Who Cares Whether Cake-Baking Is “Expressive”? The Doctrinal Costs of Focusing on Private Burdens Rather Than Governmental Purpose

In their focus on the creative artistry of wedding cakes, the briefs that are now piling up in Masterpiece Cakeshop read more like an episode of Cake Boss rather than a typical SCOTUS argument. Many focus on a question that, I shall suggest after the jump, ought to be legally irrelevant — whether baking a wedding cake is sufficiently “expressive” to qualify as “speech” the compulsion of which violates Wooley v. Maynard’s “forced speech” doctrine.

Source: Who Cares Whether Cake-Baking Is “Expressive”? The Doctrinal Costs of Focusing on Private Burdens Rather Than Governmental Purpose

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Laws Against ‘Gouging’ Are Simplistic and Wrong

Washed up among the wreckage of Hurricane Harvey is an old debate: Price Gouging—Heinous Crime or Useful Tool? When a natural disaster like Harvey monkeywrenches the normal operations of daily life, basic necessities suddenly become scarce, and merchants often start charging much more for them.

Source: Laws Against ‘Gouging’ Are Simplistic and Wrong

Starnes: Judges Rule Football Coaches Cannot Pray on Football Field

This decision is appalling and I can’t disagree with it more.  To say a person doesn’t have the right to pray after a game is wrong on every level.

A Washington state high school football coach who was punished for taking a knee at the 50-yard line for a post-game prayer violated the U.S. Constitution, according to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel ruled the Bremerton School District was justified in suspending Coach Joe Kennedy after he took a knee and prayed silently at mid-field after football games. “When Kennedy kneeled and prayed on the fifty-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents, he spoke as a public employee, not as a private citizen, and his speech therefore was constitutionally unprotected,” the 9th Circuit wrote.

Source: Starnes: Judges Rule Football Coaches Cannot Pray on Football Field

[Eugene Volokh] ‘Intentional interference with business relations’ tort claims based on defendant’s true statements about plaintiff

(IStock) Can someone be liable for “intentional interference with business relations” for accurately informing people about facts about the plaintiff, which then leads them to stop doing business with the plaintiff? I think the answer has to be no, both because of the First Amendment and as a matter of sound tort law principles.

Source: [Eugene Volokh] ‘Intentional interference with business relations’ tort claims based on defendant’s true statements about plaintiff

[Eugene Volokh] Judge refuses to order Congress to outlaw parts of the Koran or issue an official federally edited Koran

From Levay v. United States , handed down Wednesday by a federal district court: On February 17, 2017, Plaintiff Ross Levay filed a complaint alleging that the United States and various government officials have committed gross negligence, breach of contract, First Amendment violations, and breach of oath by failing to prevent “incitement to imminent lawlessness” by “Radical Islamic Terrorists.”… [On July 11, 2017], the Court … concluded that Levay’s suit was frivolous and would be dismissed.

Source: [Eugene Volokh] Judge refuses to order Congress to outlaw parts of the Koran or issue an official federally edited Koran

It’s okay for Arkansas to block Medicaid funds going to Planned Parenthood, U.S. appeals court rules

Today, a U.S. appeals court reversed a previous ruling that barred the state of Arkansas from halting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, after the release of setup videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion, hard-right media provocateurs. (more…)

Source: It’s okay for Arkansas to block Medicaid funds going to Planned Parenthood, U.S. appeals court rules