First Amendment Clinic authors amicus brief challenging overly broad N.C. Property Protection Act

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The First Amendment Clinic authored an amicus brief on behalf of 18 law professors challenging North Carolina’s Property Protection Act, which prohibits speech based on information obtained from the nonpublic premises of any property owner. Filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case PETA v. Stein, No. 20-1776 (L), the brief argues that the North Carolina law “will greatly muffle, if not silence, undercover investigators, whistleblowers, concerned employees, and persons seeking to comply with multiple federal and state law reporting schemes, while allowing all manner of abuses – e.g., animal welfare, labor, environmental, to name a few – to persist with greatly reduced fear of public exposure.” Written by clinic Director Clare Norins, third-year student Michael Sloman and second-year student Mark L. Bailey, the brief urges the Fourth Circuit to declare the law unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it fails to survive heightened scrutiny and is substantially overbroad.