Category Archives: Constitution

Rights of Publicity Often Collide with First Amendment

In law school we all learned about the “four privacy rights” in first year torts class: (1) intrusion into plaintiff’s private affairs; (2) public disclosure of embarrassing private facts; (3) publicity that places plaintiff in a false light; and (4) appropriation of the plaintiff’s name or likeness.

The reason that these are called rights of “privacy” is that they all serve the value of being left alone in a society where technology multiplies the risk of intrusion into our solitude and dignity.

The fourth right, appropriation of name or likeness, alone among the four privacy rights has taken on a twin character.  read more

Gawker Verdict Reinvigorates Power of Privacy Claims

I’m old enough to remember the days when “the news” consisted of thirty minutes on one of three major television networks.  In those days there were high barriers to entry into the world of television or print media, leaving the news in the hands of major entities that, I believe, tried to apply sincere journalistic standards.  We had a relatively high level of comfort that what was delivered to us as “news” was: a) relatively important; b) relatively objective and c) relatively accurate.

With the advent of cable television and the Internet, “news” is now ubiquitous, available 24/7 through an unlimited number of sources.  read more

Judicial Activism and Balls and Strikes

Some years ago the term “judicial activism” became common.  The phrase was coined by conservatives to claim that conservative judges apply the law and liberal judges ignore the law and make up the result.  Liberals picked up this theme and leveled accusations of “judicial activism” in connection with conservative-majority decisions, such as those on gun rights and campaign finance.

I have not been able to discern any consistent use or definition of the term “judicial activism,” other than that the person using the term does not like the decision they are criticizing.  The judges all seem to be attempting to apply the law; none admit to making it up. read more