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Persuader Rule Update - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Christopher C. Murray, Karen Harned July 12, 2017

On March 24, 2016 the DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) issued the so-called “persuader rule” that would greatly inhibit the ability of businesses to rely on labor experts and the ability of employers to obtain legal advice in responding to union organizing campaigns. For nearly 50 years the DOL has recognized that advice, including legal advice, is excluded from reporting under federal labor law. The new persuader rule would have forced lawyers and law firms that counsel a business on most labor relations matters to disclose not only their work with that client, but also all fees and arrangements for all clients for all labor-relations services.  Several lawsuits were filed challenging this rule on statutory and First Amendment grounds. On June 27, 2016, a district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction enjoining DOL from implementing the new rule. The district court then made that preliminary injunction permanent in November 2016, and DOL has appealed to the Fifth Circuit.  While DOL’s appeal is pending, on June 12 DOL issued a proposal to rescind the rule.

Christopher C. Murray, a shareholder at Ogletree Deakins, represents some of the business groups in the Texas litigation who sued to stop the “persuader rule” from taking effect. He provided an update on the current state of play with regard to the litigation and proposed rulemaking.

Featuring:

  • Christopher C. Murray, Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
  • Moderator: Karen Harned, Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center

Matal v. Tam - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-29-17 featuring Michael R. Huston
Michael R. Huston June 29, 2017

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Matal v. Tam. Simon Tam of The Slants, an Asian American rock band, applied to register the band’s name with the U.S. Trademark Office, but the application was denied. The Office claimed that the name would likely be disparaging towards “persons of Asian descent,” citing the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act of 1946, which prohibits trademarks that “[consist] of or [comprise] immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” Tam appealed to a board within the Office but was again denied. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, ultimately held en banc that the Disparagement Clause violated the First Amendment on its face.

By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Federal Circuit. In an opinion by Justice Alito, the Court held that the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause. Parts I, II, and III-A of Justice Alito’s majority opinion were joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Thomas joined except for Part II. Parts III-B, III-C, and IV of Justice Alito’s majority opinion were joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Breyer. Justice Kennedy filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

To discuss the case, we have Michael R. Huston, who is Associate Attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Packingham v. North Carolina - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-29-17 featuring Ilya Shapiro
Ilya Shapiro June 29, 2017

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Packingham v. North Carolina. Lester Packingham was convicted in 2002 of taking “indecent liberties” with a minor in violation of North Carolina law, and sentenced to prison time followed by supervised release. In 2010, he was arrested after authorities came across a post on his Facebook profile--which he had set up using an alias--in which he thanked God for having a parking ticket dismissed. Packingham was charged with, and convicted of, violating a North Carolina law that restricted the access of convicted sex offenders to “commercial social networking” websites.

Packingham challenged his conviction on First Amendment grounds, arguing that the North Carolina statute unlawfully restricted his freedom of speech and association, but the Supreme Court of North Carolina ultimately rejected his claim. The website access restriction, the Court concluded, was a content-neutral, conduct-based regulation that only incidentally burdened Packingham’s speech, was narrowly tailored to serve a substantial governmental interest, and left open ample alternative channels of communication.

By a vote of 8-0, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and remanded the case. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that the North Carolina statute, which makes it a felony for a registered sex offender "to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages,” impermissibly restricts lawful speech in violation of the First Amendment. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas joined. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Courthouse Steps: Two Cases - Matal v. Tam and Packingham v. North Carolina - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Ilya Shapiro, Michael R. Huston June 21, 2017

The Court has ruled today in two important cases, Matal v. Tam (aka "The Slants" copyright case) and Packingham v. North Carolina, which concerns a North Carolina law that restricts the access of convicted sex offenders to “commercial social networking” websites. Mr. Michael Huston and Mr. Ilya Shapiro joined us for this special Teleforum in which the holdings and reasoning of both cases were discussed.  

Featuring:

  • Mr. Michael R. Huston, Associate Attorney, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
  • Mr. Ilya Shapiro,  Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute