Supreme Court adds California abortion, free speech, retaliatory-arrest cases to 2017 docket
Supreme Court adds California abortion, free speech, retaliatory-arrest cases to 2017 docket

The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari in three cases [order list, PDF] Monday, including two First Amendment cases and a question of whether probable cause defeats a retaliatory-arrest claim.

National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra [cert. petition, pdf] challenges California’s Reproductive FACT Act [text], which requires pregnancy resource centers to post notices that encourage women to contact the state to receive information on free or low-cost abortions. NIFLA [advocacy website], a national network of non-profit pro-life pregnancy centers, argues that the Act is a violation of the Free Speech Clause or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment [text], which, NIFLA argues should prohibit California from compelling licensed pro-life centers to post information on how to obtain a state-funded abortion and from compelling unlicensed pro-life centers to disseminate a disclaimer to clients.

Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky [cert. petition, pdf] challenges a Minnesota ban on political apparel at polling places. In November 2010, the alliance’s executive director Andrew Cilek was prevented from voting because he was wearing a Tea Party shirt, as well as a button promoting efforts to require voters to show photo ID. After the election, the organization filed suit. The lower courts rejected the group’s claim that this ban was a violation of voters’ First Amendment rights.

In Lozman v. Riviera Beach [cert. petition, pdf], Lozman filed a lawsuit in federal district court, alleging that he had been arrested in retaliation for his criticism of the government and for a lawsuit that he had filed against the city. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit [official website] ruled that Lozman’s retaliatory-arrest claim could not succeed [opinion, PDF] because the jury found that the police had probable cause to arrest him. Now the Supreme Court will decide whether that ruling is correct.

Among the cases the court declined to review was Reeves v. Alabama [cert. petition, pdf], an appeal from the Alabama Court of Criminal appeals challenging the adequacy of trial and appellate counsel in failing to hire an expert to assess Reeves’ mental capacity. Justice Sotomayor, joined by Ginsberg and Kagan, dissented from the denial, arguing that the lower court had misapplied controlling precedent.