The issue in the case was whether Mississippi can, consistent with the First Amendment, prohibit a small informal group of friends and neighbors from spending more than $200 on pure speech about a ballot measure unless they become a political committee, adopt the formal structure required of a political committee, register with the state, and subject themselves to the full panoply of ongoing record-keeping, reporting, and other obligations that attend status as a political committee.
→ The cert. petition was filed by the Institute for Justice with Paul Avelar as counsel of record for the Petitioners.
→ The Center for Competitive Politics (Allen Dickerson), the Cato Institute (Ilya Shapiro), and the Independence Institute filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Petitioners.
* * * *
→ The Court also denied review in a First Amendment related case: Stackhouse v. Colorado (see below)
The Court’s 2015-2016 First Amendment Docket
- March 29, 2016: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, et al (affirmed by an equally divided Court in a per curiam opinion)
** Shapiro v. McManus (9-0 per Scalia, J., Dec. 8, 2015: decided on non-First Amendment grounds) (the central issue in the case relates to whether a three-judge court is or is not required when a pleading fails to state a claim, this in the context of a First Amendment challenge to the 2011 reapportionment of congressional districts) (from Petitioners’ merits brief: “Because petitioners’ First Amendment claim is not obviously frivolous, this Court should vacate the judgments of the lower courts and remand the case with instructions to refer this entire action to a district court of three judges.”) (See Rick Hasen’s commentary here)
- Heffernan v. City of Paterson (cert. petition, amicus brief) (see blog post here)
- Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, et al. (all briefs here) (Lyle Denniston commentary)
Oral Arguments Schedule
- January 11, 2016: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, et al. (transcript here)
- January 19, 2016: Heffernan v. City of Paterson (see Howard Wasserman SCOTUSblog commentary here)(transcript here)
- Justice v. Hosemann
- Electronic Arts, Inc. v. Davis
- American Freedom Defense Initiative v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
- Bell v. Itawamba County School Board (see also Adam Liptak story re amicus brief)
- Town of Mocksville v. Hunter
- Miller v. Federal Election Commission
- Sun-Times Media, LLC v. Dahlstrom
- Rubin v. Padilla
- Hines v. Alldredge
- Yamada v. Snipes
- Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris
- Building Industry Association of Washington v. Utter (amicus brief)
- Scholz v. Delp
- Cressman v. Thompson
- POM Wonderful, LLC v. FTC (Cato amicus brief) (D.C. Circuit opinion)
First Amendment Related Case
- Stackhouse v. Colorado (issue: Whether a criminal defendant’s inadvertent failure to object to courtroom closure is an “intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right” that affirmatively waives his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial, or is instead a forfeiture, which does not wholly foreclose appellate review?) (see Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief raising First Amendment related claims): Cert. denied
Freedom of Information Case
- New Hampshire Right to Life v. Dep’t of Health and Human Services (cert. denied with Thomas & Scalia dissenting)
→ The Court’s next Conference is on April 15, 2016.
* Though these lists are not comprehensive, I try to track as many cases as possible. If you know of a cert. petition that is not on these lists, kindly inform me and I will post it.