Lopez v. Candaele

Category: Free Speech

  • College defends prof who mocked Christians

    January 23, 2010

    A California college is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to restore a policy at the center of a case in which a professor berated a Christian student with the suggestion, “Ask God what your grade is.” The Los Angeles Community College District, the nation’s largest community college system, filed the appeal of a lower-court decision in favor of student Jonathan Lopez, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund. As WND reported, Lopez, a student at Los Angeles City College, was delivering a speech on his Christian faith in speech class when professor John Matteson interrupted him, called him […]

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  • A Roundup of 2011’s Free Speech Case Law

    December 28, 2011

    While FIRE has won numerous victories this year in working to protect individual rights on college campuses, 2011 was a mixed year for the defense of students’ rights by the courts. Importantly, this year highlighted divergent theories of the First Amendment rights of students off campus. While some courts have held that schools are limited by the First Amendment in what they can regulate off campus, other courts this year held that things students say off campus can have almost unlimited disciplinary consequences on campus. This is a troubling trend, outlined in several cases below. In June, the United States […]

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  • FIRE Asks Supreme Court to Review Ninth Circuit Decision Limiting Challenges to Speech Codes

    April 20, 2011

    In an amicus curiae brief filed yesterday, FIRE is asking the Supreme Court of the United States to grant review of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s 2010 decision in Lopez v. Candaele. FIRE’s brief argues that by holding that Los Angeles City College student Jonathan Lopez did not possess sufficient standing to challenge speech codes maintained by the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), despite having been threatened with punishment under those codes by his professor, the Ninth Circuit established a dangerous new barrier to students wishing to vindicate their First Amendment rights in court. […]

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  • David French on Cert Petitions to U.S. Supreme Court in Important Student Standing Cases

    March 22, 2011

    David French, former FIRE President and now Senior Legal Counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), writes over at Phi Beta Cons about ADF’s petitions for writ of certiorari before the United States Supreme Court, filed last week, in the cases of Lopez v. Candaele and Rock for Life – UMBC v. Hrabowski. (UMBC is University of Maryland, Baltimore County.) ADF is arguing that Lopez, a case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Hrabowski, a Fourth Circuit decision, threaten the ability of college students to bring constitutional challenges to their institution’s speech codes […]

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  • Ninth Circuit’s Amended Opinion in ‘Lopez v. Candaele’ Fails to Correct Legal Errors

    December 20, 2010

    In October, student-plaintiff Jonathan Lopez asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its erroneous decision in Lopez v. Candaele. The federal appellate court, in a decision issued on September 17, had held that Lopez could not challenge the Los Angeles Community College District’s (LACCD’s) unconstitutional speech code because he did not suffer a concrete enough injury, even though he claimed that his speech was stifled by the code. In response to Lopez’s motion for rehearing, the Ninth Circuit amended its opinion last week. Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit’s amended opinion wreaks further havoc upon the standing doctrine, making it […]

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  • Ninth Circuit Ruling Creates Unjust Barrier for First Amendment Plaintiffs

    September 20, 2010

    Last week, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court reversed a federal district court’s ruling that the Los Angeles Community College District’s (LACCD’s) speech code violates the First Amendment. The reason for the reversal was not that LACCD’s speech policy is, in fact, constitutional. Instead, the Ninth Circuit held that plaintiff Jonathan Lopez, a student at one of LACCD’s member institutions, does not have the proper standing to challenge LACCD’s speech code. The Ninth Circuit’s erroneous holding conflicts with other courts of appeals and undermines the purpose behind the relaxed standing requirement for […]

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  • FIRE Urges Ninth Circuit To Defend First Amendment on Campus in ‘Ask God What Your Grade Is’ Lawsuit

    January 13, 2010

    SAN FRANCISCO, January 13, 2010—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold a July 2009 decision by a federal district court finding the Los Angeles Community College District’s (LACCD’s) speech code unconstitutional. LACCD’s code prohibits, among other things, “generalized sexist statements” and “actions and behavior that convey insulting, intrusive or degrading attitudes/comments about women or men.”  “Despite over two decades of federal jurisprudence finding policies precisely like LACCD’s unconstitutional, LACCD is shamefully attempting to deny its students the First Amendment rights to […]

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  • Another Year, Another Speech Code Falls in Court: ‘Lopez v. Candaele,’ 2009’s Big Win, and What it Means Going Forward

    December 30, 2009

    In the past year, FIRE celebrated a number of public victories in our continued fight to defend individual liberties on college campuses. These victories ranged from policy revisions by some institutions to reversals of university wrongdoing in individual cases involving students and faculty members. On the legal front, perhaps no victory was more crucial to FIRE’s mission and thus more worthy of celebration than a California federal court’s decision in Lopez v. Candaele, No. CV 09-0995-GHK (C.D. Cal. Sept. 16, 2009). In Lopez, a federal district court struck down an overbroad harassment policy maintained by the Los Angeles Community College […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech: Federal Court Rules That Injunction Against Speech Code Will Stand

    September 22, 2009

    Last week, a federal district court in California ruled that its injunction against a speech code in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) will stand. The ruling in Lopez v. Candaele denies the LACCD’s motion to reconsider the injunction and badly rebukes the college’s unavailing—and at times borderline comical—attempts to defend its sexual harassment policy. In the process, the federal court joined a litany of decisions over the past two decades uniformly striking down campus speech codes and once again confirmed what we have been pointing out here at FIRE for the last several years: Unconstitutional speech regulations are […]

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  • Ask God What Your Judgment Is”: Another Speech Code Topples in Court

    July 15, 2009

    The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) didn’t have to “ask God” to discover that it came out on the wrong side of a hearing in which U.S. District Judge George H. King temporarily enjoined the district from enforcing a harassment policy that banned “offensive” speech on campus—a policy so problematic that the judge has ordered it to be taken down from the district’s websites while the legal process continues. LACCD’s speech code came in for legal scrutiny after one of its students, Jonathan Lopez, was told to “ask God what your grade is” by Professor John Matteson after Lopez […]

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  • Student Sues Community College, Alleges Professor Called Him ‘a Fascist Bastard’ in Class

    February 17, 2009

    by Pete Winn CNSNews.com It’s tough enough for most college students to give a public speech. What if you gave a speech and your professor interrupted you, called you “a fascist bastard”–and refused to give you a grade? That’s what Los Angeles Community College student Jonathan Lopez said happened to him in his Introduction to Speech 101 class in late November, according to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a religious rights law group in Scottsdale, Ariz. Last week, on Lopez’s behalf, ADF filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Los Angeles against the community college’s chancellor, individual members of […]

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  • Ask God what your grade is

    February 16, 2009

    Mike Adams, Townhall.com columnist (and former beneficiary of FIRE’s help in his own free speech case) is the latest person to alert FIRE about an outrageous case at Los Angeles City College. Last fall, when assigned to give an informative speech on any topic, student Jonathan Lopez delivered a speech to his Speech 101 class in which he spoke about his own religious views and experience. Unfortunately for Lopez, his professor, John Matteson, did not appreciate this example of an informative speech and refused to grade him for it, instead advising him to “Ask God what your grade is.” He […]

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