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Nike v Kasky: Supreme Court ducks free speech ruling

Date: 26 Jun 2003

The US Supreme Court has refused to rule on the issues around commercial speech and free speech at the heart of the Nike v Kasky trial, and have ordered that the California Court hearing can proceed.

The judgement, a disappointment to Nike that had hoped to have the original case stricken out, means that there will now be a trial on whether statements made by the company on its human rights performance were truthful and accurate.

The fact that the court hasn't ruled means that should Nike lose, it will then be able to appeal using the freedom of speech arguments again.

Six out of the nine justices had chosen to refer the matter back, leaving three saying that they would have resolved the case now.

The proceedings began when Marc Kasky, a Californian activist, accused Nike of lying in statements it made in letters and press releases relating to overseas labour practices. The company said that these statements are protected by the First Amendment.


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