Majority Opinions Authored by Justice Sandra O’Connor

In 1990, Congress amended the statute governing the National Endowment for the Arts to require that the NEA chairperson consider "general standards of respect and decency for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public" when awarding art grants. Four artists—Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes and Tim Miller, known collectively as the "NEA 4"—sued in federal court, claiming the so-called "decency clause" violated the First Amendment and forced artists to engage in self-censorship in order to obtain NEA funding. The trial judge ruled in favor of the "NEA 4," ruling that the decency clause was both unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed for "essentially the same reasons as the district court." The 9th Circuit determined the decency clause was void for vagueness and for violating the First Amendment’s general prohibition against content- and viewpoint-based discrimination. A bedrock principle of the First Amendment is that government may not prohibit speech just because it finds the speech offensive or disagreeable. Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989). Sexual expression which is indecent but not obscene is also protected by the First Amendment. Sable Communications of Cal., Inc. v. Sable, 492 U.S. 115 (1989). The First Amendment protects against viewpoint discrimination above other forms of content discrimination. Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819 (1995). When the government promotes a particular program and defines the limit of a program, it can fund speech that promotes its goals, even to the detriment of other goals. Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991). "There is a basic difference between direct state interference with a protected activity and state encouragement of an alternative activity consonant with legislative policy." Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977).

READ MORE


This case requires us once more to "struggl[e] . . . to define the proper accommodation between the law of defamation and the freedoms of speech and press protected by the First Amendment." Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U. S. 323, 325 (1974). In Gertz, the Court held that a private figure who brings a suit for defamation cannot recover without some showing that the media defendant was at fault in publishing the statements at issue. Id., at 347. Here, we hold that, at least where a newspaper publishes speech of public *769 concern, a private-figure plaintiff cannot recover damages without also showing that the statements at issue are false.

READ MORE


In Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U. S. 402, 413, this Court held that New York City's program that sent public school teachers into parochial schools to provide remedial education to disadvantaged children pursuant to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 necessitated an excessive entanglement of church and state and violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. On remand, the District Court entered a permanent injunction reflecting that ruling. Some 10 years later, petitioners-the parties bound by the injunction-filed motions in the same court seeking relief from the injunction's operation under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5). They emphasized the significant costs of complying with Aguilar and the assertions of five Justices in Board of Ed. of Kiryas Joel Village School Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U. S. 687, that Aguilar should be reconsidered, and argued that relief was proper under Rule 60(b)(5) and Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U. S. 367, 388, because Aguilar cannot be squared with this Court's intervening Establishment Clause jurisprudence and is no longer good law.

READ MORE


This case requires us to consider whether the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause prohibits the Government from permitting timber harvesting in, or constructing a road through, a portion of a National Forest that has traditionally *442 been used for religious purposes by members of three American Indian tribes in northwestern California. We conclude that it does not.

READ MORE


Roderick Jackson, a teacher in the Birmingham, Alabama, public schools, brought suit against the Birmingham Board of Education (Board) alleging that the Board retaliated against him because he had complained about sex discrimination in the high school's athletic program. Jackson claimed that the Board's retaliation violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Pub. L. 92-318, 86 Stat. 373, as amended, 20 U. S. C. § 1681 et seq. The District Court dismissed Jackson's complaint on the ground that Title IX does not prohibit retaliation, and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. 309 F. 3d 1333 (2002). We consider here whether the private right of action implied by Title IX encompasses claims of retaliation. We hold that it does where the funding recipient retaliates against an individual because he has complained about sex discrimination.

READ MORE


In 1977, New York passed legislation commonly known as the "Son of Sam" law, which required any entity contracting with an accused or convicted criminal for the production of a work describing the crime to turn over to the state's Crime Victims Board any income earned under that contract. The Board then made payments from that fund for legal and literary representation, compensation to victims, and payments to other creditors. In 1986, the Board became aware of a contract between publisher Simon & Schuster and organized crime figure Henry Hill for a book entitled Wiseguy. After the Board sought to enforce the Son of Sam law against Simon & Schuster, the publisher brought suit seeking a ruling that the legislation violated the First Amendment. The trial court and Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the statute. A statute is presumed to violate the First Amendment if it imposes a financial burden on speakers because of the content of their speech. Leathers v. Medlock, 499 U.S. 439 (1991). Such a statute can be upheld only if it is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Arkansas Writers' Project, Inc. v. Ragland, 481 U.S. 221 (1987).

READ MORE


Section 127(a) of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA or Act), 111 Stat. 2328, 21 U. S. C. ง 353a, exempts "compounded drugs" from the Food and Drug Administration's standard drug approval requirements as long as the providers of those drugs abide by several restrictions, including that they refrain from advertising or promoting particular compounded drugs. Respondents, a group of licensed pharmacies that specialize in compounding drugs, sought to enjoin enforcement of the subsections of the Act dealing with advertising and solicitation, arguing that those provisions violate the First Amendment's free speech guarantee. The District Court agreed with respondents and granted their motion for summary judgment, holding that the provisions do not meet the test for acceptable government regulation of commercial speech set forth in Central Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Public Serv. Comm'n of N. Y., 447 U. S. 557, 566 (1980). The court invalidated the relevant provisions, severing them from the rest of ง 127(a).

READ MORE


This case requires us to determine the constitutionality of regulations promulgated by the Missouri Division of Corrections relating to inmate marriages and inmate-to-inmate correspondence. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, applying a strict scrutiny analysis, concluded that the regulations violate respondents' constitutional rights. We hold that a lesser standard of scrutiny is appropriate in determining the constitutionality of the prison rules. Applying that standard, we uphold the validity of the correspondence regulation, but we conclude that the marriage restriction cannot be sustained.

READ MORE


Exemption 7(D) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U. S. C. § 552 (FOIA), exempts from disclosure agency records "compiled for law enforcement purposes . . . by criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation" if release of those records "could reasonably be expected to disclose" the identity of, or information provided by, a "confidential source." § 552(b)(7)(D). This case concerns the evidentiary showing that the Government must make to establish that a source is "confidential" within the meaning of Exemption 7(D). We are asked to decide whether the Government is entitled to a presumption that all sources supplying information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI or Bureau) in the course of a criminal investigation are confidential sources.

READ MORE


The question presented is whether respondent may be convicted for violating 18 U. S. C. § 1382, which makes it unlawful to reenter a military base after having been barred by the commanding officer. Respondent attended an open house at a military base some nine years after the commanding officer ordered him not to reenter without written permission. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that respondent could not be convicted for violating § 1382 because he had a First Amendment right to enter the military base during the open house. 710 F. 2d 1410 (1983). We granted certiorari, 469 U. S. 1071 (1984), and we now reverse.

READ MORE


Government property that is designated by the government as being open and available to the pubic for expressive purposes is as classified as a public forum. The government regulation of speech in a public forum must pass strict scrutiny.Hague v. CIO, 307 U.S. 496 (1939). Speech in a public forum may also be regulated by reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions which do not target the content of speech. If on the other hand, the Government has not made their property available for public expression, or the function of the property would be substantially hampered by expression, the property will be classified as a non-public forum. The Government may regulate or ban all types of speech in a nonpublic forum. Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966). Lastly, a quasi-public or limited public forum may exist where the government has opened to certain First Amendment uses. A government-operated limited public forum is not required to and does not allow individuals to engage in all types of speech. The regulation of speech activity where the Government has not dedicated its property to First Amendment activity is examined only for reasonableness.

READ MORE


This case arises out of two separate cross-burning incidents. In May 1998, two men Richard J. Elliott and Jonathan OMara burned a cross in the yard of James Jubilee, an African-American neighbor of Elliott. In August 1998, Barry Elton Black leads a Ku Klux Klan rally on private property with the consent of the owner. Black burns a cross at the rally, which frightens a neighbor of the property owner. Prosecutors charge all three men with violating Virginias cross-burning statute, which provides: It shall be unlawful for any person or persons, with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, to burn, or to cause to be burned, a cross on the property of another, a highway or other public place. Any person who shall violate any provision of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. All three men lose their criminal cases before the trial court. A jury convicts Elliott and Black in separate proceedings. OMara enters a conditional plea of guilty. This means he pleas guilty to the offense but reserves the right to challenge the constitutionality of the cross-burning law. The court of appeals affirms the convictions of the three men in two separate cases. The appeals court reasons that the statute only proscribes true threats, a category of expression not protected by the First Amendment. The appeals court also determines that the burning of the cross is a form of fighting words, another category of speech not protected by the First Amendment. On appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court consolidates, or combines, the two cases. In a 4-3 decision, the state supreme court reverses, finding the statute violates the First Amendment. The majority reasons that the statute regulates speech based on hostility to the underlying message of cross burning.

READ MORE


1 2