Mehdi v. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
As stated in Justice White's concurring opinion in the 1974 U.S. Supreme Court case of Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo, a law requiring publication of an article "runs afoul of the elementary First Amendment proposition that government may not force a newspaper to print copy which, in its journalistic discretion, it chooses to leave on the newsroom floor." Ajmal Mehdi filed a discrimination complaint against Thomas Curly and the Associated Press, alleging he was denied services based, in part, on his religious beliefs in violation of C.G.S. §46a-64(a)(1). The plaintiff claimed that the Associated Press discriminated against him by refusing to publish articles he wrote regarding his religious beliefs. The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities dismissed the complaint, concluding that the Associated Press was exempt from its jurisdiction. The commission denied the plaintiff's request for reconsideration, noting that the First Amendment conferred upon the Associated Press the right to determine what articles to publish. The Superior Court dismissed the plaintiff's administrative appeal, concluding that a state agency cannot "tell a newspaper what it can or cannot print" and the commission "correctly determined … that the Associated Press was exempt from a claim of religious discrimination under §46a-64(a) where the plaintiff's complaint alleged a matter reserved for journalistic discretion." Mehdi appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Under Miami Herald Publishing Company, the court correctly determined that had the commission required the Associated Press to publish the material requested by the plaintiff, such an order would violate the First Amendment.