The Sixteenth Annual Supreme Court Review Conference

November 11, 2011

Professor Leora Harpaz

Western New England University School of Law

The First Amendment Cases: Does Money Talk and the Supreme Court Listen?



  1. Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, 131 S. Ct. 1436 (April 4, 2011) (5-4) (refusing to reach merits of Establishment Clause challenge to Arizona dollar-for-dollar tax credit given to taxpayers who donate funds to parochial schools through giving to school tuition organizations on ground that taxpayers lacked standing).

  2. Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (together with McComish v. Bennett), 131 S. Ct. 2806 (June 27, 2011) (5-4) (striking down matching funds provision of Arizona’s scheme for public financing of elections because, in raising the amount of funds publicly-financed candidates receive based on the amount spent by their opponents and independent expenditure groups, the law imposes a substantial burden on political speech and is not supported by a compelling state interest).

  3. Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 131 S. Ct. 2729 (June 27, 2011) (7-2) (invalidating California ban on sale of violent video games to minors because state could not satisfy strict scrutiny test applicable to content-based speech regulations).

  4. FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 613 F.3d 317 (2d Cir. 2010), cert. granted, 131 S. Ct. 3065 (2011) (whether FCC’s current enforcement of its indecency rule violates the First Amendment).

  5. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 597 F.3d 769 (6th Cir. 2010), cert. granted, 131 S. Ct. 1783 (2011) (whether discrimination lawsuit by teacher at religious elementary school is barred by ministerial exception).

  6. Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan, 131 S. Ct. 2343 (June 13, 2011) (9-0) (rejecting First Amendment challenge to recusal statute requiring legislators to refrain from voting when a conflict of interest exists).

  7. Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207 (March 2, 2011) (8-1) (offensive signs at soldier’s funeral is public concern speech and cannot be the basis for tort liability).

  8. Sorrel v. IMS Health, Inc., 131 S. Ct. 2653 (June 23, 2011) (6-3) (striking down Vermont law prohibiting sale or use of pharmacy records that identify individual doctors for marketing purposes because state could not satisfy heightened judicial scrutiny).


Sponsored by the Law School's Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs


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