First Amendment Free Speech

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

Connecticut Bolsters Employee Whistleblower Protection

Based on a new and unique interpretation of the state constitution, the Connecticut Supreme Court has greatly increased the potential exposure of employers to damage claims by whistleblowers. In Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: The Coming First Amendment Showdown

Are we heading for a constitutional showdown over Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act? Will the Supreme Court strike down this prohibition on disparaging marks as an abridgement of First Amendment rights? It is certainly...more

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again: FDA Sued Again in Off-Label Promotion Case

To quote the late Yogi Berra, it must feel like déjà vu all over again for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (or, if you prefer, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s song, “Déjà Vu” (“We have all been here before”)). Fresh off...more

Businesses rejoice but poster beware: Yelp ordered to identify anonymous reviewer

Many business have suffered the misery and frustration of a harshly negative, anonymous online review. That anonymity, critics argue, frees the reviewer from worries about the need for accuracy and, worse yet, encourages the...more

Judge Orders Yelp to Identify Anonymous Negative Commenter

On September 15, a judge in Boston ruled that Yelp must reveal the identity of an anonymous commenter who wrote a negative review of a jeweler on the online review site. The order to non-party Yelp in the attempted...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Affirms That Content-Based Sign Codes Violate The First Amendment

Now, more than ever, local municipalities should review their municipal sign laws to ensure that signs are not being regulated based on their message. This is in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that an...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

Can you be sued for posting your opinions on the Internet?

A restaurant tells customers it may sue them if they post unfavorable reviews on the Internet. A flooring company sues a customer who complained on social media that he had an “absolutely horrible experience” with the...more

GAME OF (STICKS &) STONES – Prior Restraint & Online Defamation

In previous posts, we have explored several aspects of internet defamation – including suing anonymous internet and twitter users and the protections afforded to internet users and providers for re-publishing content under...more

Texas Anti-SLAPP Law: The Expanding Scope of the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act – Part 5 (the conclusion)

To conclude the series, we look at one more opinion — Serafine v. Blunt, No. 03-12-00726-CV, 2015 WL 2061922 (Tex. App.—Austin May 1, 2015). This case dealt with a property dispute, but the real interest comes from the...more

Guest Post - Game of Thrones, the FDA Under Attack, An In-House View of Amarin

Today's guest post is a first for this blog in two ways, first, our guest poster is anonymous. Second, our guest post is from an in-house source. The two are, of course, related. While it is important to us as lawyers that...more

Where the First Amendment and Land Use Meet: Planet Aid v. City of St. Johns

Generally speaking, land use regulations and zoning laws arise from practical and aesthetic concerns and considerations, and are driven by state and local law. However, sometimes a community’s desire to regulate a seemingly...more

Status Updates: Appeals court upholds anti-cyberbullying law; better marketing through neural networks; restaurant owner turns the...

Cruel intentions. Laws seeking to regulate speech on the Internet must be narrowly drafted to avoid running afoul of the First Amendment, and limiting such a law’s applicability to intentional attempts to cause damage usually...more

Texas Anti-SLAPP Law: The Expanding Scope of the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act – Part 4 – A decision in Schlumberger, sort of

Since we published Part 3 that discussed the details of an interesting case here in Houston, Schlumberger v. Rutherford, the First Court of Appeals issued its opinion on Tuesday. The best description of the decision is a...more

Batting Down Generic Plaintiffs’ Amarin Hail Mary Pass

We received a couple of odd anonymous comments to our “breaking news” post about the Amarin First Amendment victory for truthful off-label promotion. Both of them raised the same suggestion: “Does the logic of this opinion...more

Another Successful First Amendment Challenge to the Prohibition of Off-Label Promotion for FDA-Approved Drugs

The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prevailed in the latest challenge to the FDA's prohibition against marketing FDA-approved drugs for off-label (or non-FDA-approved) uses. Applying the Second Circuit’s...more

"Conflict Minerals Disclosure Requirement Confirmed Unconstitutional"

On August 18, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 decision (opinion available here), confirmed its earlier decision in April 2014 by ruling that the U.S. Securities and Exchange...more

Colorado Rules Baker Cannot Refuse Service to Same-Sex Couples for Religious Reasons

In a post last week, I discussed how some believe Tennessee’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) could allow Tennessee businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples despite a recent ruling that...more

After Further Review: 7th Circuit Strikes Down Anti-Panhandling Law; Concurrence Muses on First Amendment’s Effect on Laws...

What do panhandlers and pro-life demonstrators have in common? According to Circuit Judge Daniel Manion of the Seventh Circuit, the First Amendment now makes it tougher to silence the voice of either in the public square....more

Land Use & Natural Resources Case Law Update Second Quarter 2015

Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach - 236 Cal.App.4th 1341 - This case involved the City of Newport Beach’s approval of a mixed-use development project on land located within the coastal zone. Banning...more

A Couple of Law Review Articles We Actually Like

The last couple of times we’ve commented on new law review articles, we haven’t liked what we’ve seen very much. We’re gluttons for punishment, however, and this time we were rewarded. We found a couple of recent law review...more

Redskins Trademark Decision

On July 8, 2015, a Virginia District Court ordered the cancellation of six NFL Redskins trademark registrations, under a Lanham Act prohibition against registering marks that “may disparage” a referenced class at the time of...more

"DC Circuit Unanimously Upholds Federal Contractor Contribution Ban"

On July 7, 2015, the federal circuit court for the District of Columbia sitting en banc issued a unanimous opinion upholding the federal contractor contribution ban against a constitutional challenge in the long-running case...more

Do You Have The Right To Be Forgotten?

Most of us want to be remembered. But, depending on their past, some people want to be forgotten – or at least they want some of their past deeds to be forgotten. But do you have a right to be forgotten? In the United States,...more

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