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Freedom of Speech and Association

First Amendment lawsuit filed in federal court Ogilvie v. Gordon

California’s DMV strays from its own lane to act as speech police

To Chris Ogilvie’s military friends, he’s known as OG—a nickname stemming from boot camp. To his friends back home, Chris is known as Woolf. So, upon his honorable discharge following four tours overseas including Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army veteran bought a car and applied for a personalized license plate spelled “OGWOOLF.&# ...

American Society of Journalists and Authors v. Becerra

California’s freelancer law destroys journalists’ freedom, autonomy

In an effort to regulate the employment status of independent contractors, California passed a law forcing companies in the state to reclassify most freelancers as employees. Under AB 5, freelance journalists and photographers must cap their submissions at 35 per year, per publisher. Anything greater, and they become employees, losing their profess ...

Debbie Pulley v. Janice Izlar, President of the Georgia Board of Nursing

Georgia midwife sues to continue speaking truthfully about her profession

Debbie Pulley has been a Certified Professional Midwife in Georgia for 24 years, both working as a midwife and advocating for midwives. The state’s rules changed in 2015, allowing only licensed nurses to practice midwifery in Georgia. So Debbie turned her efforts to reforming Georgia’s laws and advocating for access to midwifery care. B ...

Constitutional Rights of public workers Jackson v. Napolitano

California law keeps workers ignorant of their constitutional rights

Last year, the Supreme Court emphasized in Janus v. AFSCME that public employees have a First Amendment right to refuse to pay a union, and “must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them.” Before the state can authorize a union to deduct dues payments from employee paychecks, workers must give their clear permissio ...

Kotler v. Webb

California’s next frontier as speech police: your license plate

Jon Kotler is a First Amendment professor at the University of Southern California (USC). He is also a huge fan of the London-based Fulham Football Club and a longtime season ticket holder. Wishing to celebrate the team’s recent success, Jon applied for a personalized license plate with the letters “COYW,” which stands for “ ...

Ostrewich v. Trautman

Your shirt or your vote: Fighting to protect free speech at the ballot box

When Jillian Ostrewich entered her Houston, Texas, polling place in 2018, she expected the only decisions she’d face would be on the ballot. Instead, an election judge gave her an ultimatum: turn her shirt inside out or forfeit her vote. Similarly, in 2018, a Dallas-area election judge ordered Tony Ortiz to turn his “MAGA” hat ins ...

Peter Stavrianoudakis, et al., v. United States Department of Fish & Wildlife and California Department of Fish & Wildlife

Falconry regulations run afoul of the Bill of Rights

Peter Stavrianoudakis is a longtime licensed falconer in California who just wants to do what people have been doing for thousands of years—raise and train falcons. But state and federal regulations have become so restrictive, he and fellow falconers around the country are left to choose between their falcons or their constitutional rights. Pacif ...

Freedom Foundation v. Washington Dept. of Ecology

State agency Scrooge violates Santa’s First Amendment rights

Each year around the holidays, Washington-based Freedom Foundation sends staff members to the lobbies of state agency buildings. These staffers—dressed as Santa—hand out leaflets that explain state employees’ right to opt out of union dues. Allowed by most agencies, the Washington Department of Ecology in 2017 instead prohibited the leafl ...

Rentberry v. City of Seattle

Seattle’s unconstitutional rent-bidding law blocks innovation, free speech

Rentberry is a small San Francisco-based startup that connects landlords and renters through a rent-bidding website. The company hopes to expand its service to Seattle, however city council adopted a one-year moratorium on the service over concerns it might violate existing rental law and might inflate housing costs—despite no evidence that eithe ...

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