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Author: Deborah J. LaFetra

October 06, 2021

When are T-shirts considered prohibited electioneering?

Elections end, but T-shirts can live forever. Until last week, Texas law prohibited voters from wearing an Obama or Reagan T-shirt in polling places, even when neither past president was on a present ballot. In fact, the law prohibited voters from wearing anything that an election worker deemed "electioneering" for or against any candidate, politic ...

July 06, 2021

Daily Journal: Property rights: the former “poor relation” takes its place at the table

The federal Civil Rights Act of 1871 authorizes Americans to sue in federal court to vindicate the government's violation of their civil rights. Congress guaranteed the federal forum out of concern that state courts could not entirely be trusted to protect constitutional rights. For this reason, civil rights plaintiffs generally may sue directly in ...

July 06, 2021

The Hill: Supreme Court: Schools must teach the value of free speech

According to recent surveys, free speech is losing favor among college students. While supporting free expression in general terms, students prefer to carve out exceptions to censor speech that offends or is controversial or leaves some listeners feeling pained or troubled. Where did these young adults develop such discomfort with free speech, a tr ...

July 01, 2021

What the Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco win means for property rights cases moving forward

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court announced that courts must hear our case Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco, which challenges a San Francisco ordinance that forces land owners to provide lifetime leases to tenants. In the Court's opinion, they removed barriers to bringing property rights cases in federal court. In 2009, Peyma ...

April 28, 2021

National Review: Free speech in battle with snitch culture before the courts

As a high-school sophomore, B. L. was upset when she failed to make the varsity cheerleading team. At the mall with a friend that weekend, she vented her frustrations by posting a picture to Snapchat in which she raised her middle finger accompanied by the caption, "F*** school f*** softball f*** cheer f*** everything." One ...

March 12, 2021

You shouldn’t need to be rich to defend your civil rights in court

Editor’s note: In March 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Uzuegbunam to allow nominal damages for past completed constitutional injuries. This decision will ensure access to the court (regardless of someone’s wealth) to more people who’ve had their rights violated by the government. *** If the government ...

March 05, 2021

Daily Journal: One step closer to professional freedom

Mandatory bars associations, also called integrated or unified bars, combine government agency regulations with trade association-style politicking. Assuming that mandatory bar associations were best suited to handling admission, education, and regulation of attorneys, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Lathrop v. Donohue (1961) that states did not i ...

March 05, 2021

Labor unions shouldn’t get a special pass to trespass on private property

Which of these things is not like the others? The bullhorn-wielding Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist at Starbucks. Students staging a sit-in at a private college to protest administration salaries and student debt. Animal welfare activists trespassing on agricultural production properties to gather evidence of animal mistreatment. Environmentalist ...

March 01, 2021

Daily Journal: Lease of a lifetime! Can property owners ever challenge San Francisco’s gift to tenants?

Why do people buy retirement homes? To live in them! (It wasn't a trick question.) San Francisco lost sight of that simple truth when it decided that condo conversions presented an opportunity to require property owners to offer their tenants a lifetime lease. Ohio residents Peyman Pakdel and his wife, Sima Chegini, bought a charming ...

November 13, 2020

Jurist: The Supreme Court and the importance of nominal damages

When attorneys file legal complaints in court, they generally request specific relief for the plaintiff, such as a declaration that government action was unconstitutional, or an injunction, or compensatory damages. Then, just in case they forgot something, they add a catch-all request asking for "any such additional relief as would be just and prop ...