Tag Archives: First Amendment

Judge Castel Upholds New York’s “Ballot Selfie Ban” After Bench Trial

Today, Judge Castel formally upheld New York State’s “ballot selfie ban” at the conclusion of a bench trial.  The ruling comes after Judge Castel denied a preliminary injunction shortly before the November 2016 election (see our previous coverage here). Considering whether the law violated the First Amendment, Judge Castel found that the law survived strict scrutiny because … Continue Reading

Judge Oetken: Law Banning Robocalls to Cell Phones, Except Where Government is Collecting Debts, Does Not Violate First Amendment

In an opinion Wednesday in a case under the TCPA, a law that (among other things) bars calls without consent to cell phones via automatic dealings systems, Judge Oeken rejected the defendant’s argument that, by exempting government debt collection calls from the ban, the law is a form of speech discrimination that violates the First Amendment. … Continue Reading

Complaint: @realDonaldTrump Blocking Twitter Users Violates First Amendment

A complaint filed today alleges that President Trump and others violated the First Amendment when they blocked Twitter users who wrote tweets critical of the president.  The plaintiffs claim that preventing them from viewing comments, replying to tweets, and participating in comment threads denies access to an important public forum in the 21st century. According … Continue Reading

Judge Netburn Refuses New Yorker Magazine’s Request for Ray Kelly’s Deposition Because Appeal Divested Her of Jurisdiction

On Friday, Judge Netburn rejected the New Yorker magazine’s letter request to release a sealed deposition of former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, in a case brought by Muslim officer who sued Mr. Kelly and New York City for discrimination but lost on summary judgment.  She found that she lacked jurisdiction to grant the request because the … Continue Reading

Judge Schofield Rules that State Courts Should First Interpret a Lobbying Law under First Amendment Challenge

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Schofield invoked so-called “Pullman”-abstention and thereby declined to rule on a case raising a novel state question.  The case is a constitutional challenge by PR firms to a New York law requiring lobbyists to make certain disclosures.  The firms argued that an advisory opinion by state regulators could be interpreted … Continue Reading

Judge Castel Denies Injunction Against Enforcement of “Ballot Selfie” Ban

Today, Judge Castel denied an attempt to enjoin the enforcement of New York’s Election Law § 17-130, or the so-called “ballot selfie” ban.  Judge Castel found that the state’s interest in protecting against voter fraud and intimidation by preventing voters from revealing the content of their ballots (even if through Instagram) was a reasonable First Amendment … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Echoes Judge Castel’s Timing Concern in Refusing to Immediatly Enjoin “Ballot Selfie” Ban

In an opinion this afternoon, the Sixth Circuit refused to block Michigan’s “ballot selfie” ban, and, in doing so, echoed the very same concern from Judge Castel on Wednesday (covered in this post, immediately below), about delay in bringing suit: One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Michigan enacted a law designed to protect the secret … Continue Reading

Judge Castel Expresses Skepticism of Delay in Application to Enjoin “Ballot Selfie” Ban

On Wednesday, a new complaint sought a TRO and preliminary injunction against a law banning so-called “ballot selfies” on the ground that the law violates the First Amendment.  According to the complaint, “Taking a photograph of a filled out ballot is a powerful political statement that demonstrates the importance of voting. Without the photograph, the message … Continue Reading

Judge Stein Dismisses Citizens United’s Challenge to New York’s Charity Reporting Laws

Today, Judge Stein dismissed claims by Citizens United challenging New York’s reporting requirements for charities in the state (see our previous coverage here).  Citizens United challenged the New York Attorney General’s requirement that charities file an un-redacted Schedule B, a form listing the names and contribution amounts of the charity’s donors, before receiving a license … Continue Reading

Judge Seibel Rejects First Amendment Challenge to Local Law Requiring Price Labels on Supermarket Goods

Last week, Judge Seibel dismissed a First Amendment challenge to a Dutchess County law requiring retail supermarkets to clearly post prices on each item using a sticker, tag, or other label.  The plaintiff claimed that changing the price tags on items each time the store held a sale was an improper burden on the store’s … Continue Reading

Judge McMahon Issues Injunction Allowing Subway Ads About Muslim Documentary

In a decision today, Judge McMahon granted a preliminary injunction allowing subway ads about a humorous documentary called “The Muslims Are Coming!”  The ads included statements such as: “The Ugly Truth About Muslims: Muslims have great frittata recipes,” and “Muslims invented Justin Timberlake.”  One reason the film producer (a company referred to as VQP) chose to … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Upholds New York’s Credit Card Surcharge Ban

The Second Circuit this morning upheld New York State’s ban on credit card “surcharges.” Judge Rakoff had earlier found (see our coverage here) that the law, § 518 of the General Business Law, likely violated the First Amendment because it imposed criminal penalties for calling extra credit card fees “surcharges” but allowed merchants to offer the … Continue Reading

SDNY Blog Returns as Steptoe Blog

The SDNY Blog is relaunching as a publication of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.  We expect to post several times a week on decisions and other developments in the Southern District of New York.  You can find us right here at www.sdnyblog.com, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening in the Southern … Continue Reading

American Idol Moves to Dismiss Discrimination Suit on First Amendment Grounds

The producers of American Idol last week moved to dismiss a discrimination suit alleging that African-American contestants with prior arrests or convictions were shamed and disqualified while similarly-situated white contestants were promoted as “second chance” stories. (See our prior post here.) The motion begins by highlighting the success of African-American contestants generally:… Continue Reading

Judge Oetken Rules Hyperlinking Constitutes Attribution to Source, Dismisses Defamation Suit by Sheldon Adelson

In an opinion today, Judge Oetken dismissed a defamation suit brought by GOP donor Sheldon Adelson because (among other reasons) the allegedly defamatory language hyperlinked to an AP article about a lawsuit, and thus constituted a privileged “attribution” of the assertion to a judicial proceeding.  The suit related to an online petition entitled “Tell Romney … Continue Reading

Judge Sullivan: Some Arrests at 2004 RNC Lacked Probable Cause

In a decision filed on Sunday, Judge Sullivan granted in part and denied in part the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment in Dinler et al. v. City of New York – the consolidated actions brought by protesters arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. The parties’ fifty motions addressed four issues: … Continue Reading

Judge Engelmayer Preliminarily Enjoins MTA’s Advertising Policy on First Amendment Grounds

Judge Engelmayer today granted a motion for a preliminary injunction by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (the “ADFI”), a pro-Israel lobbying group, against the New York City MTA, enjoining application of the MTA’s standards for acceptable advertising. The ADFI had submitted an advertisement to run on the backs of city buses that read: “In any … Continue Reading
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