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Scales of Justice

University of Florida Can’t Block Professors from Testifying Against the State, Judge Rules

A federal judge ruled on January 21st that the University of Florida cannot bar faculty members from testifying against the state in a voting-rights case. In late October of 2021, the university came under fire when it blocked three political science professors from serving as expert witnesses in the voting-right case, claiming it violated the university’s conflict of interest policies. 

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Smartmatic Sues MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for Defamation

Smartmatic, a voting technology company, sued MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for defamation on January 18th. The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, begins, “Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell know exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous.” 

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Professor at a Public University Suspended for Profanity-Laden Video Sues for Free Speech Violations

A professor at a public university in Michigan was suspended with pay after posting a profanity-laced video to his incoming students. Professor Barry Mehler, a history professor at Ferris State University, posted the 14-minute long video that begins with him wearing an astronaut helmet over a face mask, and tells his students they are “vectors of disease,” and that “it is dangerous to breathe the air.”  

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Jacob Mchangama

FAW and FIRE co-host virtual panel on new book, “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media”

Join First Amendment Watch and Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE) for a virtual taping of the So to Speak Podcast with Jacob Mchangama, author of “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media” in conversation with Greg Lukianoff, Professor Stephen D. Solomon, Sarah McLaughlin, and host Nico Perrino.

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Freelance Writer Files $1 Million Defamation Suit Against The Atlantic

Ruth Shalit Barrett, a freelance writer who wrote a piece for The Atlantic about how some wealthy parents are pushing their children into niche sports in an attempt to get them into Ivy League schools is suing for defamation. The lawsuit, filed on January 7th in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that The Atlantic and editor Donald Peck, “unlawfully smeared” her and damaged her reputation and career. 

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An explosion caused by police munition on Jan 6, 2021

Teacher Guide: Disinformation and the First Amendment

Disinformation is more pernicious and widespread today than at any other point in history, largely because of social media and the Internet. For instance, it is now widely known—and verified by the U.S. intelligence community—that Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

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Fox News logo

Judge Allows $1.6 Billion Defamation Suit Against Fox News to Proceed

On December 16th, a judge in the for the Superior Court of the State of Delaware denied Fox News’ request to have a $1.6 billion defamation suit filed against it by Dominion Voting Systems dismissed. In March 2021, Dominion sued Fox News for defamation, arguing that network hosts, including Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and others, spread false information that its company’s technology was used to rig the election in favor of Joe Biden.

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Scales of Justice

Texas’ Social Media Law is Unconstitutional, Federal Court Rules

On December 1st, a federal court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against Texas’ social media law, HB 20, for violating platforms’ First Amendment right to moderate the third-party content they disseminate. "HB 20 prohibits virtually all content moderation, the very tool that social media platforms employ to make their platforms safe, useful, and enjoyable for users," U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman wrote. 

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