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  • July 11, 2018

The Supreme Court, “Professional Speech”, and The First Amendment

On June 26, 2018, just two days before the end of its term, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. The case had been closely watched, because it would decide lingering questions about free speech in the context of the national debate over abortion.  The case concerned the California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act, known as the “FACT Act”. The FACT Act regulated pro-life pregnancy centers (described by the Court as “largely Christian belief-based”), requiring them to provide women with certain notices.  Clinics that were licensed…

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  • June 8, 2018

Potential Broad Implications from the Supreme Court’s “Narrow Ruling” in Masterpiece Cakeshop

Few decisions from the United States Supreme Court this term were as anxiously anticipated as that in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  Everyone anticipated a close decision where the Court would balance religious liberty against discrimination based on sexual orientation.  The decision announced on June 4, 2018 was not close and it did not decide that issue.  Instead, it did something much more important. The case concerns Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker and the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, which he opened in 1993. In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, two gay men intending to get married,…

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  • January 12, 2018

Major First Amendment Win: Court Sides with FSB on Free Speech Case

Richmond – The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, only one step below the United States Supreme Court, sided with arguments made by the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns’ attorneys, including those from Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew, P.A., in a major victory for the First Amendment. The case, which pitted the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns against the City of Baltimore, touched on one of the core principles of the United States Constitution: the First Amendment protection against compelled speech. The City of Baltimore had passed an ordinance requiring the Center to make postings in…

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  • April 15, 2014

Religious Freedom Before the Supreme Court: The Hobby Lobby Argument

The most intensely debated field of law right now is the right of freedom of religion in the business community.  The debates have been in the forefront of the news, as the Hobby Lobby case came before the United States Supreme Court. On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., putting the Affordable Care Act back at the Court for another constitutional challenge.  The case presented “an issue of first impression,” an issue on which all sides agree that there is no controlling precedent: Can a private, for profit business assert…

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  • January 7, 2014

Are Non-Religious Corporations Protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution?

Francis A. Gilardi and his brother Philip Gilardi are co-owners of Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, closely-held ‘S Corporations.’ Their businesses employ about 400 employees, and they have traditionally offered a self-insured health plan through a third-party administrator. As devout Catholics, the Gilardis oppose and wish to exclude coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion under their health insurance policies. The Affordable Care Act (informally known as “Obamacare”) directs all group health plans to provide “preventive care.” It has been determined that preventive care includes FDA approved “contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive…

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