Supreme Court nominee’s stances on First Amendment jibe with those of conservative majority

In Popehat, July 10, 2018, Ken White finds Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s positions on the First Amendment laudable with a few caveats. Kavanaugh has protected speech of protestors and has favored limiting defamation suits in instances to prevent chilling speech. He could be expected to apply First Amendment protections in the case of government regulation and uphold Citizens United. He opposes net neutrality rules as a violation of the First Amendment.

Damon Root in in Reason, July 10, 2018, finds less to celebrate, taking issue with Kavanaugh’s position on commercial speech in the federal appellate case American Meat Institute v. Department of Agriculture. Arguing it was compelled speech, the meat industry was challenging the government requirement to put “country of origin” on meat packages. While agreeing there was no need to regulate to prevent deception or for health and safety reasons, Kavanaugh sided with the government to protect the U.S. meat industry from foreign competition. The government never raised protectionism as a motive for the label.

For David L. Hudson Jr. on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s First Amendment legacy, click here.

Jonathan L. Adler, Volokh Conspiracy in Reason, July 11, 2018, praised Kennedy as “the most speech-protective justice” on a strong First Amendment court. He contends that Kavanaugh will honor Kennedy’s legacy. Adler disagrees with Root on the meat industry ruling.

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