Supreme Court Will Hear Kasky vs Nike On Corporate PR

The US Supreme Court will rule in Nike vs. Kasky whether Nike's statements on the working conditions in its Asian factories are commercial speech and subject to truth-in-advertising laws. Nike appealed a May 2002 California Supreme Court decision that says when a corporation makes "factual representations about its own products or its own operations, it must speak truthfully." Nike says that the First Amendment protects its statements. Thirty-two media companies and organizations -- including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Tribune Company, the Hearst Corporation, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and the National Association of Broadcasters -- have filed a brief on behalf of Nike. They argue that reporters would not be able to get company executives to talk freely about their industry because of a fear of lawsuits if a company is believed to be lying and that this would squelch free and open public debate. Activists at organizations like, however, see this defense as a red herring. They characterize the case as a question of corporate personhood and argue that corporations do not have a Constitutional right to free speech. Nike has assembled an "all-star legal team" to argue its case.