• Kirk Hartley

Do Judges Have First Amendment Rights?

The First Amendment has become a war horse ridden by many. Now a new question – do judges have First Amendment rights to comment on litigation before them?

Certainly most all members of the litigation industry fight hard to try to win comments and decisions from judges. Think Judge Jack and silica. And for years now, we’ve had judges out speaking at litigation conferences.

The conversations are heating up. One federal district judge (Richard Kopf) offered his own views on his blog, and a prior post on his blog collects comments from many lawyers and others.

IMHO, the 2d Circuit’s ruling is hard to understand in an age in which Justices from SCOTUS give summer time talks on cases, Judge Posner and Justice Scalia are debating in public, and, as mentioned above, trial judges of all sorts are panelists speaking at specialized conferences on cases of the sort they are handling.


About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”


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