Hon. Neil Gorsuch United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2006-Present) This post reviews a case in which Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion concerning jurisdictional issues with strong First Amendment implications. The opinion shows how he carefully interprets the law, free of any bias on this controversial issue. Hill v. Kemp, 478 […]
Washington Examiner: Gorsuch’s record shows strong support for the First Amendment view of campaign finance laws (In the News)
By David Keating
In his time on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch consistently wrote or joined pro-free speech rulings. The Center for Competitive Politics found four cases Gorsuch has ruled on concerning press freedom, one case concerning petition rights, and one case on contribution limits. In each instance, he came down on the side of the First Amendment…
Critics of campaign finance laws will be particularly heartened by Gorsuch’s concurring opinion in the contribution limit case Riddle v. Hickenlooper. Riddle was a challenge to Colorado’s contribution limit laws, which allowed Democratic and Republican candidates to raise twice as much money as minor party and independent candidates. The majority struck down the law as a violation of the equal protection clause.
More interesting than that is Gorsuch’s concurring opinion in the case. He expressed “some uncertainty about the level of scrutiny the Supreme Court wishes us to apply” to contribution limit cases, and signaled that he might support the application of strict scrutiny, the most stringent standard of judicial review.
Hon. Neil Gorsuch United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2006-Present) This post reviews a case Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote concerning First Amendment retaliation and the right to petition government. Cases relating to the petition clause are fairly rare, and the lower court dismissed the First Amendment claims. This case exemplifies Judge Gorsuch’s […]
Hon. Neil Gorsuch United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2006-Present) This post examines four opinions Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote or joined concerning media freedoms under the First Amendment. These cases made either defamation or invasion of privacy claims or both. (For our previous analysis of Judge Gorsuch’s views on free speech, please […]
The Insider: Judge Neil Gorsuch’s First Amendment Decisions Show Respect for Free Speech (In the News)
By David Keating
The minor party contributors who bring this equal protection challenge suggest (at least in places) that we should consider applying strict scrutiny to this particular aspect of Colorado’s statutory scheme. They say that contributing in elections implicates a fundamental liberty interest, that Colorado’s scheme favors the exercise of that fundamental liberty interest by some at the expense of others, and for this reason warrants the most searching level of judicial scrutiny. For my part, I don’t doubt this line of argument has much to recommend it. The trouble is, we have no controlling guidance on the question from the Supreme Court. And in what guidance we do have lie some conflicting cues.
No one before us disputes that the act of contributing to political campaigns implicates a “basic constitutional freedom,” one lying “at the foundation of a free society” and enjoying a significant relationship to the right to speak and associate – both expressly protected First Amendment activities. Even so, the Court has yet to apply strict scrutiny to contribution limit challenges – employing instead something pretty close but not quite the same thing.
By David Keating
We found four cases relevant to First Amendment speech freedoms where Judge Hardiman either wrote or joined an opinion. Additionally, he voted against a petition for en banc review of Delaware Strong Families v. Denn, where CCP represented the plaintiff in one of the most important campaign finance cases of 2016…
The question presented in this lawsuit was simple. Should the state have the power to regulate groups that publish nonpartisan voter guides in essentially the same way that it regulates candidate committees, political parties, and PACs?
Judge Hardiman did not sit on the panel that heard this important case. However, he and the other Third Circuit judges received a petition asking the full en banc court to review the decision. A short brief accompanied the petition, which was denied. Judges Kent A. Jordan and Thomas I. Vanaskie voted to grant the petition, but Judge Hardiman did not…
After en banc review by the Third Circuit was denied, a certiorari petition was filed, unsuccessfully, with the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a highly unusual six-page dissent denouncing the Court’s refusal to hear the case. Such dissents are rare. Justice Samuel Alito also announced that he would have granted review.
Hon. Thomas Hardiman United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2007-Present); United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (2003-2007) This post explores two additional cases involving Judge Hardiman of the Third Circuit. (For our first post analyzing Judge Hardiman’s record on free speech, click here.) Judge Hardiman joined an opinion […]
Judge Raymond Kethledge Applies Careful Scrutiny in Striking Contribution Ban, But Waves Through a Law Targeting a Union
Hon. Raymond Kethledge United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2008-Present) We found six cases where Judge Kethledge wrote or joined an opinion related to First Amendment free speech rights. I have ranked them according to my view of the relative importance of each opinion. The first three cases are important, and roughly […]
More on Judge Diane Sykes: Despite Strong Pro-Free Speech Rulings, Two Cases Where She Upheld Restrictions
Hon. Diane Sykes United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2004-Present); Wisconsin Supreme Court (1999-2004); Milwaukee County Circuit Court (1992-1999) This post is the last in a series exploring the free speech views of Judge Diane Sykes. (Part 1 is here, and part 2 is here.) This post explores two decisions Sykes joined […]
More on Judge Diane Sykes: From Backpage’s Adult Ads to Anti-Gay Protests, a Strong Defense of Free Speech
Hon. Diane Sykes United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2004-Present); Wisconsin Supreme Court (1999-2004); Milwaukee County Circuit Court (1992-1999) This post is the second in a series exploring the free speech views of Judge Diane Sykes. Our first post exploring Judge Sykes’ views on free speech can be found here. In this […]