Archive

First Amendment Watch Teacher Guide: Why is James Madison’s Defense of Freedom of the Press Critical Today?

The press is under attack from many public officials as well as private citizens writing on their blogs and Twitter accounts. President Donald Trump, for one, has accused some news organizations of publishing “fake news” about his administration. Although he may be unusually vociferous in attacking journalists, public officials of all political stripes throughout American history have complained about the press when they are targets of criticism. This is an opportune time for educators to reach back to James Madison for what may be the most powerful defense of freedom of the press written by any American.

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FAC

First Amendment Coalition Pushes Court to Keep Public Access to Criminal Case

The defense counsel in a high-profile criminal case in California asked a court in August to close the pretrial hearings from the public and media. Now, a First Amendment advocacy group is pushing back, arguing that there are ways to ensure a fair trial without compromising public access.

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TikTok

Federal Judge Blocks Part of Trump’s Ban on TikTok

According to The Washington Post, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols questioned whether President Trump had given TikTok enough time to respond before issuing his executive order on August 6th. The ruling blocks the portion of the ban that would have prohibited users from downloading the app online. 

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Louisiana Supreme Court Judge Targets Critics with Defamation Suits

Judge Jeff Hughes has sued the head of a watchdog group and local newspaper for editorials criticizing his handling of a child custody case. The editorials stemmed from an ongoing investigative series into judicial misconduct in Louisiana courts.

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Charlottesville

First Amendment Teacher Guide: Hate Speech In America

Although many countries across the globe have laws prohibiting hate speech, the United States protects offensive speech about certain groups that historically have been subject to discrimination. This teacher guide explores the First Amendment issues that arise with attempting to regulate offensive speech drawing on past and contemporary court cases.

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City Apologizes for Barring Local Charlottesville Resident from Commenting During Public Meeting

On September 18th, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia issued a formal apology after a  local resident was blocked from commenting during a City Council meeting on Zoom. On May 18th, Charlottesville resident Tanesha Hudson criticized the way Council members were dealing with City Manager Tarron Richardson, who she alleges they were plotting to fire.  

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Tiktok

Federal Judge Temporarily Halts Trump’s WeChat and TikTok Ban

On Sunday, September 20th, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against President Donald Trump’s executive order that banned WeChat and TikTok from operating in the U.S. Trump signed the executive order on August 6th, citing national security concerns that the Chinese-owned messaging app and the video app were collecting data on Americans.

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Panel on How to Safely and Legally Record the Police

Halima Kazem-Stojanovic, an investigative reporter and Justice Studies professor at San Jose State University and the coordinator of the Human Rights Journalism program at SJSU’s Human Rights Institute, hosted a virtual panel on the right to record police in public.

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