Supreme Court takes on First Amendment cases

The U.S. Supreme Court just added three First Amendment cases to its docket this term. It will consider a California case in which a state law required crisis pregnancy centers to inform clients that the state provides access to free or minimal cost abortions. In Lozman v. Riviera Beach the court will rule on whether a person arrested on probable cause for committing a crime can sue on grounds that the real reason for the arrest was his speech guaranteed under the First Amendment. The court will also decide a Minnesota case to review if states can restrict electioneering slogans on clothing in polling places and on the street near the polling places.  (The Washington Post, November 13, 2017, by Eugene Volokh)

The three new First Amendment cases join three others this term. Earlier the court elected to consider whether a Colorado baker can reject a cake order for a same-sex wedding and if state and local government workers in California can be required to pay for union representation. And for the first time, the court may invoke the First Amendment in deciding a challenge to partisan gerrymandering. (Bloomberg News, November 14, 2017, by Greg Stohr)

Florida resident Fane Lozman was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at a public meeting in Riviera Beach. The charges were later dropped but Lozman sued the city claiming his First Amendment rights were violated in retaliation for his opposition of a marina development plan and accusing council members of corruption. A federal appeals court ruled against Lozman. (ABC News, November 13, 2017, by Curt Anderson of the Associated Press)

The Supreme Court has upheld state laws banning electioneering near election polling places but has yet to decide if bans on slogans on clothing and political pins are constitutional. The court’s decision rides on whether a polling place is considered a public forum and whether the ban is practical and reasonable. Slogans on T-shirts, for instance, are legion and rarely disrupt, much less influence. (The Washington Post, November 13, 2017, by Eugene Volokh)




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