The Supreme Court in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
Contributor, The Volokh Conspiracy

This morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear three cases, and all are First Amendment cases:

  1. National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra, which challenges a California law that (among other things) requires “crisis pregnancy centers” to post signs indicating that the state provides “immediate free or low-cost access” to abortions. The case offers the court an opportunity to clarify when the government may compel disclosures in speech between professionals and clients, and in particular when such a “professional-client speech” doctrine applies in the first place.
  2. Lozman v. Riviera Beach, which turns on whether a person who has been arrested, based on probable cause that he had committed a crime, can sue on the grounds that the real reason for the arrest was his constitutionally protected speech. Such First Amendment retaliation claims are allowed in many contexts (e.g., when an at-will employee is fired by a public employer that can legally fire him for non-speech reasons, but when the actual reason was hostility to the employee’s speech), but not when it comes to retaliatory prosecution. The question is how retaliatory arrests are to be treated.
  3. Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, which will decide the extent to which states may limit clothing with ideological messages in polling places. The court has upheld limits on electioneering not just in polling places but even on public streets near polling places; but the issue is whether this principle also extends to all ideological messages that may be related to issues in the campaign, such as “Material promoting a group with recognizable political views” (in this case, the tea party).

I hope to blog more about some of these cases later today.