First Amendment Law

The First Amendment protects against governmental intrusion into the freedom of speech and religion.

The First Amendment ensures that “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 US 624, 642 (1943).

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is among the freedoms that are so revered that it is considered a fundamental liberty.  Without the protections of the First Amendment, minority opinions could be prosecuted, protesters could be silenced, the press could not criticize government, and citizens could not mobilize for social change.

“First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end.” Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 US 234, 253 (2002).

Types of free speech cases I handle:

  • Art controversies
  • Adult entertainment
    • Pornography and obscenity
    • Nude dancing
  • Fighting words
  • Nudity in art, theater or dance
  • Political speech
  • Professionals speech (regulated professions such as doctors and lawyers)
  • Prisoner free speech
  • Public employee speech
  • Student free speech
    • Dress codes
    • Hate speech on and away from campus
    • Higher education
    • Secondary school
  • Washington State constitutional freedom of speech protections (separate from the First Amendment protections)

I fight for individuals whose speech is wrongfully suppressed by the government. I can review the facts of your case to determine whether you have a claim, assist you in filing a civil lawsuit on your behalf.  Also, I will advocate for you both inside and outside of court.

Remember, an initial consultation is always FREE.

Freedom of Religion

The First Amendment protects against the “establishment of religion” and permits the “free exercise” of religion.

Freedom of religion is also among the freedoms that are so revered that it is considered a fundamental liberty. One of the reasons for this is because colonists fled England in a pursuit of religious freedom.  During the colonization of what would be the United States of America, colonists struggled with which different religions could coincide — something society still struggles with in present day.

“It is a matter of history that this very practice of establishing governmentally composed prayers for religious services was one of the reasons which caused many of our early colonists to leave England and seek religious freedom in America.” Engel v. Vitale, 370 US 421, 425 (1962).

I fight to protect the exercise of religion regardless of its popularity, and to stop any efforts by the government to establish a state religion.

Types of religious freedom cases I handle:

  • Establishment Clause
    • Charitable giving to churches
    • Legislative prayer
    • Religious displays (such as the Ten Commandments)
  • Free Exercise
    • Religious Discrimination
      • Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)
      • Washington State Human Rights Commission
    • Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
      Act
    • Prisoner’s rights
    • Work place religious freedom
  • Public school religious freedom

I fight for individuals whose religious beliefs and exercise of religion is wrongfully suppressed by the government. I can review the facts of your case to determine whether you have a claim, assist you in filing a civil lawsuit on your behalf.  Also, I will advocate for you both inside and outside of court.

Remember, an initial consultation is always FREE.