Colorado Supreme Court Rejects First Amendment Challenge to Lawyer Disciplinary Rule

A Colorado rule prohibiting lawyers from referring to individuals during a legal process with language exhibiting bias or animus on the basis of sexual orientation does not violate the First Amendment, the state’s high court has ruled. The ruling came in the case of an attorney who was disciplined for calling a judge a “gay, fat, fag.”  

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First Circuit Defends Hospital Worker’s Speech Rights

During the pandemic, as hospitals struggled to keep up with the surge of COVID patients, managers clamped down on staffers who spoke to the press about their work conditions. Young's case could pave the way for other hospital workers to push back against official policies that prohibit them from speaking to the press.

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Attorney General Meets With Media Leaders to Tighten Rules on Leak Investigations

On June 14, Attorney General Merrick Garland met with leaders of The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post to strengthen rules for obtaining journalists' records during leak investigations. The meeting took place after several reports emerged saying that the Department of Justice, under the Trump administration, had secretly subpoenaed journalists’ phone and email logs in an effort to uncover sources in stories that had been leaked to the press. 

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Jeff Bezos

First Amendment Protects ProPublica’s Publication of IRS Documents

There is no question that ProPublica's story on billionaires' income taxes drew a lot of attention. But could they get in trouble for publishing it?

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Lafayette Sq

New Report Says Trump Did Not Order Shutdown of Lafayette Square Protests

After the U.S. Park Police (USPP) led law enforcement to forcibly shut down a mostly peaceful protest on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., an hour before a city-wide curfew on June 1st, 2020, the protestors and the press have pushed for answers about who was responsible for the decision. More than a year later, the Department of Interior has published a report with some answers.

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Divided Federal Appeals Court Panel Rules that Palm Beach Man’s Mansion is Not Expressive Conduct

Is a house – even a carefully planned 20,000 square foot mansion – a form of expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment or is it primarily a place to eat, sleep, and live without expressive elements?  That was the question that led to a spirited debate among a sharply divided three-judge panel of the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Burns v. Town of Palm Beach.  

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Biden Justice Department Says It Plans to Defend Trump in Sexual Assault Libel Suit

Trump is being sued by former Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll for denying that he raped her in a department store changing room in the 1990s. The Biden administration’s decision to continue supporting this case does not bode well for Carroll. Federal officials are typically given broad protections from civil lawsuits. 

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Anti-Abortion Group Loses First Amendment Case Against City of Detroit

On June 7th, a Michigan federal court dismissed a First Amendment challenge filed against the city of Detroit by a group of anti-abortion protesters. The case offers an interesting look at how courts balance public safety concerns against the right to protest.

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