Law and Lore: Some Confusion Clarified

June 20, 2016

I was in a meeting recently. Some legal topics came up. The people with whom I was meeting—non-attorneys—knew the subject, but we all knew there might be misunderstandings, as laws, or law and lore, get confused. Here are three examples.

Right-to-Work and At-Will Employment. People—even an attorney or two—confuse these concepts. How? Read on.

Right-to-work laws exist in 25 states, including Arizona. The Arizona law, codified at A.R.S. § 23-1302, states:

No person shall be denied the opportunity to obtain or retain employment because of nonmembership in a labor organization, nor shall the state or any subdivision thereof, or any corporation, individual, or association of any kind enter into an agreement, written or oral, which excludes a person from

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The First Amendment (and Donald Trump)

July 6, 2015

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Today’s lesson involves “abridging the freedom of speech” and nothing else.

The text of the First Amendment only refers to Congress making no law. However, the Fourteenth Amendment bars states from making or enforcing “any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” and also precludes any deprivation of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Bottom line?

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Musings on the First Amendment

March 23, 2015

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., No. 14-144. The case involves specialty license plates, and a state’s right under the First Amendment to limit the messages. In a nutshell, almost, the Sons of Confederate Veterans want a specialty license plate in Texas. The state said no, the trial court said no, the Fifth Circuit said yes, and the Supreme Court said “let’s take a look.”

Lyle Denniston for SCOTUSblog provides his usual first-rate analysis in Assuming the Answer, Up Front. As it is with so many issues, the premise will often determine the conclusion. Here, as Mr. Denniston notes, the case turns on whose speech appears

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