Johnson’s & Stein’s Exclusion from 2012 Presidential Debates Constitutional

Gary Johnson and Jill Stein–the respective nominees of the Libertarian and Green parties–were excluded from the 2012 presidential debates.  They sued, claiming that the Commission of Presidential Debates violated their First Amendment rights by excluding them based on their viewpoints. Last month, their case was finally decided by a federal appellate court.  The D.C. Circuit… Read More Johnson’s & Stein’s Exclusion from 2012 Presidential Debates Constitutional

Missouri Town Allowed to Ban “All Commercial Activity” in the Park

On the outskirts of St. Louis, the 400-person town of Twin Oaks, Missouri, dedicated a 11-acre park to the public in 1994. To “protect” the park, the town enacted a comprehensive ordinance that prohibited, among other things, obstruction of walkways, vehicles, hunting, and “all commercial activity” except with a permit. The park is quite picturesque.… Read More Missouri Town Allowed to Ban “All Commercial Activity” in the Park

Wyoming Ban on Gathering “Resource Data” Subject to the First Amendment

Wyoming makes it a crime to cross private land (trespass) and “collect resource data” on adjacent public land–a crime that carries a more severe punishment than ordinary trespassing. The law broadly defines both “collect” and “resource data.” The former applies whenever people “take a sample of material” or “acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in… Read More Wyoming Ban on Gathering “Resource Data” Subject to the First Amendment

Churches and LGBT Individuals Not Allowed to Challenge Pro-Religious Mississippi Law

You may remember when the Supreme Court in 2015 declared that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Well that decision was not particularly well-received in Mississippi. Shortly after the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, Mississippi enacted a law that enumerates three “sincerely held religious beliefs” entitled to legal protection. They are: (1) that marriage should… Read More Churches and LGBT Individuals Not Allowed to Challenge Pro-Religious Mississippi Law

First Amendment Claim Plays Critical Role in Texas Sanctuary Cities Case

Last week, a federal district judge temporarily blocked parts of a Texas state immigration law (known as SB4) that would have outlawed sanctuary cities and penalized local officials who did not cooperate with federal immigration-enforcement efforts.  Plaintiffs–a group of cities that challenged the state law–made claims under the First, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments.… Read More First Amendment Claim Plays Critical Role in Texas Sanctuary Cities Case