Learn more about Peltz-Steele v. UMass Faculty Federation at Court Listener (complaint) and the Liberty Justice Center. The case is now on appeal in the First Circuit as no. 22-1466 (PACER paywall). Please direct media inquiries to Kristen Williamson.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

UMass Law Federalist Society talks speech, SCOTUS

Regular blog readers will soon recognize that I am playing catch-up, sharing items that I stockpiled for the better part of the spring semester.

Indeed, I was overwhelmed this spring by a number of great opportunities to speak, teach, learn, and share, all unplanned when the calendar turned to 2022. The blog had to take a back seat.

This overdue thanks harkens back to winter, circa Valentine's Day.  A very fun thing I did was speak to my own law school's student chapter of the Federalist Society about cases with free speech implications—and some related stuff that interests me—in the 2021-2022 term of the U.S. Supreme Court. These are the cases I chose on which to focus our attention (with links here to SCOTUSblog).

  • Access: Project Veritas Action Fund v. Rollinscert. denied. (U.S. Nov. 22, 2021) (1st Cir. having struck Mass. wiretap statute as applied).
  • Voir dire: U.S. v. Tsarnaev (U.S. Mar. 4, 2022) (reversing vacatur of death sentence in re pretrial publicity).
  • Speech/retaliation: Houston Cmty. Coll. Sys. v. Wilson (U.S. Mar. 24, 2022) (allowing First Amendment claim for verbal censure of public board member by board).
  • Forum/gov't speech & establishment: Shurtleff v. City of Boston (U.S. May 2, 2022) (faulting city for refusal to fly ecumenical flag).
  • Campaign finance: FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate (U.S. May 16, 2022) (striking limit on candidate's ability to repay himself for loan to campaign).
  • Bivens: Egbert v. Boule (U.S. June 8, 2022) (refusing to recognize implied constitutional causes of action for Fourth Amendment excessive force and First Amendment retaliation in context of immigration enforcement at border).
  • Religious exercise and establishment: Kennedy v. Bremerton Sch. Dist. (U.S. June 27, 2022) (siding with high school football coach who prayed on field).

We furthermore talked and speculated about "the actual malice question" raised by Palin v. New York Times (e.g., NPR), a pet favorite topic of mine at the intersection of tort law and free speech.

The students offered insightful questions and commentary. I am grateful to them for lending me a soapbox.

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