Articles Tagged with first amendment

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Ventura County CourthouseCourthouse News Service won a ruling in the Ninth Circuit recently for access to court filings. CNS went to federal court last year to challenge the Ventura County Superior Court policy of delaying the release of court opinions.  A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case, finding that it was not a First Amendment issue, but a claim that involved sensitive state information, and that the federal court should abstain. The Ninth Circuit overturned that ruling and remanded the case to the federal district court for a decision on the merits.

Courthouse News Service is a periodical that covers courthouses all over the United States. They send reporters into courts every day to review the filings and write about the newsworthy cases. Most courts in California allow reporters daily access to the filings, but Ventura County has a policy that delays reporter access until “official processing” is completed, at which point the cases are no longer breaking news.

The Ninth Circuit found a clear First Amendment interest in immediate reporter access to the opinions. In the opinion, Judge Wardlaw wrote, “CNS’s First Amendment right of access claim falls within the general rule against abstaining under Pullman in First Amendment cases. CNS’s right of access claim implicates the same fundamental First Amendment interests as a free expression claim, and it equally commands the respect and attention of the federal courts.” We have the featured the trial and appellate court filings on Justia Dockets. You can read the full opinion and summary on Justia, as well. Continue reading →

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Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in Teesdale v. City of Chicago that a city’s legal argument in a civil proceeding does not constitute its official policy.

One of the threshold questions before a person or entity may sue another in federal court is one of judicial standing. When the person or entity is suing for prospective relief—that is, a court order preventing a harm that has not yet occurred, the threshold is particularly high. Under the Supreme Court case City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, a plaintiff seeking prospective relief must show that he or she is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as the result of the challenged conduct, and the injury or threat of injury must be “real and immediate,” not “conjectural” or “hypothetical.” In Teesdale, the court found that Teesdale did not meet the standing requirement and thus could not go forward with his case against the City of Chicago. Continue reading →

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Who is an American? For a “corporate person,” does the answer depend on where the corporation is headquartered? Or, should we look at the composition of its workforce? Last week, I looked at some tax data found in various securities filings to calculate the tax rate paid by various corporations. Today, I wanted to see how “American” some American companies really were by digging through employment data from the SEC EDGAR System.

EDGAR features a repository of financial data that companies have filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. From registration statements to annual reports, EDGAR offers a detailed glimpse at the state of various domestic and foreign businesses.

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The Supreme Court has handed down opinions in some of the cases that we blogged about back in October. Here are the updates.

FCC v. ATT

Back in October, I wondered whether this case would add to the growing list of personal rights for corporations. The short answer is no. The Court held that corporations are not entitled to a “personal privacy” exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. 5 U. S. C. §552(b)(7)(C).

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These presents aren’t going to wrap themselves, folks.

You’re at work, but you’re on Amazon and Overstock searching for deals, right? It’s Cyber Monday–the online equivalent of Black Friday, where the web stores are jammed with consumers distracted at work. Amazon and Target even have special sales on this day and advertise with the adwords “Cyber Monday.”

I guess I’m a scrooge [ed: Ebeneezer Scrooge was a banker, not a lawyer], but the first thing I thought of was how much tax money the state governments were going to get screwed out of today. And thus, a blog post was born.

It turns out that a 1992 US Supreme Court Case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota 504 U.S. 298 (1992) held that retailers are exempt from collecting sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence (nexus), such as a store, office, or warehouse. The case dealt with a catalog/mail order business, but it has since been applied to Internet retailers. The Court felt that requiring businesses to collect sales tax from 50 states with different rules would amount to an undue burden on interstate commerce.
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Yesterday, we discussed some of the evidence presented at trial in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America et al., a case heard in the United States District Court Central District of California by Judge Virginia A. Phillips. Today, we continue with the court’s analysis and conclusion.

Analysis of Evidence and Findings of Fact

Based on the evidence presented, the Court found the following negative impacts from DADT:

Discharge of qualified servicemembers despite troop shortages

From 1993-2009, the Government discharged 7,856 servicemembers under the Act. Troop shortages in the midst of two wars are a pressing issue for the Armed Forces.
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Credit: Westboro Baptist Church

The first Monday in October marks the opening of the 2010 term for the United States Supreme Court. During this week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a number of cases, including one that examines the boundaries of the First Amendment.

In Snyder v. Phelps, Albert Snyder, the father of a deceased Marine had sued Pastor Fred W. Phelps, Sr., the Westboro Baptist Church and some of its members for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff Snyder had lost his son, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder, on March 3, 2006, while his son was serving in the line of duty in Iraq.
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