No First Amendment Right of Public Access to Court Documents in Death Penalty Cases

In general, the public has a First Amendment right to access court documents in both civil and criminal cases. Larry Flynt lives in Missouri and tried to access confidential (or “sealed”) court records in a death-penalty case.  Specifically, he wanted access to documents about Missouri’s death-penalty protocol and medical members of its execution team, questioning… Read More No First Amendment Right of Public Access to Court Documents in Death Penalty Cases

Baltimore’s Regulations for Pregnancy Center Held Unconstitutional

Once again, abortion and the First Amendment collide. The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns (“CPC”) is a nonprofit Christian organization that provides free pregnancy services including pregnancy tests, sonograms, and childcare education.   It also provides fee childcare products such as diapers, clothing, and books.  In keeping with its religious mission, it does not offer… Read More Baltimore’s Regulations for Pregnancy Center Held Unconstitutional

Kentucky City Allowed to Prohibit Unsolicited Newspaper Distributions

In 2017, Lexington, Kentucky passed an ordinance that penalizes the distribution of unsolicited literature (pamphlets, ads, etc.) to households outside of six specific delivery methods of delivery.  The Herald-Leader, a news-media company in Lexington, publishes and distributes its Community News by leaving it on people’s driveway—not one of the six permitted methods—but allows residents to opt-out of delivery… Read More Kentucky City Allowed to Prohibit Unsolicited Newspaper Distributions

No First Amendment Right to Prostitution

In California, soliciting or engaging in prostitution is classified as “disorderly conduct,” a misdemeanor. A group called Erotic Service Provider Legal Education and Research Project (referred to as ESP), sued California, challenging this law.  ESP argued that the solicitation of prostitution is “speech,” and the statute unconstitutionally criminalizes it—violating the First Amendment.  The ESP argued… Read More No First Amendment Right to Prostitution

Idaho’s Ag-Gag Law Violates the First Amendment

Investigative journalism has always been a cornerstone of the freedom of the American press.  And, in 2012, an Idaho animal-rights activist investigated an Idaho dairy farm by getting a job there and then filming animal abuse that they witnessed.  Soon thereafter, the state enacted and enforced an “Ag-Gag” law (formally titled the Interference with Agriculture… Read More Idaho’s Ag-Gag Law Violates the First Amendment

Okay for Church Retirement Plans to Be Exempt from Federal Regulatory Law

Like other religiously affiliated non-profits, Catholic Health Initiatives (a Colorado-based health care provider) offers its employees a retirement plan which is exempt from the requirements of the federal law known as ERISA (which stands for Early Retirement Income Security Act). ERISA sets minimum standards for private-sector pension plans and information for plans’ beneficiaries.  Janeen Medina,… Read More Okay for Church Retirement Plans to Be Exempt from Federal Regulatory Law