Julian Assange is the first publisher in history to be charged with the World War I-era Espionage Act, igniting pushback from journalists around the world who say this could threaten press freedoms and endanger First Amendment protections.
The endless challenges to freedom of expression raise vital questions of constitutional law and the place of free speech in a democratic society. Click on the map icons to get brief descriptions of controversies large and small (from 2018 to the present), as well as links to more information.
A U.S. federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Dec. 6 against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and two of his alleged co-conspirators in the murder of journalist and democracy advocate Jamal Khashoggi. President Biden’s administration insisted that the Saudi prince was immune legally as the head-of-state, and the federal judge heeded its suggestion.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Dec. 5 in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, a case brought by a Colorado-based website designer who argues that the state’s anti-discrimination law violates her freedom of speech and religion — but her challenge came before the law was enforced against her.
Nine days after George Floyd’s death, the American Civil Liberties Union posted a story characterizing the attacks on journalists covering the protests as a “full-scale assault on the First Amendment freedom of the press.” Lawsuits were filed and we detail the top three settlements this year obtained by journalists and a citizen documenting the protests.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy Dec. 2, citing the $1.5 billion in damages he owes to nine families who lost their children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
The legal battle between E. Jean Carroll and former President Donald Trump has been ongoing since 2019, when Carroll sued Trump for defamation due to statements he made about her while publicly denouncing her sexual assault allegations against him.
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocked a key provision of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE” Act, citing First Amendment violations of viewpoint discrimination after Florida claimed that public university professors were bound by state-sanctioned speech.