US FREEDOM of speech has taken a battering with Nike deciding not to challenge a Supreme Court ruling made against it. The lawsuit, that was expected to produce a landmark free speech ruling, has ended with Nike deciding to donate US$1.5 ($227) million to the Fair Labor Association rather than continue with the litigation.
The case arose after San Francisco labour activist, Marc Kasky, brought a lawsuit against the corporate giant, claiming that Nike’s statements about employee pay and working conditions had violated a California law on false advertising.
Nike argued that its statements did not fit the US Supreme Court’s definition of commercial speech and so should receive constitutional protection.
The Californian Supreme Court decided last year, by a 4 to 3 majority, that Nike’s statements were commercial speech as its comments were likely to influence consumers and the Californian advertising should apply.
In making the donation rather than pursuing an appeal, Nike said that supporting these programs was preferable to litigation.