Kentucky Psychology Speech

Rosemond v. Conway
Can government censors throw Dear Abby in jail or ban Dr. Phil from TV?  Kentucky officials think so.

. IJ client John Rosemond
ky speech thumb
Watch a brief video clip on this lawsuit


In May 2013, John Rosemond—America’s longest running newspaper advice columnist—received an astonishing order from the Kentucky attorney general: Stop publishing your advice column in the Bluegrass State or face fines and jail. The attorney general and Kentucky’s psychologist-licensing board believe that John’s column, which is syndicated in more than 200 papers nationwide, constitutes the “unlicensed practice of psychology” in Kentucky when it appears in a Kentucky newspaper. Kentucky’s crackdown is part of a national surge in the abuse of occupational-licensing laws to censor advice.

On July 17, 2013, John joined the Institute for Justice to fight back in federal court. His First Amendment lawsuit defends freedom of speech and freedom of the press from government officials who believe that it can be a crime in America to express an opinion in the newspaper. John’s challenge addresses one of the most important unsettled questions in First Amendment law: Can the government use occupational-licensing laws to trump free speech?

Essential Background

Images and Media

Background: Psychology Board Censors Advice Column (July 16, 2013)

Client Photo

Case Video

Launch Release: Unprecedented: Newspaper Censorship in Kentucky (July 16, 2013)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Cease and Desist letter (PDF)

Latest Release: Newspaper Censors Backpedal In Face of Federal Lawsuit (July 18, 2013) 

Complaint & Exhibits (PDF)

Brief in Support of TRO/PI (PDF)


Case Timeline

 Filed Complaint: 

July 17, 2013

 Court Filed:

Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky


None Available

 Current Court:

Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky


 Under consideration by the trial court

 Next Key Date:


Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts


none available

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: Should Tour Guides Be Licensed? Newsweek (November 27, 2014)
Article: Parenting Columnist Targeted by Ky. Board Sues Associated Press (July 16, 2013)

Article: Kentucky agency attempts to block publication of John Rosemond parenting advice column (July 16, 2013) 
Op Ed: Sherman and Rowes: Psychological Warfare (Licensed) in Kentucky The Wall Street Journal (July 16, 2013)

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