Hon. Neil Gorsuch United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2006-Present) This post examines four opinions Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote or joined concerning media freedoms under the First Amendment. These cases made either defamation or invasion of privacy claims or both. (For our previous analysis of Judge Gorsuch’s views on free speech, please […]
The Insider: Judge Neil Gorsuch’s First Amendment Decisions Show Respect for Free Speech (In the News)
By David Keating
The minor party contributors who bring this equal protection challenge suggest (at least in places) that we should consider applying strict scrutiny to this particular aspect of Colorado’s statutory scheme. They say that contributing in elections implicates a fundamental liberty interest, that Colorado’s scheme favors the exercise of that fundamental liberty interest by some at the expense of others, and for this reason warrants the most searching level of judicial scrutiny. For my part, I don’t doubt this line of argument has much to recommend it. The trouble is, we have no controlling guidance on the question from the Supreme Court. And in what guidance we do have lie some conflicting cues.
No one before us disputes that the act of contributing to political campaigns implicates a “basic constitutional freedom,” one lying “at the foundation of a free society” and enjoying a significant relationship to the right to speak and associate – both expressly protected First Amendment activities. Even so, the Court has yet to apply strict scrutiny to contribution limit challenges – employing instead something pretty close but not quite the same thing.
By David Keating
We found four cases relevant to First Amendment speech freedoms where Judge Hardiman either wrote or joined an opinion. Additionally, he voted against a petition for en banc review of Delaware Strong Families v. Denn, where CCP represented the plaintiff in one of the most important campaign finance cases of 2016…
The question presented in this lawsuit was simple. Should the state have the power to regulate groups that publish nonpartisan voter guides in essentially the same way that it regulates candidate committees, political parties, and PACs?
Judge Hardiman did not sit on the panel that heard this important case. However, he and the other Third Circuit judges received a petition asking the full en banc court to review the decision. A short brief accompanied the petition, which was denied. Judges Kent A. Jordan and Thomas I. Vanaskie voted to grant the petition, but Judge Hardiman did not…
After en banc review by the Third Circuit was denied, a certiorari petition was filed, unsuccessfully, with the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a highly unusual six-page dissent denouncing the Court’s refusal to hear the case. Such dissents are rare. Justice Samuel Alito also announced that he would have granted review.
Hon. Thomas Hardiman United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2007-Present); United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (2003-2007) This post explores two additional cases involving Judge Hardiman of the Third Circuit. (For our first post analyzing Judge Hardiman’s record on free speech, click here.) Judge Hardiman joined an opinion […]
Judge Raymond Kethledge Applies Careful Scrutiny in Striking Contribution Ban, But Waves Through a Law Targeting a Union
Hon. Raymond Kethledge United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2008-Present) We found six cases where Judge Kethledge wrote or joined an opinion related to First Amendment free speech rights. I have ranked them according to my view of the relative importance of each opinion. The first three cases are important, and roughly […]
More on Judge Diane Sykes: Despite Strong Pro-Free Speech Rulings, Two Cases Where She Upheld Restrictions
Hon. Diane Sykes United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2004-Present); Wisconsin Supreme Court (1999-2004); Milwaukee County Circuit Court (1992-1999) This post is the last in a series exploring the free speech views of Judge Diane Sykes. (Part 1 is here, and part 2 is here.) This post explores two decisions Sykes joined […]
More on Judge Diane Sykes: From Backpage’s Adult Ads to Anti-Gay Protests, a Strong Defense of Free Speech
Hon. Diane Sykes United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2004-Present); Wisconsin Supreme Court (1999-2004); Milwaukee County Circuit Court (1992-1999) This post is the second in a series exploring the free speech views of Judge Diane Sykes. Our first post exploring Judge Sykes’ views on free speech can be found here. In this […]
Opinion by Judge Diane Sykes in Barland II “One of the Strongest, Pro-Free Speech Circuit Opinions Post-Citizens United”
Hon. Diane Sykes United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2004-Present); Wisconsin Supreme Court (1999-2004); Milwaukee County Circuit Court (1992-1999) Using our screen to find cases, and adding other cases that have come to our attention, Judge Sykes wrote or joined a number of opinions in cases that raised significant First Amendment free […]
The Insider: Good Signs for First Amendment in Judge William Pryor’s Rulings on Tax-Financing, Political Sign Cases (In the News)
By David Keating
Scott v. Roberts presented Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott’s challenge to a tax-financed campaign scheme the state enacted in 1986 and amended in 1991. The program generally operated as a matching funds program… However, once an opponent to a tax-financed candidate spent over $2/registered voter, the subsidized candidate received a dollar-for-dollar match of his opponent’s spending. The subsidized candidate no longer needed to raise any private funds to receive the subsidy. The law also allowed subsidized candidates to exceed expenditure limits. Judge Pryor held the scheme was likely unconstitutional, and the opinion overturned a district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction…
In Beaulieu v. City of Alabaster, Judge Pryor joined an opinion that held a city’s sign-usage ordinance unconstitutional. The ordinance placed different burdens on commercial and political signs…
Applying strict scrutiny, the panel affirmed the district court ruling, which overturned the ordinance. The panel determined that the city’s interests in aesthetics and safety did not overcome the core political speech at issue.
Good Signs for First Amendment in Judge William Pryor’s Rulings on Tax-Financing, Political Sign Cases
Hon. William Pryor United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (2004-Present) Using our screen to find cases, Judge Pryor wrote or joined an opinion in two First Amendment cases of note while on the Eleventh Circuit. Scott v. Roberts, 612 F.3d 1279 (11th Cir. 2010) Beaulieu v. City of Alabaster, 454 F.3d 1219 […]