Constitutional for Georgia Man to Give Church Pastor the Finger

This is another case involving the constitutionality of laws that criminalize “disorderly conduct,” this time in Georgia. David Freeman attended a church service and sat in the back. During the service, the pastor asked all teachers present to stand up so that the congregation could recognize and pray for them. Freeman stood up with the… Read More Constitutional for Georgia Man to Give Church Pastor the Finger

Federal Tax Exemption for Ministers Held Unconstitutional

Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker serve as co-presidents of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a non-profit organization seeking to protect separation of church and state.  As part of their role, they receive a housing allowance from the Foundation. In 2015, the two filed amended tax returns for 2012 and 2013, seeking a partial tax… Read More Federal Tax Exemption for Ministers Held Unconstitutional

Washington Sexting Law Held Constitutional

In Washington State, minor who engage in “sexting”—texting sexually explicit images of oneself to another—can be convicted of child-pornography distribution. (Fair warning: this blog post contains sexually explicit language; we don’t hold back.) Eric Gray, a 17-year-old male, sent an adult woman an unsolicited picture of his erect penis. Accompanying the picture was a message… Read More Washington Sexting Law Held Constitutional

Miami Beach’s Anti-Handbilling Ordinance Faces First Amendment Challenge

Solicitation by hand-billing.  We’ve all seen it.  Recently, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the right of businesses in Miami Beach to solicit business via handbilling, even after complaints that hand-billers were annoying and aggressive. Due to these complaints, the City of Miami Beach enacted an anti-solicitation ordinance and an anti-handbilling ordinance. After receiving numerous citations, several… Read More Miami Beach’s Anti-Handbilling Ordinance Faces First Amendment Challenge

Part of Minnesota’s Disorderly-Conduct Law Held Unconstitutional

Little Falls is a small town along the Mississippi River in central Minnesota. Robin Hensel attended two City Council meetings. She sat in the front row and displayed large signs depicting dead and deformed children, thus blocking the view of some members of the public. The first City Council meeting was adjourned and rescheduled, but Hensel… Read More Part of Minnesota’s Disorderly-Conduct Law Held Unconstitutional

Indiana County Was Wrong to Shut Down Pro-Marijuana Group Rally on Courthouse Steps

So this case is an interesting story about a government failing to accomplish its goals, and a 1999 nativity scene now in the back of a pickup truck. (No, this is not a religion case.) Tippecanoe County in central Indiana is home to Lafayette, West Lafayette, and Purdue University. Back in 1999, the county got… Read More Indiana County Was Wrong to Shut Down Pro-Marijuana Group Rally on Courthouse Steps

Maine Allowed to Limit Noise Outside Abortion Clinics

Like most states, Maine is no stranger to abortion-related protests–both pro-life and pro-choice. Sometimes these protests can turn violent. In 1995, Maine enacted a law making it illegal to make noise that can be heard inside a building with the intent “to jeopardize the health of persons receiving health services within the building,” or with… Read More Maine Allowed to Limit Noise Outside Abortion Clinics