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FACULTY DIVISION

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast

The First Amendment reads, in part, "Congress shall make no law . . .abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . ." Are there, and should there be, different levels of freedom of speech for media and non-media speakers? If so, how should "media" and "non-media" be defined, and who should decide? Our experts debated a recent Texas Court of Appeals decision that surprised some observers.

  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Prof. Sonja R. West, University of Georgia School of Law
Litigation Practice Group Podcast

There has been a recent surge in consumer class action lawsuits challenging "all natural" labels found in food products. In particular, many lawsuits have targeted "all natural" food products that have ingredients made from so-called Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Plaintiffs have argued that these food products cannot be labeled as "all natural" because GMOs are not natural. This Teleforum provided a background on "all natural" labeling and GMOs and offered a discussion on recent case law and trends in this still-developing area of law.

  • Stephen Gardner, Of Counsel, Stanly Law Group
  • Kenneth K. Lee, Partner, Jenner and Block
Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast

With the Federal Communications Commission's recent net neutrality regulations, the FCC has potentially entered into the Federal Trade Commission's regulatory arena in the area of antitrust regulation and consumer protection. Are the FCC's net neutrality rules an impermissible intrusion on the FTC's portfolio, or is the regulatory tension between the FTC and FCC merely an accident of overlapping jurisdiction provided by Congress in the respective statutes creating each agency?

  • Hon. Joshua D. Wright, Commissioner, United States Federal Trade Commission
SCOTUScast 5-14-15 featuring Brian Fitzpatrick and Erik Jaffe

On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar. This case asks whether Florida’s rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment.

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that Florida's rule does not violate the First Amendment. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida was affirmed. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the Chief Justice’s opinion in full and Justice Ginsburg joined all except Part II. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, which Justice Breyer joined as to Part II. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Thomas joined. Justices Kennedy and Alito also filed dissenting opinions. 

To discuss the case, we have Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School and Erik Jaffe, who is a sole practitioner at Erik S. Jaffe, PC.

SCOTUScast 5-13-15 featuring Kevin Govern

On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean

The question in this case concerns the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act, which prevents the government from terminating an employee for revealing “any violation of any law, rule, or regulation” or “a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety”--unless that revelation is "specifically prohibited by law."  The question here is whether a federal air marshal’s disclosure that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had decided to cut costs by removing air marshals from certain long-distance flights was a disclosure “specifically prohibited by law.”

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 7-2 that the disclosure in this case was not “specifically prohibited by law.” The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was affirmed.  The Chief Justice’s opinion was joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Sotomayor issued a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Kennedy.

To discuss the case, we have Kevin Govern, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Ave Maria School of Law.