Nike, Inc. v. Kasky, 539 U.S. 654, 3 (2003)

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Stevens, J., concurring

Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Ginsburg joins, and with whom Justice Souter joins as to Part III, concurring.

Beginning in 1996, Nike was besieged with a series of allegations that it was mistreating and underpaying workers at foreign facilities. See App. to Pet. for Cert. 3a. Nike responded to these charges in numerous ways, such as by sending out press releases, writing letters to the editors of various newspapers around the country, and mailing letters to university presidents and athletic directors. See id., at 3a- 4a. In addition, in 1997, Nike commissioned a report by former Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young on the labor conditions at Nike production facilities. See id., at 67a. After visiting 12 factories, "Young issued a report that commented favorably on working conditions in the factories and found no evidence of widespread abuse or mis-treatment of workers." Ibid.

In April 1998, respondent Marc Kasky, a California resident, sued Nike for unfair and deceptive practices under California's Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Ann. 17200 et seq. (West 1997), and False Advertising Law, 17500 et seq. Respondent asserted that "in order to maintain and/or increase its sales," Nike made a number of "false statements and/or material omissions of fact" concerning the working conditions under which Nike products are manufactured. Lodging of Petitioners 2 (¶ 1). Respondent alleged "no harm or damages whatsoever regarding himself individually," id., at 4-5 (¶ 8), but rather brought the suit "on behalf of the General Public of the State of California and on information and belief," id., at 3 (¶ 3).

Nike filed a demurrer to the complaint, contending that respondent's suit was absolutely barred by the First Amendment. The trial court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend and entered a judgment of dismissal. App. to Pet. for Cert. 80a-81a. Respondent appealed, and the California Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that Nike's statements

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