The Student Press Law Center

Posted by OPI at 3:50 PM in Pro Bono Honors Pledge

The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free legal assistance to student journalists and the teachers who work with them nationwide. The SPLC is considering a facial constitutional challenge to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), a federal statute that frequently is misapplied to obstruct journalists' access to information from colleges and schools. We believe the statute -- violation of which is punishable by complete withdrawal of a school's federal funding -- is constitutionally infirm under the principles set forth in the "Obamacare" ruling, NFIB v. Sebelius. The research assignment would be gathering and analyzing caselaw from the Ninth Circuit to determine (1) the prerequisites for a facial First Amendment challenge to a federal statute, and (2) the standing issues involved in challenging the statute from the vantage point of a requester of public records rather than the institution that actually faces the potential forfeiture of federal funding. The student's work would assist SPLC in building the strongest case to withstand a motion to dismiss. SPLC would hope for a written memo summarizing the student's findings, but the memo can be relatively informal. The work probably will take about a 30-hour week, but it is divisible if the student would prefer a less demanding assignment. There is no specific deadline. Inquiries can be directed to Frank D. LoMonte at

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