A retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who used the most noxious racial slur at an exchange while shopping had his abusive language conviction reversed by a federal appeals court. The appeals court determined that the conviction could not stand because the government failed to show evidence that the words led to an immediate violent reaction by others.
Recently introduced legislation in Rhode Island and New Hampshire continues the trend of state legislatures taking aim at the teaching of “divisive concepts” about race and gender in higher education. The bills, like their counterparts in other states, are deeply flawed and pose a threat to free speech and academic freedom.
Since Florida Governor Ron. DeSantis signed the “Combating Public Disorder” act into law this past April, civil liberties groups across the country have questioned its constitutionality. Now, two separate groups have sought to challenge the law in federal court.
On May 5th, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning news coverage conducted by a local television station.
Two elementary school students in Ardmore, Oklahoma were pulled from their public school classrooms for wearing “Black Lives Matters” t-shirts,” reports The New York Times. Such action likely violates the First Amendment, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision protecting student-initiated expression in the public schools—Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969).
On May 5th, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court — the highest court in Massachusetts — ruled that a virtual suppression hearing conducted via Zoom violated neither the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights nor the public’s First Amendment right to access court proceedings. Nevertheless, the court reversed the trial judge’s ruling that had rejected the defendant’s motion for a continuance.
On May 5th, a split three-judge panel on the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida for the Fourth District upheld the arrest of Sharron Tasha Ford, who sued the city of Boynton Beach for violating her First Amendment right to record police.
Join us on May 19th for a FAW Public Forum conversation with Lyrissa Lidsky, RonNell Andersen Jones, and Jonathan Peters about Dominion and Smartmatic's defamation lawsuits challenging Fox News' election coverage. Is libel law the best way to tackle disinformation, or could this strategy unintentionally make it easier for bad actors to sue journalists?