Serafine’s brief in the Fifth Circuit appeal and outline of contents

This case began in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. This is the trial court in the federal system, and a trial was held in this case. The trial court rejected Serafine’s claim that the psychology statute was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.

Serafine appealed the trial court’s decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Serafine’s opening brief to the Fifth Circuit is HERE.

Below is an outline of the facts and arguments in her brief. [All page numbers refer to pdf page numbers.]:

  • The TPA and the psychology board said Serafine could not call herself a “psychologist.” p. 15.
  • Serafine’s background and training is in psychology. p. 17.
  • “Psychologist” is a generic word for one who studies the mind. p. 22.
  • What the psychology law does, actually, is prohibit speech. p. 26.
  • The Board says, in effect, that the law even prohibits certain conversations. p. 29.
  • Serafine claims that the Board is asserting “psychologist” as a “brand name.” p. 37.
  • Serafine says that the Board had no facts justifying the law. p. 41.
  • There is no evidence or even consensus about effective talk therapy. p. 44.
  • This law is a prohibition on speech. p. 53.
  • It is not exempt from the First Amendment. p. 57.
  • Psychology, unlike medicine, lacks a knowledge base. p. 64.
  • The psychology statute is unconstitutional. p. 67.


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