First Amendment and Constitutional Challenges

Our team combines unparalleled trial experience, creative thinking, and persistent attention to the facts and the law to develop successful constitutional challenges and victories in constitutional challenges.

We have earned remarkable results in challenging federal, state, and local laws and regulations that are detrimental to client businesses and interests—including laws that inhibit speech, land use ordinances that threatened to impede property development, and California’s prohibition on same-sex marriage.

Companies, media organizations, non-profits, and individuals rely on our team for representation in a wide array of constitutional matters. We regularly challenge government restrictions on free speech, advocate for plaintiffs who claim injury from the content of speech, and defend clients against First Amendment and anti-SLAPP challenges. We are also at the forefront of First Amendment issues implicating internet speech, including those connected to allegedly defamatory posts on social media and other internet sites.

Our lawyers combine far-reaching trial experience, outstanding analytical skills, and strong written and oral advocacy to obtain the earliest possible victories for our clients while minimizing cost. Most of our attorneys have served as clerks to federal judges, which gives us an edge in building persuasive legal arguments that produce positive outcomes, both at trial and on appeal.

Representative Experience

  • In a widely publicized suit, we 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 preemption 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, we prepared a 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. In addition, we defended the outcome and injunction in collateral federal litigation, obtaining a ruling that was successfully upheld on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for 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.