Sean X. Kelly and Melissa J. Kanbayashi, of the firm’s New Jersey office, recently appeared before the New Jersey Supreme Court on a novel issue regarding the scope of the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.   The case stems from several years of litigation involving the balance between first amendment rights at public hearings and claims for defamation.   The Supreme Court heard argument on whether the New Jersey Civil Rights Act should be interpreted so as to permit claims by private individuals against defendants who are not acting under color of state law.   This issue has been the subject of conflicting holdings in the State and Federal courts.   The resolution of the issue could have a significant impact on public and private constitutional claims in the years to come.