Ballard Spahr: First Amendment Bars Trump from Blocking Critics on Twitter, Court Rules

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr A federal judge has ruled that the First Amendment prohibits President Donald J. Trump from blocking Twitter users because of political disagreements. Last summer, […]

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Scott Pruitt

EPA Bars Reporters from Several Outlets From Attending National Summit

Reporters from CNN, The Associated Press, and E&E News were barred by the EPA from entering a national summit “of national priority,” while other reporters were allowed inside for Scott […]

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Dallas Morning News building

Columnist and The Dallas Morning News Argue in Libel Case that First Amendment Protects Contested Opinion Piece–and Wins

Parents of Paul Tatum, a teenager who committed suicide, sued now retired columnist Steve Blow at The Dallas Morning News for libel in regards to a piece he wrote in 2010 about their son's death. The court however decided the column was protected by the First Amendment as it was an opinion piece and therefore protected speech. "The publication of Blow's column may have run afoul of certain journalistic, ethical, and other standards. But the standards governing the law of defamation are not among them," wrote Justice Jeff Brown, a former Texas Supreme Court chief justice who handled the case in the Supreme Court.

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Gene Policinski

Gene Policinski Commentary: President’s Press Credential Threat Will Be ‘Trumped’ By The First Amendment

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on May 11, 2018, on the Newseum blog, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.   […]

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President Trump Takes Fake News Accusations To New Level Tweeting Negative Coverage Equals Fake News

Presidents make use of all forms of communication to get their message out to voters. No other President has so effectively used Twitter as President Trump who has called it his "own form of media" used to counter "fake news." In his latest deluge, President Trump equates negative news coverage with "fake news" and threatens to revoke press credentials (again). The central role of the First Amendment is to protect the people in their writings about government affairs and government officials—and especially when it is negative, as that is when the government is most likely to try to punish writers. As James Madison wrote in his Virginia Report of 1800, freedom of the press protects the "right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.” 

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Wooden blocks spelling "tolerance"

First Amendment Scholar Ron Collins, “We Have No Tolerance For Tolerance.”

In a new essay in Concurring Opinions, Abandoned? The Liberal Flight from the First Amendment, First Amendment scholar, Ron Collins, writes that the cultural wars have wiped away once steadfast liberal ideas of tolerance. "Toleration (that enemy of the self-righteous) has always been at the heart of the First Amendment. But ideology makes its demands and when it does liberty is left wounded. Sensitive to such concerns, the reflections that follow (by an open-minded person with progressive tendencies) are about the liberal abandonment of the First Amendment, or much of it." As First Amendment Watch kicks off a series of online essay debates on the topic, we want to hear from you. What do you think? Is there really no tolerance for tolerance anymore?

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American University Student Sues Neo-Nazi Site, Daily Stormer

American University student Taylor Dumpson is bringing one of the first event student activist lawsuits against alt-right and online trolls, according to The Chronicle for Higher Education. In her suit, Dumpson […]

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Ballard Spahr: Cosby Case Highlights Role of Public Access to Court Records

  Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr The April 2018 criminal trial of iconic entertainer and “America’s Dad” Bill Cosby has ended with a guilty verdict. Rarely has the importance […]

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