Individual TV Producers Allowed to Sue Private Operator of Public Access Channel Over Controversial Video

In New York, cable TV providers must provide their customers at least one public access channel.  A public access channel is one that is “designated for noncommercial use by the public on a first-come, first-served, nondiscriminatory basis.”  In Manhattan, a private non-profit corporation called Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) operates one of Manhattan’s public access channels.… Read More Individual TV Producers Allowed to Sue Private Operator of Public Access Channel Over Controversial Video

Court Upholds Ohio’s “One Subject Only” Law for Voter Ballot Initiatives

Ohio, like most states, allows its state constitution to be amended via a “ballot initiative,” a proposed constitutional amendment that appears on the ballot state-wide and becomes part of the state constitution if it receives a simple majority of votes cast (other states require a supermajority). In 2016, a group of Ohio citizens wanted to… Read More Court Upholds Ohio’s “One Subject Only” Law for Voter Ballot Initiatives

Court Partially Strikes Down Campaign-Finance Laws of Austin, Texas

In the spirit of the 2018 midterms, campaign-finance laws in Austin, Texas were recently challenged by Donald Zimmerman, a former City Council member.  Specifically, he challenged three restrictions of a law enacted via a ballot initiative in 1997.  These three restrictions were (1) a $350 cap on contributions per contributor per election, (2) a prohibition… Read More Court Partially Strikes Down Campaign-Finance Laws of Austin, Texas

Texas May Not Prohibit Elected Officials from Endorsing “Sanctuary City” Policies

El Cenizo, Texas—a town of about 3,000 people—borders the Rio Grande in south central Texas.  Last year, it along with several other Texas cities (including Dallas, Houston, and Austin) sued the state of Texas over a controversial state law related to so-called “sanctuary city” policies. But before we get into the cities’ lawsuit, you have… Read More Texas May Not Prohibit Elected Officials from Endorsing “Sanctuary City” Policies

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

California’s Credit-Card Surcharge Law Held Unconstitutional

Credit-card companies charge retailers a small percentage of every transaction paid for with a credit card.  Understandably, retailers can before frustrated by these charges and want to pass on the charges to consumers who choose to pay with credit cards. California—concerned that some consumers might be deceived by retailers who don’t clearly notify consumers of… Read More California’s Credit-Card Surcharge Law Held Unconstitutional