEECH Act

In Trout Point Lodge, Ltd. v. Handshoe, 729 F.3d 481 (5th Cir. 2013), the Fifth Circuit became the first appellate court in the country to interpret the Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Established Constitutional...more

Bullying: Slowly But Surely, the Law Recognizes an Age-Old Problem

How far is too far when it comes to protecting your child from an alleged school bully? A mother in Santa Rosa, California may very well have pushed the limits of good parenting in attempts to protect her daughter earlier...more

Editorial: High Court Is Swinging Pendulum Back On 4th Amendment

Fourth Amendment law is anything but static. If one surveys the jurisprudential landscape over the last 50 years, there are three amendments that the U.S. Supreme Court cannot leave alone: the First, the Fourth and the Fifth....more

A History Of Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP Legislation As A Vehicle For Protecting First Amendment Petitioning Activity From...

Before the passage of anti-SLAPP legislation, citizens engaged in First Amendment petitioning activity often found themselves the targets of retaliatory lawsuits. For example, a group of neighbors might speak out at a local...more

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