“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. “
— The First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment is a nuanced area of law. Our First Amendment lawyers draft constitutionally sound regulations and ordinances and defend them in federal and state court to help clients in their actions as local government bodies. Our cases have both clarified existing law and supported public agencies in their decisions. We craft municipal codes that comply with reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. We also help draft policies and guidelines and offer training to local officials and public agency staff so they can be prepared and familiar with this unique area of constantly evolving law.
Meyers Nave’s First Amendment team has specialty expertise with matters involving the convergence of First Amendment, land use, and zoning laws and regulations. Our cases frequently involve issues that attract intense media attention and public scrutiny, including matters of first impression. For example, we are currently defending counties, cities and public officials throughout California in federal and state court litigation challenging Shelter In Place Orders, Public Health Orders, and Reopening Plans related to the coronavirus pandemic. Our litigation team is tackling both the complex constitutional law issues in litigation as well as the practical enforcement issues that arise from restrictions placed on the operation of churches, gyms, restaurants, lodging establishments, wine bars, brew pubs, nail salons, and other businesses. We have obtained victories at the district and appellate court levels. We are also defending local government entities in class actions that request the refund of business and licensing fees, permits and taxes paid by organizations that are closed or are operating under various restrictions. We are also defending cities and counties that have passed hazard pay ordinances in response to the coronavirus pandemic for full-time and/or part-time employees of businesses including groceries, restaurants, pharmacies, and farms. Please click here for recorded Meyers Nave webinars and Client Alerts covering developments in First Amendment litigation related to COVID-19.
Our First Amendment Practice experience includes the following areas of expertise:
- Public Health Orders, Executive Orders, Shelter In Place Orders and Reopening Plans (COVID-19)
- Adult Use (and related Section 1983 claims)
- Social Media
- Picketing, Protests and Demonstrations
- Parade, Park, and Special Event Permits
- Public Forum Provisions
- Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)
- Rules of Decorum