First Amendment - Anti-SLAPP - California Constitution - grpub.net

First Amendment

The words are from the Bible — Deuteronomy 16:20 — and they appear on a plaque under the name of the circuit attorney of St. Louis, Missouri. The demand to take down the plaque, on the theory that it violates the Establishment Clause, comes from The Freedom From Religion Foundation, Christian News reports.“We write to request that this sign be removed, both because it represents a government endorsement of religion in violation of the First Amendment, and because it advocates a form of ‘justice’ that is incompatible with constitutional principles,” the letter, sent on Monday, reads.How does that statement — "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue"  — advocate a form of quote-unquote justice that's incompatible with constitutional principles? FFRF's idea seems to be that we can't judge the words out of context, and if we add the rest of Deuteronomy, we find a whole lot of "justice" that…
LEFTISTS ARE VERY BIG ON PUNISHING PEOPLE THEY DISAGREE WITH: San Antonio Violates the First Amendment to Punish Chick-fil-A.
In Williams v. Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, (UT App, March 21, 2019), a Utah state appellate court upheld the dismissal of an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim brought by a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses against church bodies and individuals.  At issue was the manner in which a judicial committee of the Church conducted an investigation into plaintiff Ria Williams sexual conduct.  The court said in part:In the summer of 2007, Williams met another Jehovah’s Witnesses congregant (“Church Member”). Williams and Church Member began seeing each other socially, but the relationship quickly changed and throughout the rest of the year Church Member physically and sexually assaulted Williams, who was a minor....After questioning Williams about her sexual conduct, the Elders played an audio recording of Church Member raping Williams. Church Member recorded this incident and gave it to the Elders during their investigation…
Facebook PagePresident Trump’s Twitter AccountGovernmental Social Media PageRight of Account Owner to Suppress a Public Comment?First AmendmentGovernment SpeechPublic ForumTraditional Public Forum, or Designated or Limited Public ForumViewpoint Discrimination42 U.S.C. § 1983Randall has chaired the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors since January 1, 2016. The day before she was sworn in as chair, Randall created the “Chair Phyllis J. Randall” Facebook Page (the “Chair’s Facebook Page”). According to Facebook, Inc., unlike personal Facebook profiles, which are for non-commercial use and represent individual people, Facebook “Pages”—like the Chair’s Facebook Page—“help businesses, organizations, and brands share their stories and connect with people.” J.A. 403. “Pages are managed by people who have personal profiles,” the company explains. J.A. 403. In addition to the Chair’s…
The Download of the Week is A Computational Analysis of Constitutional Polarization on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: This Article is the first to use computational methods to investigate the ideological and partisan structure of constitutional discourse outside the courts. We apply a range of machine-learning and text-analysis techniques to a newly available data set comprising all remarks made on the U.S. House and Senate floors from 1873 to 2016, as well as a collection of more recent newspaper editorials. Among other findings, we demonstrate: (1) that constitutional discourse has grown increasingly polarized over the past four decades; (2) that polarization has grown faster in constitutional discourse than in non-constitutional discourse; (3) that conservative-leaning speakers have driven this trend; (4) that members of Congress whose political party does not control the presidency or their own chamber are significantly more likely to invoke the Constitution in…
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to promote transparency and diverse dialogue at public universities. The President’s order primarily focuses on financial transparency so that students are aware of their financial risks if they were to borrow money for their education as well as repayment plans upon graduation. However, the executive order also includes provisions calling for diverse and open debate on college campuses. Because students are taking on high amounts of debt, they should have the right to “free inquiry” which is crucial to innovation, academic success, and overall student life, the order says. Driven by the First Amendment, the order requires that every institution that receives federal funding guarantee a campus of “free inquiry.” The President wants to ensure that students who are taking out absorbent amounts of federal loans and institutions who take federal funding are creating environments where all…

Anti-SLAPP

Firing Drummer Was a Protected Act of Free Expression - March 21, 2019 - Mark I. Schickman, Freeland Cooper & Foreman, LLP
We are often asked whether being an “at-will” employer means a company can terminate somebody for a discriminatory reason—for example, because she is a woman or a person of color. The answer is no. The at-will-employment doctrine does not protect employers from the consequences of discriminatory job actions. But the 2nd District Court of Appeal recently held that some employers may be immune from the consequences of discriminatory terminations. Source: baytunc / E+ / Getty Eddie, Hold on to Me Edward Mahoney is a rock and roll singer-songwriter better known as Eddie Money. Between 1976 and 1989, he had a handful of top 20 hits, including “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” and “Baby Hold On.” He has played concerts across the country throughout his career, firing his band members when he isn’t touring and rehiring them when he’s ready to hit the road again. Glenn Symmonds is a musician who worked…
Article Round-up - March 18, 2019
Today's DJ has Writ Review by Donald Horvath, former head writ attorney at the 5th DCA. he points out that appellate courts might deny writ relief thinking that the petitioner might win the case anyway, or might lose and then appeal on a better record, or the case might settle. Thus, "If you can show that these possibilities are unlikely to occur, discuss this in your petition." "If you can persuade the appellate court that denial of the writ will simply postpone the inevitable--hearing the same issue on appeal after judgment--do it."Today's DJ also has Judge Karnow in Project Admissibility, about the Supreme Court's Sweetwater case, which holds that mere inadmissibility is not fatal for a prong 2 anti-SLAPP analysis. And Reed Smith's Kasey Curtis and Charles Hyun also address Sweetwater in Proper Submission of Pre-Trial Evidence: The Twin Hurdles.Today's Recorder has Bedsworth: Me and Franklin G. West in which Beds expounds on…
One of the screenshots from the complaint A charitable fundraising organization, America CAN!, has a registered trademark in the phrase “Write off the car, not the Kid.” The organization purports to help the education of high risk youths, and it claims that “100% of the net proceeds go to the kids.” So the “kid” in the trademarked phrase appears to refer to disadvantaged youths, not tax writeoffs for being a parent. As a parent, the pun didn’t work for me. The lawsuit relates to Make-a-Wish North Texas, but it isn’t named as a defendant. Instead, the lawsuit targets several subcontractors who accept car donations on behalf of Make-a-Wish and do some donation solicitations. Some of the defendants run a website, “Wheels for Wishes.” The plaintiff alleged: CDF—which performs essentially the same charitable function as America CAN!—has a website that appears in search results near America CAN!’s…
A bill introduced in Texas threatens the free speech rights of 28 million residents by making it easier to bring frivolous lawsuits against speakers and to harass or intimidate them into silence.  EFF has long been concerned about these types of lawsuits, called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or SLAPPs, as they use legal claims as a pretext to punish individuals exercising their First Amendment rights. That’s why EFF supports efforts to limit or prevent SLAPPs.  28 states have so-called “anti-SLAPP” laws, which provide invaluable protections to speakers exercising their First Amendment rights, both online and off. While the laws vary, they typically allow the target of the SLAPP suit to quickly get a court to decide whether the case can go forward, and often require the party bringing the claims to demonstrate they have legitimate legal claims. Anti-SLAPP laws also often allow a victorious target of a SLAPP suit to recover…
The Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), enacted by the legislature in 2011, has been wrecking havoc in business and employment disputes due to the statute’s overbroad language, confusing and conflicting interpretation by the various courts of appeals and federal courts, and defendants’ persistence in invoking the statute’s dismissal process in trade secrets and non-compete lawsuits.  In late 2018 and early 2019, at least two Texas Courts of Appeals issued scathing opinions criticizing the statute’s dismissal mechanism being used by defendants in the run-of-the-mill trade secrets and non-compete disputes.  It appears that the legislature heard the complaints from the bench and the business community, which is why in the past week, we have seen three new bills that seek to exempt trade secrets and non-compete disputes from the grasp of the TCPA.   HB 3547  introduced by Rep. Joe Moody (D) on March 6, 2019: SECTION 1.…
BDS and Terrorism Sympathies as Fair Comment - March 10, 2019 - Omar Ha-Redeye
When the Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act was amended in 2015 under the Protection of Public Participation Act, the explicit purpose of implementing the 2010 recommendations by the Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel. Since that time, the interpretation of these provisions continue to evolve. This past week, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Lascaris v. B’nai Brith Canada, overturning the decision of the Superior Court of Justice that had granted the anti-SLAPP motion under s. 137.1(3) of the Courts of Justice Act to dismiss the action. Justice Rady of the Superior Court outlined the public interest purpose of the anti-SLAPP provisions, but also relied extensively on the 2015 decision of Baglow v. Smith, which I’ve criticized in the past as providing a far too broad license to those online to engage in “rude, aggressive, sarcastic, hyperbolic, insulting, caustic and/or vulgar” speech that is indeed defamatory, but…

California Constitution

The result of today's opinion by Justice Yegan seems right to me.  Though, respectfully, I think he dramatically overstates the case.For over a century, the rule was that you could run to be a County Sheriff with the same qualifications you needed to run for virtually any other political office.  Which is to say:  None.  You don't have to be smart to be, say, the Mayor.  So you also didn't have to be smart -- or qualified, or competent, or potty trained -- to be the Sheriff.  The voters got to decide.But in 1988, after 150 years of things working out just fine relying on the voters, the Legislature decided to limit who could become a County Sheriff, and imposed some minimal qualifications for the office.The Court of Appeal upholds those limitations.  And Justice Yegan waxes poetic about their utility, saying (among other things):"We are quick to observe a common sense reason why appellant cannot prevail. Experience is the…
There’s been little serious dispute that Article V, Section 8 of the California Constitution says the governor — under any conditions he “deems proper” — may grant a reprieve from a prisoner’s sentence, even if that sentence is death. But it’s the properness of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to block the executions of 737 condemned men that remains a hot topic across the state, not the legality. Newsom’s sudden action caught some by surprise, and he’s now spent almost an entire week trying to explain his thinking. via www.latimes.com
This Special Bulletin was authored by Frances Rogers & Amit Katzir. The California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in Cal Fire Local 2881 v. CalPERS, a case addressing whether the Legislature’s elimination of “air time” as an optional benefit for members of CalPERS unconstitutionally impaired a vested contractual right.  Holding that the air time benefit was not entitled to constitutional protection, the Court took a pass on reviewing a much bigger question:  Whether the so-called “California Rule” for modifying pension benefits should remain intact. In 2003, the California Legislature enacted Government Code section 20909, providing eligible CalPERS members the option to purchase up to five years of non-qualifying service credit.  This optional benefit is commonly referred to as “air time.”   CalPERS members choosing to exercise this option did so by paying an amount arrived at by actuarial…
News Scan - March 4, 2019 - Michael Rushford
AG Becerra Joins Murderers to Preserve Execution Delay:  In court papers filed on Friday, March 1, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has asked the federal court of appeals to reject a motion by the families of murder victims seeking to stay an illegal injunction that prevents the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from making itself able to carry out executions of the state's worst murderers.  In January CJLF filed a petition in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking it  to vacate 24 illegal stays granted since 2006 by a federal district judge in San Francisco.  On February 19, CJLF  moved for a more limited order allowing the state to go forward with the preparation needed to be ready to …
Fortunately, the California Court of Appeal has just reversed the decision, on First Amendment grounds.From yesterday's California Court of Appeal decision in Molinaro v. Molinaro: [T]he part of the order prohibiting Michael [Molinaro] from posting "anything about the case on Facebook" is overbroad and impermissibly infringes upon his constitutionally protected right of free speech.... To establish a valid prior restraint under the federal Constitution, a proponent has the heavy burden to show the countervailing interest is compelling, the prior restraint is necessary and would be effective in promoting this interest, and less extreme measures are unavailable. A permissible order restraining future speech "must be couched in the narrowest terms that will accomplish the pin-pointed objective permitted by constitutional mandate and the essential needs of the public order." ... Applying these principles, the court in In re Marriage of Candiotti (Cal. Ct.…
This post was authored by Lisa S. Charbonneau. On February 25, 2019, the California Second Appellate District Court of Appeal issued a decision in the case Marquez, et al. v. City of Long Beach, holding that the state minimum wage applies to charter cities because minimum wages are a matter of statewide concern.  The holding should be construed to apply to all counties (charter and general law) as well. What does this mean for charter cities and counties (charter and general law)?  The practical effect of Marquez is that charter cities and all counties must ensure that their non-exempt employees are paid no less than the state minimum wage for all hours worked.  An agency that pays any non-exempt employee less than the state minimum wage should take immediate steps to increase those wages right away.  We recommend consulting with legal counsel on how to take those steps. Currently, the state minimum wage is $12.00 per hour for any employer with more than…