A rule (Rule 6.05) of the Minnesota Agricultural Society (Society), a Minnesota public corporation that operates the annual state fair, provides that sale or distribution of any merchandise, including printed or written material, except from a duly licensed location on the fairgrounds shall be a misdemeanor. As Rule 6.05 is construed and applied by the Society, all persons, groups, or firms desiring to sell, exhibit, or distribute materials during the fair must do so only from fixed locations. However, the Rule does not prevent organizational representatives from walking about the fairgrounds and communicating the organization's views to fair patrons in face-to-face discussions. Space in the fairgrounds is rented in a nondiscriminatory fashion on a first-come, first-served basis, and Rule 6.05 applies alike to nonprofit, charitable, and commercial enterprises. Respondents, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. (ISKCON), an organization espousing the views of the Krishna religion, and the head of one of its temples filed suit in a Minnesota state court against state officials, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that Rule 6.05, on its face and as applied, violated their First Amendment rights. ISKCON asserted that the Rule suppressed the practice of Sankirtan, a religious ritual that enjoins its members to go into public places to distribute or sell religious literature and to solicit donations for the support of the Krishna religion. The trial court upheld the constitutionality of Rule 6.05, but the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed.

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A Minnesota law prohibits ballot fusion, which is a practice that allows political candidates to appear on the ballot as the nominee of more than one party. While widespread in the 19th century, this practice now is prohibited in most states. These prohibitions tend to inhibit the growth of third parties by reducing their ability to ally themselves with established parties. The candidate in the Minnesota case, Andy Dawkins, was running unopposed as the nominee of the "major" Democratic-Farm-Labor party for a state representative seat. The Twin Cities Area New Party, a "minor" party under Minnesota law, wished to nominate Dawkins as its candidate for the same seat, and Dawkins was willing to appear on the ballot as a multi-party candidate. The Democratic-Farm-Labor party did not object to the New Party's nomination of Dawkins. Under the Minnesota non-fushion law, however, Dawkins was prohibited from appearing on the ballot as the nominee of the New Party. The New Party sued, but the district court upheld the Minnesota law. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Minnesota law severely burdened the New Party's associational rights and that the law was not narrowly tailored to achieve the law's stated purposes. When deciding whether a state election law violates the First Amendment, the Court is to balance the statute's burden on expression against the purposes the law is designed to serve. Burdick v. Takushi, 504 U.S. 428 (1992). If the burden is significant, the statute must further a compelling state interest. If the burden is not as great, the law will be upheld if it advances an "important," though not necessarily compelling, interest.Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983).

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For the third time in eight years, we consider whether a federal program that finances generic advertising to promote an agricultural product violates the First Amendment. In these cases, unlike the previous two, the dispositive question is whether the generic advertising at issue is the Government's own speech and therefore is exempt from First Amendment scrutiny.

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In 1996 and 1997, various media outlets report on allegedly unsafe working conditions at Nike facilities in Southeast Asia. Nike responds to these allegations and negative publicity with a series of press releases, letters to university presidents and athletic directors and editorial advertisements. These documents deny that Nike mistreats workers, subjects them to unsafe working conditions and fails to pay proper overtime pay. In 1998, consumer activist Marc Kasky files a lawsuit against Nike and five of its corporate officers in San Francisco Superior Court, alleging negligent misrepresentation, intentional or reckless misrepresentation, unlawful business practices, and false advertising. The lawsuit claims that Nike violated state consumer laws prohibiting false advertising and unfair competition. Nike files a demurrer (motion to dismiss) on First Amendment grounds. In 1999, a trial court dismisses the suit on First Amendment grounds. A state appeals court affirms this ruling next year in Kasky v. Nike, Inc., 79 Cal. App. 4th 165, 93 Cal. Rptr. 2d 854 (Cal.App. 2000). The California appeals court disagrees with plaintiffs theory that Nikes expression is commercial speech deserving reduced First Amendment protection. The court writes that a public relations campaign focusing on corporate image, such as that at issue here, calls for a different analysis than that applying to product advertisement. Instead, the court determines that Nikes speech is noncommercial speech and public dialogue on a matter of public concern. On May 2, the California Supreme Court reverses in Kasky v. Nike, Inc. , 27 Cal. 4th 939, 45 P.3d 243 (Cal. 2002) by a vote of 4-3. The majority determines that because the messages in question were directed by a commercial speaker to a commercial audience, and because they made representations of fact about the speakers own business operations for the purpose of promoting sales of its products, we conclude that these messages are commercial speech for purposes of applying state laws barring false and misleading commercial messages. Nike appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agrees to hear the case. The Court schedules oral arguments for April 23, 2003.

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448 U.S. 555 (1980) RICHMOND NEWSPAPERS, INC., ET AL. v. VIRGINIA ET AL.   No. 79-243. Supreme Court of United States.   Argued February 19, 1980. Decided July 2, 1980. APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA.*558 Laurence H. Tribe argued the cause for appellants. With him on the briefs were Andrew J. Brent, Alexander Wellford, Leslie W. Mullins, and David Rosenberg. Marshall Coleman, Attorney General of Virginia, argued the cause for appellees. With him on the brief were James E. Moore, Leonard L. Hopkins, Jr., Martin A. Donlan, Jr., and Jerry P. Slonaker, Assistant Attorneys General.[*] MR. CHIEF JUSTICE […]

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The issue before us is the constitutionality of § 223(b) of the Communications Act of 1934. 47 U. S. C. § 223(b) (1982 ed., Supp. V). The statute, as amended in 1988, imposes an outright ban on indecent as well as obscene interstate commercial telephone messages. The District Court upheld the prohibition against obscene interstate telephone communications for commercial purposes, but enjoined the enforcement of the statute insofar as it applied to indecent messages. We affirm the District Court in both respects.

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In 1996, United Foods, Inc., a mushroom producer in Tennessee, refused to pay assessments under a generic ad program promulgated pursuant to the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1990. The United States then filed an action against United Food seeking to enforce the terms of a mushroom order. United Foods filed an action, alleging that the act and the generic ad program violated its First Amendment rights. The two actions were stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of a generic ad program for California fruits in Glickman v. Wileman Bros. & Elliott, 521 U.S. 457 (1997). After the Supreme Court ruled the California program constitutional, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of the government. United Foods then sued in a federal district court. After United Foods' First Amendment suit was consolidated with the government's enforcement action, a federal district court ruled in 1998 that the Supreme Court's 1997 decision was "clearly dispositive." On appeal, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the mushroom industry was far less regulated than the California fruit industry. The panel wrote: "The Court's holding in Wileman, we believe, is that nonideological, compelled, commercial speech is justified in the context of the extensive regulation of an industry but not otherwise. The government appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted certiorari on Nov. 27, 2000.

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