First Amendment

State urges justices to draw ‘bright line’ on school choice vouchers

November 21, 2012
Dave Stafford
Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher on Wednesday urged the Indiana Supreme Court to uphold the state’s school choice voucher program, arguing that it did not constitute an unconstitutional government support of religion.
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Order compelling Star to name online commenter stayed after arguments

November 20, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indianapolis Star won’t have to divulge the identity of an online commenter pending further order of the Indiana Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in a defamation case on Tuesday.
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Court of Appeals reverses and remands inmate’s request for kosher meals

October 9, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A Pendleton Correctional Facility inmate will not be able to collect monetary damages against employees of the Indiana Department of Correction, but his request for kosher meals will get a second review.  
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US Supreme Court rules on Stolen Valor Act case

June 28, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
While the health care decision was the ruling most people were waiting to hear, the justices also issued decisions in two other cases Thursday. The nation’s highest court found the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional.
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A 21st century expression of the law

May 23, 2012
Dave Stafford
The 'emoticon defense' raises brows, but it puts a focus on speech rights and school threats.
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Teens sue school after expulsion for online death threats

April 26, 2012
IL Staff
The three teenage girls who were expelled from school because of their after-school online activity filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court against the northern Indiana school district. The teens claim the death threats they made on Facebook were made jokingly and their First Amendment rights are being violated.
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Officer's statement not protected by First Amendment

March 16, 2012
Michael Hoskins
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled the New Albany Police Department had the right to discipline an officer whose racially charged comments made to fellow officers were leaked to the press and made public.
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Shield law ruling unique in nation

March 14, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals adopts a modified test in a defamation case.
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COA upholds judgment in favor of employer in wrongful termination suit

February 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Department of Insurance in a lawsuit filed by a former employee claiming wrongful termination.
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Student sues over 'I (heart) BOOBIES' bracelet

February 6, 2012
IL Staff
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a northern Indiana middle school student who believed he would be expelled if he didn’t cover up his bracelet that said “I (heart) BOOBIES.”
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Appellate court to visit Sellersburg for arguments

February 3, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will travel to a southern Indiana high school to hear a civil case involving First Amendment claims for a police officer’s private statements.
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Prisons face legal questions in managing inmate requests

January 18, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The institutions must balance religion of inmates and security of prisons.
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SCOTUS won't consider off-campus school speech

January 17, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The nation’s highest court has declined to take a pair of cases asking whether schools can censor the off-campus behavior of students who post messages or photos against school officials or other students.
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State Supreme Court's robo-calls ruling carries over to federal lawsuit

January 5, 2012
Michael Hoskins
A ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court upholding the state’s automated phone call ban has found its way into the briefing of a federal appeal challenging the same statute, and the attorneys disagree on whether the state justices adequately addressed a First Amendment issue.
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Justices uphold Indiana robo-calls ban

December 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has held the state can continue enforcing a ban on automated robo-calls, with four justices finding that enforcement does not violate the Indiana Constitution’s free speech rights.
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7th Circuit allows Indiana to enforce ban on out-of-state robo-calls

December 22, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Indiana is allowed to enforce the statute that restricts out-of-state robo-calls while an appeal on the issue is ongoing.
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Judge won't allow auto-dialer statute enforcement during appeal

December 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Balancing free speech rights with the public interest in preventing automated political calls from out-of-state entities, U.S. Judge William Lawrence in Indianapolis denied the state’s request to continue enforcing Indiana’s auto-dialer statute while a higher court is considering his ruling from two months ago that blocked enforcement.
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COA to consider journalistic shield protections for anonymous online comments

December 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals hears arguments Monday on a question of first impression for the Internet-savvy 21st century: whether news outlets have any First Amendment or state journalistic shield protection from being required to disclose information that could help reveal the identities of people posting anonymous comments online.
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Courts limiting workers' online conduct

October 26, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Workplace Internet policies go up against free speech concerns.
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Can schools discipline for off-campus conduct?

August 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
School is back in session, and a new set of court rulings issued during the summer break may make it more difficult for school administrators to decide how to handle inappropriate or potentially disruptive online activities carried out by students off-campus.
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Circuit Court upholds ban on pen-pal solicitation by inmates

July 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The First Amendment rights of Indiana inmates aren’t being violated by a ban instituted by the Department of Correction on advertising for pen-pals and receiving materials from resources that allow people to advertise for pen-pals, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Judges halt enforcement of challenged laws

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Two federal judges issued preliminary injunctions June 24 preventing parts of two new controversial laws regarding immigration and funding of Planned Parenthood of Indiana from being enforced.
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Judge: video games don't infringe on Dillinger trademark

June 17, 2011
Cory Schouten
A federal judge has shot down a lawsuit brought by heirs of notorious bank robber John Dillinger over the depiction of the Dillinger name in video games based on the classic movie "The Godfather."
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Planned Parenthood's request for restraining order denied

May 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt has denied Planned Parenthood of Indiana's request for a temporary restraining order barring the enforcement of a law signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels on Tuesday.
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SCOTUS denies cert, upholding Indiana's judicial canons

May 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
It’s official: Indiana’s judicial canons are constitutional and the rules don’t infringe upon a judge or candidate’s free speech rights.
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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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