On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in Katherine Mae McKee v. William H. Cosby, Jr., 586 U.S. ___ (2019), a lawsuit concerning Katherine McKee's claim against Bill Cosby for defamation where Cosby's lawyers released a letter allegedly damaging McKee's reputation for truthfulness and honesty. The First Circuit found McKee became a limited-purpose public figure when she made sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby and, as such, would need to prove that the statements in the letter were both false and made with actual malice. United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, writing a concurring opinion in the Supreme Court's denial of certiorari, called for a reconsideration of the doctrinal basis for First Amendment cases concerning defamation and libel.
On February 25th, 2019, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in Manhattan Community Access Corporation v. Halleck, a case that has garnered press attention for its First Amendment subject matter. The Court is being asked to consider, “when (if ever) the actions of a private nonprofit corporation operating a public access television channel…
In the case of Iancu v. Brunetti, the Federal Circuit recently ruled that a section of the Lanham Act was unconstitutional. This federal law governs the registration of trademarks. Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act prohibits the registration of trademarks that are immoral or scandalous. The Federal Circuit reviewed this provision in…
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Holds That Politicians Who Block Citizens on Official Social Media are in Violation of the First Amendment
On Monday, January 7, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that Phyllis Randall violated the First Amendment rights of Brian Davison when she blocked Davison for twelve hours in February 2016 from her official Facebook Page as the chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
Federal Judge in Massachusetts Rules Secretly Recording Government Officials in Public Protected by First Amendment
On Monday, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled unconstitutional a state law that had the effect of prohibiting all secret recordings of any encounter with a police officer or other government official. According to Chief Judge Patti B. Saris, of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts law is not sufficiently "narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest" to curtail the plaintiffs' free speech rights under the First Amendment.
A federal district court judge in the District of Columbia today ruled that the White House must restore the press credentials of Jim Acosta, a CNN journalist. Acosta had reportedly engaged in a heated exchange with the president during a news conference last week over the president's regular disparagement of mainstream news as "fake news." CNN filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, November 13, arguing that the revocation violated Acosta's rights to free speech and due process, and seeking a preliminary injunction to reinstate Acosta's press credentials.
US Supreme Court to Decide Whether Private Entity Operating Public Access Channel Can Violate Individuals’ First Amendment Rights
The US Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case in which two individuals sued a New York cable-TV public access channel for violating their First Amendment rights by banning them from the channel's services and facilities. In Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, the two petitioners, Halleck and Melendez, argue that the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) unconstitutionally banned them from the public access channel, which they argue is a public forum subject to the First Amendment.
In 2014, Michael Jackson fan Vera Serova brought a class action lawsuit against Sony Music, the Jackson estate, and several songwriters/producers alleging that they created three fake songs recorded by a Michael Jackson impersonator to include on a 2010 posthumous album, Michael. The case moved forward last week in a court hearing about the songs in question: “Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up.”
Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who won a decision before the U.S. Supreme Court in June, is suing again following his refusal to bake a cake to celebrate a gender transition. His refusal resulted in a probable cause finding by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that he had violated Colorado’s public accommodations law.…