Blog

Filter By:
Sort By:

Free Speech and Association

February 20, 2019

Courts can’t look the other way when the government censors speech

When the government seeks to stifle a viewpoint it doesn't like, it's probably not going to be forthcoming about it.  Instead, it will concoct a pretextual reason for its action, or use a "neutral" proxy that, in practice, discriminates against viewpoints it doesn't like. For the First Amendment to have teeth, then, courts must be ...

February 13, 2019

Democracy depends on Free Speech

When Alexis de Tocqueville made his famous sojourn to America in the early days of our republic, he was struck by our commitment to democratic principles. In those days almost all government was local and conducted through various direct mechanisms like town meetings. Basically, elected officials, neighbors, and the curious would get together and d ...

February 08, 2019

Time to reacquaint campaign finance with the First Amendment

Today, PLF filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reconsider the First Amendment's relationship to campaign contributions in a case called Illinois Liberty PAC v. Raoul. The case challenges an Illinois law that imposes contribution limits on all individuals and groups except political parties and their leaders. The case would allow the C ...

February 08, 2019

PLF to the City of Boston: Let Freedom Fly!

The residents of Boston come from a diverse array of cultural, ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds. To help celebrate and commemorate the City's diversity, Boston allows private groups to fly flags on one of the City's flagpoles next to Boston's City Hall building. The City has allowed a wide array of groups to use the ...

October 16, 2018

When speech is a nuisance

Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Conagra v. State of California, a California state court decision holding that that three companies that lawfully sold lead paint are liable for creating a public nuisance and must therefore pay hundreds of millions of dollars into an "abatement" fund to investigate residential lead paint in the sta ...

September 28, 2018

Seattle can’t ban criminal background checks

Does a landlord have a constitutional right to ask about someone’s criminal background before renting to them? Today, PLF filed a brief in Yim v. City of Seattle unveiling the (obvious) answer: Yes! Seattle’s “Fair Chance Housing Ordinance” forbids inquiries into a rental applicant’s criminal history. And just in ca ...