Foul language doesn’t invalidate petition, court rules

Fed up with officials in Loveland, Colo., contractor let loose with choice epithets, whereupon, he alleges, the city retaliated against him.

‘Occupy’ protests, tea party rallies: assembly, petition in action

Even those who see themselves as disenfranchised — as some “tea partiers” and “occupiers” both have claimed — find that their voices are not stilled, their protests not muffled by representatives of the most powerful government on Earth.

Former student litigant still bristles at school censorship

As an 11-year-old, Josh Mamis circulated a petition in 1968 calling for his school principal’s ouster — then sued after the principal tried to stop him.

Texas governor signs anti-SLAPP bill into law

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says legislation gives citizens a quick way to dismiss lawsuits filed against them for exercising their free speech.

Public-employee petitions must address public concerns, high court rules

In Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri, Justice Kennedy says the right of petition “is not a right to transform everyday employment disputes into matters for constitutional litigation in a federal forum.”

Lawyer can’t speak out against ex-client, Calif. high court rules

The state Supreme Court finds that the First Amendment doesn’t protect an attorney’s public campaign against a former client’s construction project.

High court rejects Nader’s appeal of ballot rules

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has turned away Ralph Nader's appeal of a Hawaiian court's decision keeping him off the state's presidential ballot in 2004.
The high court refused yesterday to hear Nader's appeal.
Elections officials kept Nader off Hawaii's 2004 ballot because supporters had failed to submit the required number of signatures. He challenged that decision, [...]

Court delves into history in rare petition case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court yesterday was treated to an hourlong tour of the history of the rarely invoked petition clause of the First Amendment. By the end of the hour, however, it did not appear the Court was ready to breathe new life into the hoary right of the people to “petition the government [...]

Calif. judge to school district: Count signatures on charter petition

COMPTON, Calif. — A Superior Court judge has ruled that the Compton Unified School District violated parents' First Amendment rights by imposing an onerous signature-verification process on a disputed parent petition for a charter school.
On March 21, Judge Anthony J. Mohr ordered administrators to count the signatures by April 1 over the objections of the [...]

Remembering an oft-forgotten freedom

Although it’s the freedom few people can name, petition has deep historical roots.

Could petition shield outspoken public employees?

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will again grapple with the contentious issue of First Amendment rights for government employees, this time in the context of the rarely invoked petition clause.
The Court on yesterday granted review in Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri, which asks whether the right to petition the government shields a public employee from [...]

W.Va. high court orders release of petition signatures

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Jefferson County’s clerk must release signatures sought by a newspaper from an Eastern Panhandle ballot petition, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled last week.
The justices on Sept. 23 concluded that a referendum petition is a public record when filed with a public body. They also held that West Virginia’s Freedom of Information [...]

Justices affirm First Amendment in 2 cases

WASHINGTON — In two separate decisions yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in ways that protected the First Amendment values of public disclosure and robust news coverage of trials.
But it did so in an almost quaint fashion, with scant mention of the Internet, a factor that could have, if it wanted to, changed the Court’s calculus [...]

Blog: Firm can’t be sued for using info from offender registry

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A California employment-screening company had a right to quote information from the state’s sex-offender Web site and cannot face liability for furnishing such information to a prospective employer. A California appeals court decided March 23 that a trial court had properly ruled that the state’s anti-SLAPP law could be used to dismiss a [...]

When First Amendment freedoms conflict, which would you pick?

Balancing — or pitting — First Amendment freedoms against each other is tough work.
Akin to asking a parent which child is the favorite, seeking to favor one or two of the five freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly or petition — over the others creates an inherent contradiction.
But that’s exactly the dilemma for First Amendment [...]