First Amendment

Supreme Court won't review appeal from POM juices

May 2, 2016
 Associated Press
The U.S. Supreme Court is leaving in place a court ruling that found advertising claims of the health benefits of POM Wonderful juices were deceptive.
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7th Circuit reverses ruling in favor of prison guard

April 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a District Court decision that dismissed a prisoner’s First Amendment claims and granted immunity to the guard mentioned in his Eighth Amendment claims.
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Federal judge reaffirms ban on political ‘robocalls’ in Indiana

April 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
Just weeks ahead of Indiana’s presidential primary, a federal judge reaffirmed Indiana’s ban on automated telephone calls for political purposes.
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Indiana trooper fired for proselytizing on duty to motorist

April 8, 2016
 Associated Press
The Indiana State Police fired a trooper who is facing a second lawsuit accusing him of preaching to citizens while on duty, saying Thursday he disobeyed a written order to stop the practice.
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Jury weighs punitive damages after $115M Hogan sex tape verdict

March 21, 2016
 Associated Press
Jurors will consider punitive damages against Gawker Media after already awarding former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan $115 million in a lawsuit over its online publication of a sex tape.
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Apple's best arguments against the US over iPhone access

February 25, 2016
 Bloomberg News
Apple has just days left to marshal its legal arguments in the biggest battle in a generation pitting public safety against personal privacy: the U.S. government versus one of the world’s most powerful technology companies.
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COA finds 1 out of 3 dental advertising regulations unconstitutional

January 20, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The regulation that compels dentists to disclose every dentist within the practice in advertisements is unconstitutional, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday. It held two other challenged regulations regarding advertising are not unconstitutional.
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Suit challenges constitutionality of RFRA fix, local gay rights laws

December 10, 2015
IBJ Staff, J.K. Wall
The “RFRA fix” passed in April to quell discrimination fears about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is now being challenged as unconstitutional by two organizations that were the most vocal proponents of the original legislation.
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Indiana county to allow Nativity scene with Bill of Rights

November 23, 2015
 Associated Press
A southeastern Indiana county that was at the center of a legal battle over a Nativity scene on its courthouse lawn will allow a mix of religious and secular displays this holiday season, including a manger holding the Bill of Rights.
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Panhandling laws face challenge after church signs ruling

October 30, 2015
 Associated Press
Cities trying to limit panhandling in downtowns and tourist areas are facing a new legal hurdle because of a recent Supreme Court of the United States ruling that seemingly has nothing to do with asking for money.
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Experts say free speech at stake in 'American Sniper' appeal

October 19, 2015
 Associated Press
Legal experts say important free speech issues will be at stake when an appeals court considers whether former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is entitled to the $1.8 million judgment he won against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.
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Northern Indiana school district sued over Nativity scene

October 8, 2015
 Associated Press
A high school student and a parent are challenging the constitutionality of a live Nativity scene that's been included in a northern Indiana school district's annual Christmas show for decades.
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Woman asks court to allow marijuana use per church beliefs

September 15, 2015
 Associated Press
A Minnesota woman accused of violating probation says she should be able to use marijuana for religious reasons because she belongs to a pot-smoking church based in Indiana.
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7th Circuit: Marion County judicial elections unconstitutional

September 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The way Marion County judges are elected is unconstitutional, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, throwing out a 40-year-old system that ensured an even split of Democratic and Republican judges and facilitated a pay-to-play party slating system.
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ACLU of Indiana challenges state law banning ballot photos

August 28, 2015
 Associated Press
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is challenging a new state law that prohibits voters from photographing their ballots and sharing those images on social media.
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Risk to student in school religion case merits concealing mom’s name

August 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
The mother of a Fort Wayne public school student may proceed without identifying herself in a federal lawsuit claiming the second-grader was ostracized and shamed by a teacher because he told a classmate who inquired about his faith that he didn’t believe in God. The mother said identifying herself would disclose her son’s name, subjecting him to further harm and public criticism.
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Judge: Indiana prisoner’s peyote suit must proceed

July 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana inmate’s federal lawsuit claiming he has a religious right to use peyote and tobacco must proceed, a judge ruled, though she also made clear state officials may seek a motion to dismiss the case.
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7th Circuit rules against Anderson mayor in suit following firings

June 25, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith lost his appeal of the finding that he is not entitled to qualified immunity regarding all of the fired government workers involved in a lawsuit alleging their discharges violated the First Amendment.
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Parents sue Hobart school district over prayers at school events

June 2, 2015
 Associated Press
A Hobart school district faces a lawsuit over prayers that are said before athletic events, graduations and school board meetings from parents who say the prayers violate the First Amendment.
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High court throws out conviction for Facebook threats

June 1, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man prosecuted for making threats on Facebook but dodged the free-speech issues that had made the case intriguing to First Amendment advocates.
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Judicial campaign solicitation ban upheld by SCOTUS

April 30, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A divided Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states can bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions, leaving intact bans in 30 states.
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Nativity lawsuit brings new county ordinance

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a “public forum ordinance” this week in response to the ongoing lawsuit over a nativity scene displayed on the county’s courthouse lawn during the holiday season.
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Justices appear to favor small church over sign law

January 12, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday appeared likely to side with a small church in its fight with a Phoenix suburb over limits on roadside signs directing people to Sunday services.
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Disputed Nativity scene will stay up until Dec. 26

December 22, 2014
 Associated Press
A county in southeastern Indiana reached an agreement Friday with a group suing to force the removal of a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn that will allow the decades-old display to remain in place through Christmas.
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Judge delays hearing on Indiana Nativity scene

December 19, 2014
 Associated Press
A federal judge has delayed a hearing on a bid to remove a Nativity scene that's been erected each winter for more than a half-century on a southeastern Indiana county's courthouse lawn.
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