View related topics

First Amendment and Constitutional Challenges

Hueston Hennigan attorneys have repeatedly and successfully challenged statutes and other government regulations that impact our clients' businesses and interests. In this area, the extensive trial and clerkship experiences of our attorneys allow us to combine analytical and strategic writing with strong oral advocacy to seek the earliest possible victories for our clients. Thus, we have prevailed on First Amendment claims and other constitutional challenges to federal, state, and local laws, and have done so while minimizing costs for our clients.

Representative Matters

  • In a widely publicized suit, the firm obtained a preliminary injunction against California's AB 1687, which prohibited the publication of age-related information on IMDb.com. The firm challenged the law on First Amendment, Commerce Clause, and pre-emption grounds. In accepting the firm's arguments, the court held, "It is difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment."
  • Successfully struck down Measure R, a voter-enacted Malibu land use ordinance that the New York Times called "one of the most stringent anti-development measures ever attempted in the country." Challenging the ordinance on behalf of two Malibu property owners, the firm prepared briefing demonstrating a nuanced understanding of constitutional, land use, and elections law, and then prevailed after a bench trial on a stipulated record. The firm continues to represent the property owners on appeal.
  • Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctive relief on behalf of university employees who were the victims of violence and threats of violence from individual extremists and groups of extremists. We successfully overcame First Amendment and anti-SLAPP challenges and prevailed on summary judgment in state court, and additionally defended the outcome and injunction in collateral federal litigation, obtaining a ruling that was successfully upheld on appeal in the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Successfully challenged Illinois' wire-tapping statute. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the statute was unconstitutionally overbroad and violated the First Amendment.
  • Challenged California's voter-initiative to prohibit same-sex marriage. Over the course of several years, our clients argued that Proposition 8 violated the California Constitution insofar as the proposition resulted in dramatic change in the protections afforded to marginalized Californians and thus could not be implemented simply by voter referendum. We also challenged Proposition 8 in federal court, arguing on behalf of women's rights groups that it unconstitutionally discriminated on the basis of gender and sex stereotyping.
  • Hueston Hennigan attorneys also have extensive experience with First Amendment issues implicating internet speech, including in connection with allegedly defamatory posts on social media and other internet sites.