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Written by David L. Hudson Jr., published on January 1, 2009 , last updated on May 5, 2024

Evan Lawson

Evan Lawson succesfully argued two First Amendment cases before the Supreme Court. In one, the Court invalidated a Massachusetts flag misuse statute, and in another, it struck down a Rhode Island law against liquor price advertising.

Evan T. Lawson (1943–2013) was a Boston-based attorney who successfully argued two First Amendment cases before the Supreme Court: Smith v. Goguen (1974) and 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island (1996).


Lawson argued First Amendment cases before the Supreme Court


In Goguen, the Supreme Court invalidated a Massachusetts flag-misuse statute because it was too vague. In 44 Liquormart, the Court struck down Rhode Island provisions that banned liquor price advertising because they violated commercial free speech rights.


Born in 1943 in New York City, Lawson obtained his law degree in 1967 from Boston University School of Law. He worked as an assistant attorney general under U.S. Attorney General Elliot Lee Richardson and later entered private practice in the Boston area.


In 1973, he helped found the law firm bearing his name, Lawson and Weitzen.


While his Supreme Court successes have involved First Amendment issues, Lawson’s practice as a senior partner at Lawson and Weitzen included real estate, personal injury, zoning, and intellectual property.


David L. Hudson, Jr. is a law professor at Belmont who publishes widely on First Amendment topics.  He is the author of a 12-lecture audio course on the First Amendment entitled Freedom of Speech: Understanding the First Amendment (Now You Know Media, 2018).  He also is the author of many First Amendment books, including The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Thomson Reuters, 2012) and Freedom of Speech: Documents Decoded (ABC-CLIO, 2017). This article was originally published in 2009.​


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