Free Speech Arguments – Can You Be Punished for Sharing Publicly Broadcast Court Hearings (Somberg v. McDonald)

The Free Speech Arguments Podcast brings you oral arguments from important First Amendment free political speech cases across the country. Find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

June 20, 2024   •  By IFS Staff   •    •  

Episode 13: Somberg v. McDonald

Nicholas Somberg v. Karen McDonald, argued before Senior Judge Alice M. Batchelder, Judge Amul R. Thapar, and Judge Andre B. Mathis in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on June 12, 2024. Argued by Philip L. Ellison (on behalf of Nicholas Somberg) and Brooke E. Tucker (on behalf of Karen McDonald).

Statement of Question Presented, from the Appellant’s Brief:

Plaintiff Nicholas Somberg contends he (and others) have the First Amendment right to photograph, screenshot, audio/video record, broadcast, report, distribute, share, and make public photographic, audio, and audio-video recordings of public court proceedings being livestreamed worldwide when doing such does not interact or cause any interaction with pending proceedings.

The question presented is:

Whether the First Amendment protects the making of digital records (i.e. photographic and audio-video recordings) of public court proceedings from online streaming services being broadcasted worldwide when doing so does not in any way interfere with pending judicial proceedings?


Listen to the argument here:


The Institute for Free Speech promotes and defends the political speech rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government guaranteed by the First Amendment. If you’re enjoying the Free Speech Arguments podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on your preferred podcast platform.

IFS Staff

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