First Amendment Challenge to Lawyer Advertising Restrictions, and Immigration Matter

By FindLaw Staff on June 17, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Harrell v. Fla. Bar, No. 09-11910, involved a First Amendment action by a lawyer who advertised the services of his firm extensively, claiming in a broad facial challenge that nine advertising-related provisions of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar were so vague as to violate his due process rights.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendants, holding that plaintiff did not give any substantial reason to believe that submitting a bare script or outline of the advertisements he proposed would constitute a hardship. However, the court reversed in part on the grounds that: 1) plaintiff satisfied the injury-in-fact requirement with respect to five of the challenged rules; 2) plaintiff made an adequate threshold showing of vagueness in the application of the rules to his proposed advertisements; and 3) the bar did not bear its heavy burden of showing that it is "absolutely clear that the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur."

Xia v. U.S. Atty. Gen., No. 08-13849, concerned a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the denial, by an Immigration Judge (IJ), of petitioner's claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and ordering her removal.  The court denied the petition on the ground that the totality of the record provided ample support for the IJ's specifically stated finding that petitioner's testimony regarding the critical events at issue was not credible.

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