The Arkansas Educational Television Commission, a state agency, sponsored a debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Arkansas' Third Congressional District. The Commission only invited the two major party candidates and excluded Ralph Forbes, a legally qualified independent candidate. AETC determined Forbes did not have sufficient "political viability" for inclusion. Forbes sued the agency. After a federal district court dismissed the claim, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit reversed, finding that AETC had created a limited public forum to which Forbes had a presumptive right of access. Forbes v. Arkansas Educational Television Commission, 93 F.3d 497 (8th Cir. 1996). The appeals court determined that AETC's assessment of "political viability" was not a compelling enough interest nor narrowly tailored enough reason to pass constitutional review. The Court analyzes right of access cases using the public forum doctrine. There are three types of fora: traditional public fora, limited or designated public fora and nonpublic fora. Perry Ed. Assn. v. Perry Local Educators' Assn., 460 U.S. 37 (1983). Even in a nonpublic forum, government officials cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, discriminate based on viewpoint. Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819 (1995). However, television broadcasters enjoy &"the widest possible journalistic freedom" consistent with their public responsibilities. FCC v. League of Women Voters of Cal., 468 U.S. 364 (1984).

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The University of Wisconsin-Madison requires its students to pay an annual fee, in addition to tuition, that is used to support an array of student services and organizations. Three University of Wisconsin law students challenged the fee system in 1996 as unconstitutional. The students, all Christians, said it violated their free-speech and religious liberty rights for the university to funnel their money to groups they oppose on moral grounds. Both a federal district court and federal appeals court ruled that the fee system violated the students' free-speech rights. In 1977, the high court ruled in Abood v. Detroit Bd. Of Education,that union members could "prevent the Union's spending a part of their required service fees to contribute to political candidates and to express political views unrelated to its duties as exclusive bargaining representative." The three Wisconsin students argued that the university must grant them the choice not to fund student groups that engage in political and ideological expression offensive to their beliefs.

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After petitioner borough fired respondent Guarnieri as its police chief, he filed a union grievance that led to his reinstatement. When the borough council later issued directives instructing Guarnieri how to perform his duties, he filed a second grievance, and an arbitrator ordered that some of the directives be modified or withdrawn. Guarnieri then filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the directives were issued in retaliation for the filing of his first grievance, thereby violating his First Amendment “right . . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”; he later amended his complaint to allege that the council also violated the Petition Clause by denying his request for overtime pay in retaliation for his having filed the § 1983 suit. The District Court instructed the jury, inter alia, that the suit and the grievances were constitutionally protected activity, and the jury found for Guarnieri. Affirming the compensatory damages award, the Third Circuit held that a public employee who has petitioned the government through a formal mechanism such as the filing of a lawsuit or grievance is protected under the Petition Clause from retaliation for that activity, even if the petition concerns a matter of solely private concern. In so ruling, the court rejected the view of every other Circuit to have considered the issue that, to be protected, the petition must address a matter of public concern.

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508 U.S. 520 (1993) CHURCH OF THE LUKUMI BABALU AYE, INC., ET AL. v. CITY OF HIALEAH   No. 91-948. United States Supreme Court.   Argued November 4, 1992. Decided June 11, 1993. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT*521 *522 Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, III, and IV, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and White, Stevens, Scalia, Souter, and Thomas, JJ., joined, the opinion of the Court with respect to Part II—B, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and White, Stevens, Scalia, and Thomas, JJ., joined, the […]

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The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech that is an “electioneering communication” or for speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate. 2 U. S. C. §441b. An electioneering communication is “any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication” that “refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office” and is made within 30 days of a primary election, §434(f)(3)(A), and that is “publicly distributed,” 11 CFR §100.29(a)(2), which in “the case of a candidate for nomination for President … means” that the communication “[c]an be received by 50,000 or more persons in a State where a primary election … is being held within 30 days,” §100.29(b)(3)(ii). In January 2008, appellant Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, released a documentary (hereinafter Hillary) critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton, a candidate for her party’s Presidential nomination. Anticipating that it would make Hillary available on cable television through video-on-demand within 30 days of primary elections, Citizens United produced television ads to run on broadcast and cable television. Concerned about possible civil and criminal penalties for violating §441b, it sought declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that (1) §441b is unconstitutional as applied to Hillary; and (2) BCRA’s disclaimer, disclosure, and reporting requirements, BCRA §§201 and 311, were unconstitutional as applied to Hillary and the ads.

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In 1993, the St. Peter Catholic Church in Boerne, Texas, applied to city officials for permission to expand the size of the church. The city's Landmark Commission denied the church's request on the grounds that the church's facade was within the city's historic district. After the city council rejected the church's appeal, the church sued in federal court, claiming that the local ordinance establishing the city's historic district was unconstitutional and violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. __ 2000bb et seq. ("RFRA"). Congress passed the RFRA in 1993 in response to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Employment Division, Dep't of Human Resources v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). In Smith, the Court held that laws not directed at religion are constitutional even if they adversely affect persons who are attempting to practice their religions. The RFRA establishes a higher standard than the decision in Smith and provides that a law may not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion unless the government demonstrates that the law furthers a compelling governmental interest and that the law is the least restrictive way of furthering that interest. The trial court rejected the church's argument and ruled that the RFRA was unconstitutional because it infringed on the authority of courts to establish standards for evaluating constitutional issues. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the RFRA was constitutional because the law did not usurp the judiciary's power to interpret the Constitution. Rather, according to the appellate court, the RFRA simply created rights and protections in addition to the constitutional rights already recognized by the courts. Congress can legislate only in those areas permitted by the Constitution. In passing the RFRA, Congress relied on its power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to adopt laws designed to enforce individual rights. Although the Court had on many occasions examined Congress' power under Section 5, it had not clearly articulated the limits on that authority.

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A Nevada criminal defense attorney called a press conference after his client was indicted to maintain his client's innocence. He also indicated that the evidence would show that a police officer actually was guilty of the offense for which his client was charged. After his client was acquitted, the attorney was charged by the state bar association with violating Nevada Supreme Court Rule 177, which prohibits an attorney from making a statement to the press that he or she knows or reasonably should know will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding. A subsection of Rule 177 provides that an attorney may comment on general matters such as the nature of the defense. The Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board found that the attorney had violated Rule 177, and the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed that ruling. Speech critical of the government and its officials generally cannot be prohibited or punished absent a compelling governmental interest. Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288 (1984). On the other hand, the Court has held that the speech of attorneys participating in a particular case can be regulated if the regulation is necessary to further the ends of justice. Shepard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333 (1966). In any event, a regulation of speech cannot be enforced if it is so vague that it forces the regulated party to guess as to the limits of the regulation. Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104 (1972).

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Scott Fane, a certified public accountant, built a successful solo practice in New Jersey by making unsolicited telephone calls to business executives and then arranging meetings to explain his expertise and services. Fane then moved to Florida, where he learned that such calls were prohibited by the Florida Board of Accountancy. Fane challenged this prohibition on First Amendment grounds, and the district court held that the rule was invalid as it applied to solicitations of business clients. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. In Virginia State Bd. of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976), the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time recognized that commercial speech speech that concerns only commercial or economic activity is entitled to some First Amendment protection. The government therefore may regulate commercial speech only if it is false or misleading or if the restriction directly and narrowly advances a substantial state interest. Central Hudson Gas & Elec. v. Public Serv. Comm. of N.Y., 447 U.S. 557 (1978).

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It is well settled that "a State cannot condition public employment on a basis that infringes the employee's constitutionally protected interest in freedom of expression." Connick v. Myers, 461 U. S. 138, 142 (1983). The question presented by the instant case is whether the First Amendment protects a government employee from discipline based on speech made pursuant to the employee's official duties.

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In this case the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia reversed a trial court judgment, which had entered a jury verdict of $50 million. Five justices heard the case, and the vote to reverse was 3 to 2. The question presented is whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was violated when one of the justices in the majority denied a recusal motion. The basis for the motion was that the justice had received campaign contributions in an extraordinary amount from, and through the efforts of, the board chairman *2257 and principal officer of the corporation found liable for the damages.

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During 1982 and 1983 writer Janet Malcolm frequently interviewed Jeffrey Masson for an article she was writing about the Sigmund Freud Archives. Mr. Masson had worked as the Projects Director of the Archives until his disenchantment with psychoanalysis led to his termination. Six passages in the article contained quotations from Mr. Masson that Mr. Masson claimed he never made. Ms. Malcolm's 40 hours of taped interviews demonstrated that the quotations either were never made or had been altered in varying degrees. Mr. Masson sued for libel, but the trial court dismissed the suit on the grounds that the altered quotations either were substantially true or rational interpretations of statements that Mr. Masson had made. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on similar grounds, holding that Mr. Masson could not prove that Ms. Malcolm had published the altered quotations knowing that their meaning was false. Under the First Amendment, a public figure cannot prevail in a libel action unless he or she proves that the author knew that the alleged defamatory statement was false or acted with reckless disregard as to the statement's truth. The public figure also must prove that the statement injures his reputation and is not at least substantially true. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323 (1974).

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This case presents a challenge to a statute enacted by Congress to protect minors from exposure to sexually explicit materials on the Internet, the Child Online Protection Act *660 (COPA), 112 Stat. 2681-736, codified at 47 U. S. C. § 231. We must decide whether the Court of Appeals was correct to affirm a ruling by the District Court that enforcement of COPA should be enjoined because the statute likely violates the First Amendment.

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In 1996, Congress passed the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA) to deal with computer technology used to produce images looking like real children. The law included in its definition of child pornography sexually explicit material that (1) depicts persons who "appear to be minors;" and (2) is advertised as conveying the impression that the person depicted is a minor. On January 27, 1997, the Free Speech Coalition, an adult trade association, and others filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the CPPA. The complaint alleged that the "appears to be a minor" and "conveys the impression" clauses of the CPPA violate the First Amendment and are unconstitutionally vague. Later that year, a federal district court issued an order upholding the constitutionality of the CPPA and granting summary judgment to the government. The district judge ruled that the CPPA is a content-neutral law aimed at the harmful secondary effects associated with virtual child pornography. In December 1999, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of Free Speech Coalition. The panel majority determined that the two challenged provisions violate the First Amendment, writing: "censorship through the enactment of criminal laws intended to control an evil idea cannot satisfy the constitutional requirements of the First Amendment."

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Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, respondent Iqbal, a Pakistani Muslim, was arrested on criminal charges and detained by federal officials under restrictive conditions. Iqbal filed a Bivens action against numerous federal officials, including petitioner Ashcroft, the former Attorney General, and petitioner Mueller, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). See Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388. The complaint alleged, inter alia, that petitioners designated Iqbal a person “of high interest” on account of his race, religion, or national origin, in contravention of the First and Fifth Amendments; that the FBI, under Mueller’s direction, arrested and detained thousands of Arab Muslim men as part of its September-11th investigation; that petitioners knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously agreed to subject Iqbal to harsh conditions of confinement as a matter of policy, solely on account of the prohibited factors and for no legitimate penological interest; and that Ashcroft was the policy’s “principal architect” and Mueller was “instrumental” in its adoption and execution.

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(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2009 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus SALAZAR, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL. v. BUONO CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE […]

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Congress created the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in 1974 to distribute federal funds to local legal-aid organizations as the primary means of providing basic legal services for the indigent. Restrictions on the use of funds precluded litigation concerning: abortion, political activity, criminal proceedings, school desegregation, and military desertion. In 1996, restrictions were extended to encompass challenges to welfare laws, although representation of individuals in suits-for-benefits were permitted. The 1996 Act also forbid LSC recipients from using non-LSC funds for those purposes, although such activity by an affiliate not under the control of the recipient was allowed. In 1997, legal-aid lawyers challenged the law as a violation of the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association and sought a preliminary injunction against its enforcement. The judge for the federal District Court in New York denied the injunction. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, with the exception of the suit-for-benefits provision. The 2nd Circuit ruled that the restriction on challenging the constitutionality of existing welfare laws constituted impermissible viewpoint discrimination. The government has greater leeway to selectively fund speech when the government is the speaker. Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991). The First Amendment generally prohibits discrimination against speech based on viewpoint. Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819 (1995).

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This case requires us to interpret the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U. S. C. § 552. FOIA does not apply if the requested data fall within one or more exemptions. Exemption 7(C) excuses from disclosure "records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes" if their production "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." § 552(b)(7)(C).

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O'Hare Truck Service had provided towing services for the City of Northlake, Illinois, since 1965. In 1993, the mayor of Northlake, who was seeking reelection, asked O'Hare for a campaign contribution. O'Hare refused and instead publicly supported the mayor's opponent. Shortly thereafter, O'Hare was removed from the list of towing services used by Northlake. O'Hare sued in federal court, alleging that Northlake had violated its First Amendment rights. The district court dismissed the complaint, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the First Amendment protections available to governmental employees did not extend to independent contractors. The First Amendment prevents the government from terminating employees who speak on matters of public concern. Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983). Governmental workers also are constitutionally protected from dismissal for supporting or affiliating with a political party, unless such affiliation reasonably can be considered an appropriate job qualification. Branti v. Finkel, 445 U.S. 507 (1980); Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347 (1976). To prevail in an unlawful termination claim, the employee must show that the protected conduct was a substantial or motivating factor in the termination. Even upon such a showing, the government can prevail if it can show that it would have taken the same action absent the protected conduct or if sufficiently strong countervailing governmental interests exist. Mt. Healthy City Bd. of Education v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977);Pickering v. Board of Education of Township High School Dist., 391 U.S. 563 (1968).

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Principals of public middle and high schools in Providence, Rhode Island, were permitted to invite members of the clergy to give invocations and benedictions at their schools' graduation ceremonies. Petitioner Lee, a middle school principal, invited a rabbi to offer such prayers at the graduation ceremony for Deborah Weisman's class, gave the rabbi a pamphlet containing guidelines for the composition of public prayers at civic ceremonies, and advised him that the prayers should be nonsectarian. Shortly before the ceremony, the District Court denied the motion of respondent Weisman, Deborah's father, for a temporary restraining order to prohibit school officials from including the prayers in the ceremony. Deborah and her family attended the ceremony, and the prayers were recited. Subsequently, Weisman sought a permanent injunction barring Lee and other petitioners, various Providence public school officials, from inviting clergy to deliver invocations and benedictions at future graduations.

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The University of Virginia assesses each full-time student a $14 per semester activities fee. Those fees are provided to a Student Activities Fund that, among other things, pays off-campus businesses to print publications prepared by 15 "student news, information, opinion, entertainment, or academic communications media groups." The Fund denied a request from students who published a Christian magazine. In doing so, the Fund relied on its guidelines, which do not permit the funding of religious activities. The trial court and appellate court, for slightly different reasons, held that the Fund's denial did not constitute unconstitutional discrimination against the Christian magazine. A public university is under no obligation to provide benefits or facilities to student groups. Once it chooses to do so, however, it may not discriminate among the recipients of those benefits based upon the viewpoint of their speech. Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., 508 U.S. 384 (1993). At the same time, a public university, like all other agencies of the government, may not impose a tax or fee in order to support religious activity. Roemer v. Board of Public Works of Md., 426 U.S. 736 (1976).

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