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2001-2002 Supreme Court term coverage

Supreme Court reviews punishing of abortion foes
Justices consider whether federal racketeering law can be used to punish anti-abortion protesters.  12.04.02

Free-speech cases await Supreme Court after summer break
Justices already have agreed to hear several First Amendment-related appeals, but more are in the wings.  08.20.02

2001-02 high court deals First Amendment wins, losses
Analysis School-voucher, judicial-speech decisions are among cases that grabbed media spotlight this term.  07.12.02

High court ruling may take luster off judiciary
Analysis Decision may signal turning point — the beginning of era in which judges are less special, more exposed to the popularizing glare of the First Amendment.  07.01.02

Supreme Court's voucher ruling dramatic, not surprising
Analysis As foreseeable as outcome might have been, the feeling was inescapable, among dissenters and others, that the Court crossed a new threshold.  06.28.02

Supreme Court backs school vouchers
Justices rule 5-4 that Constitution allows public money to underwrite tuition at religious schools as long as parents have choice among sectarian, secular schools.  06.27.02

High court nixes limits on judicial candidates' speech
Justices say Minnesota's rules, while well-intended, impose an unconstitutional gag order.  06.27.02

Supreme Court gives nod to petition in labor case
Analysis Court doesn't rule on First Amendment grounds, but does note that it views right to sue as form of petitioning government that deserves constitutional protection.  06.25.02

Press advocates applaud high court ruling in student-privacy case
Reporters Committee says journalists' newsgathering ability would have been limited if Supreme Court had allowed university to be sued for divulging student information.  06.21.02

Supreme Court rules against claim of government stonewalling
Justices hold that widow failed to prove her access to the courts was denied when officials withheld information about her husband, a Guatemalan leftist rebel.  06.21.02

Supreme Court again finds itself on side of Jehovah's Witnesses
Analysis Ruling in Ohio case strongly affirms value of anonymous, unregulated and unpopular speech.  06.18.02

High court throws out law barring door-to-door solicitation
Justices vote 8 to 1 in Ohio case brought by Jehovah's Witnesses that First Amendment includes right to take messages directly to someone's door.  06.17.02

High court turns away challenge to Vermont mercury-labeling law
Electrical manufacturers had argued that 1998 statute violated its member companies' First Amendment rights by compelling speech.  06.12.02

Supreme Court turns away challenge to party contribution limits
After nearly four years of battling Missouri law, state GOP concedes that case is over.  06.04.02

High court may clear up lingering confusion about cross-burning
Analysis In the years since its last ruling on subject, state and federal courts have invoked R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul to both uphold, strike down similar laws.  05.29.02

Supreme Court to hear Virginia cross-burning case
State high court had ruled 4-3 that state law was unconstitutional because such acts of bigotry are protected speech.  05.28.02

Supreme Court bypasses political-patronage question
Justices refuse to consider appeal from Pennsylvania politician who fired secretary after disagreement over off-duty political work.  05.21.02

High court agrees to hear challenge to sex-offender list
Connecticut officials appealed after federal judge struck down state's registry.  05.20.02

Free speech on the Internet: Where old freedoms meet new media
Analysis In reviewing constitutionality of Child Online Protection Act, high court issues one of its most fragmented decisions in years.  05.16.02

Supreme Court provides mixed day for First Amendment
Analysis Justices produce pair of messy, mix-and-match rulings that give little guidance to lower courts, much less those directly affected.  05.15.02

High court won't get involved in clergy malpractice case
Meanwhile, justices refuse to consider Massachusetts town's crèche ban or to hear case involving Nashville, Tenn., adult-entertainment law.  05.14.02

Supreme Court partially upholds COPA
But justices send case back to appeals court to resolve other free-speech issues; 1998 law remains on hold.  05.13.02

High court overturns ruling on L.A. 'sex superstores'
But because there isn't majority fully endorsing ban on multi-use adult businesses, justices send Alameda case back to lower court.  05.13.02

Commercial-speech interest prevails in drug-ads case
Analysis Supreme Court votes 5-4 that Congress should have tried other ways of achieving its goals before barring certain drug advertising.  04.30.02

Supreme Court to hear highway-records case
Justices will decide whether states can keep secret information about traffic accidents collected as part of Federal Highway Act.  04.29.02

High court refuses to review Cincinnati's anti-trespass law
City was seeking to revive ordinance barring drug dealers, other criminals from crime- and drug-plagued neighborhood.  04.29.02

High court nixes drug-mixing ad rules
'If the First Amendment means anything, it means that regulating speech must be a last — not first — resort,' Sandra Day O'Connor writes for majority.  04.29.02

Supreme Court to bypass First Amendment concerns in abortion-protest case
Analysis Justices turn case into more technical review of whether federal laws on racketeering, extortion can be used as tools to cripple or deter abortion foes.  04.23.02

High court to hear appeal from anti-abortion protesters
Justices will review whether lower courts went too far in applying the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act to anti-abortion activities.  04.22.02

High court rejects child-porn law that 'turns the First Amendment upside down'
Analysis Decision joins court’s 1997 ruling in Reno v. ACLU as major landmark in the development of the Internet as a forum for free expression.  04.17.02

Supreme Court strikes down ban on virtual child porn
Justices rule 6-3 that the First Amendment protects pornography or other sexual images that only appear to depict real children engaged in sex.  04.16.02

High court won't weigh in on vanity-plate debate
Missouri officials had hoped justices would take case to decide if states can keep crude or contentious messages off license tags.  04.15.02

Supreme Court turns away jailed writer's appeal
Vanessa Leggett had asked justices to use her case to give writers, reporters more rights to protect the confidentiality of their sources.  04.15.02

High court turns away college officials' appeal in free-speech case
Lower court found former teacher could sue Kentucky community college leaders, claiming retaliation for his classroom comments.  04.01.02

High court skeptical of restrictions on judicial candidates' speech
Analysis Justices seem to view Minnesota rule alternately as too vague, unclear, restrictive or irrational to withstand challenge under the First Amendment.  03.27.02

Unlikely allies ready to challenge campaign-finance legislation
Analysis From Floyd Abrams to Kenneth Starr to James Bopp, attorneys say measure is vulnerable to First Amendment attack.  03.26.02

High court set to hear challenge to rules on judicial candidates' speech
Minnesota is one of nine states that prohibit such candidates from announcing their views on 'disputed legal or political issues.'  03.25.02

High court hears case accusing government of lying
Analysis Attorneys argue routine communication between officials, public would be chilled if justices allow lawsuit brought by Guatemalan rebel's widow to proceed.  03.19.02

High court won't hear casino's bid to bar sidewalk protests
Lower courts had ruled unions had right to demonstrate on walkway in front of Las Vegas resort.  03.04.02

High court appears ready to topple 2 laws that restrict speech
Analysis Justices hear two free-speech cases: one from Jehovah's Witnesses challenging town's anti-solicitation ordinance, other from druggists seeking to advertise special compounds.  02.27.02

Justices turn down look at Voyeur Dorm dispute
Tampa, Fla., city officials had sought to shut down Web site, saying house where five women are watched via the Internet is an adult business.  02.27.02

Church's door-to-door solicitation case comes calling at high court
Jehovah's Witnesses say they are being targeted and their free-speech rights are being violated by Ohio town's ordinance.  02.26.02

Supreme Court refuses to clear up confusion over Ten Commandments display
Justices turn away appeal from Indiana governor who wanted permission to erect 7-foot monument on state Capitol grounds.  02.26.02

All eyes on O'Connor during voucher arguments
Analysis Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is considered the swing vote on the high court, appears likely to approve Cleveland's school-choice program.  02.21.02

High court to sort out tangled web of Mickey Mouse, Congress and copyright
Analysis Individuals, companies who use material that is in the public domain claim law violates their freedom of expression, exceeds Congress' power.  02.20.02

Supreme Court to hear debate over copyright, First Amendment
Groups challenging copyright law say justices should protect public's right to access books, songs, other material.  02.19.02

School voucher case offers test of church-state separation
Supreme Court will hear arguments this week on Cleveland's 6-year-old school-choice program.  02.18.02

Justices avoid appeals-process question in park-permit case
Analysis Free-speech advocates had hoped high court would decide whether permit-seekers are entitled to quick results in appeals or merely prompt access to courts.  01.16.02

Supreme Court upholds Chicago park-permit rules
Justices reject pro-marijuana group's arguments, ruling city ordinance 'furthers, rather than constricts, free speech.'  01.15.02

High court won't hear FBI informant's appeal
Justices refuse to hear case of public employee who was fired after secretly helping federal officials investigate anthrax threat.  01.14.02

Three Stooges' heirs get last laugh as high court refuses appeal
Los Angeles artist was seeking First Amendment protection for photographers, artists who specialize in celebrity images.  01.08.02

High court turns away case on teaching evolution
Justices refuse to hear appeal by Minnesota biology instructor who was reassigned amid questions about his views on evolution.  01.07.02

High court to decide if government officials can be punished for lying to public
Analysis Guatemalan guerilla leader's American widow claims misleading information deprived her of right of access to the courts.  12.17.01

Inmates' retaliation claim prevails as high court turns away Idaho appeal
Lower courts found state officials had meted out punishment to deter inmates from filing grievances or lawsuits about prison conditions.  12.12.01

High court turns away question: Is prayer at school events constitutional?
Analysis Refusal to hear Florida graduation-prayer case highlights seemingly mixed message sent by justices in last decade.  12.11.01

Ohio prisoner can sue state over grooming policy
Supreme Court refuses to intervene in case, allowing Jewish inmate to proceed in religious-liberty suit challenging required shaving.  12.11.01

Supreme Court won't weigh in on graduation prayer
Group had sued to block Duval County, Fla., policy allowing senior class to choose student 'chaplains' to give inspirational addresses at high school commencements.  12.10.01

Supreme Court declines to review cases on cable limits, presidential threats, movie tax
Consumer groups sought reinstatement of rules limiting number of subscribers cable companies can have; jailed Navy recruit wanted high court to explain when threats against president are serious enough to break law.  12.05.01

Secondary-effects argument takes center stage before high court
Analysis Business owners contend Los Angeles should have conducted studies on 'multiple use' adult establishments before outlawing them.  12.05.01

Supreme Court to decide if states can restrict judicial candidates' speech
Analysis Case juxtaposes two deeply held values: First Amendment protection for political speech, integrity of judicial process.  12.04.01

High court appears unreceptive to challenge of Chicago park-permit rules
Analysis Several justices criticize attorney's prior-restraint argument, preferring to view permit process as acceptable 'time, place or manner' regulation.  12.04.01

High court tries to picture disputed virtual-porn law in practice
Analysis Despite earlier focus on high tech, justices explore debate in context of popular movies that include sexual scenes involving under-age characters.  10.31.01

Drug-mixing ad rules to get high court test
Analysis Pharmacists say federal law that restricts promotion of compounding violates free speech.  10.30.01

High court refuses to review Virginia moment-of-silence law
Justices also turn away three other appeals, including bid to revive Indianapolis video game statute.  10.30.01

Anonymous speech tough to pull off in trying times
By Douglas Lee We need to resist the temptation to silence those we cannot see and do not know.  10.30.01

Law banning virtual child porn facing real test
Supreme Court to consider whether youthful, though fake, characters in pornographic material should be outlawed like traditional child pornography.  10.29.01

High court to hear Jehovah's Witnesses case
Analysis Challenge to Ohio village’s door-to-door solicitation statute could result in ruling on the extent to which First Amendment protects anonymous speech.  10.16.01

Supreme Court to examine 5 First Amendment cases
Analysis School voucher controversy to take spotlight, but Internet pornography, adult bookstores and protest permits also will share stage.  10.01.01

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