Below the Fold

Former CIA Director John Brennan departs from a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing evaluating the Intelligence Community Assessment on "Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 16, 2018.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Trump Revokes Former CIA Director’s Security Clearance

August 21, 2018: Trump Hints At Criticism As Reason For Revoking Brennan’s Clearance In A Tweet President Trump implied that the reasoning behind why he revoked John Brennan’s security clearance is because of criticism, noting in a tweet that Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “is being nice” to him to keep his clearance. Even James Clapper has admonished John[Read More…]

August 23, 2018 Below the Fold, Censorship, Speech, Threats
Jul 8, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detail view of a city of Pittsburgh police officer's badge covered in solidarity with Dallas police before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports  / Reuters 
Picture Supplied by Action Images  
(TAGS: Sport Baseball MLB) *** Local Caption *** 2016-07-08T234839Z_1372567816_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_MLB-CHICAGO-CUBS-AT-PITTSBURGH-PIRATES.JPG

Threatening Lyrics In Music Video Not Protected Speech, Pa. High Court Rules

August 21, 2018: The Violent Threats Were Directed At Police Officers Who Had Arrested The Rapper  An online music video filled with violent threats directed towards two cops was a “true threat” and not protected speech under the First Amendment, the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ruled. The high court turned down an appeal by the video’s creator who made “highly personalized”[Read More…]

August 22, 2018 Artistic Speech, Below the Fold
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Omarosa Manigault (R) attend a church service, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 3 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Are White House NDAs Legal? Experts Weigh In.

  Former Trump aide and “The Apprentice” star Omarosa Manigault Newman’s public dispute with President Trump following her book release publicity tour raises questions about the legality of White House employees signing non-disclosure agreements and challenges the extent of government transparency in this administration. President Trump’s campaign organization filed for arbitration, claiming that Marigault-Newman breached an NDA that she signed when[Read More…]

FILE PHOTO: San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, California, Oct 6, 2016.   Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Taking A Knee: Anthem Protests Continue At Kickoff of NFL Preseason

It started with Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback who played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. To protest what he saw as oppression of people of color, he refused to stand for the National Anthem before his NFL games. His symbolic expression of dissent spread to other players and continued into the 2017 season, exploding into fiery controversy when President Donald Trump urged the NFL and its owners to fire players who refused to honor the National Anthem. The practice of taking a knee even spread to high school football players. Does the First Amendment protect the players when they refuse to stand for the National Anthem? And how does taking a knee fit into America’s history of political protest? We provide historical perspective in From Liberty Tree to Taking a Knee: America’s Founding Era Sheds Light on the NFL Controversy.

August 14, 2018 Below the Fold, Speech, Symbolic Speech
Newly printed  Detroit News newspapers run thru the printing presses at the newspapers printing plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan December 16, 2008. The Newspapers Partnership announced a plan to reduce home-delivery of the papers to three days a week and a push for their on-line editions.   REUTERS/Rebecca Cook   (UNITED STATES)

Are Newsprint Tariffs Repressing The Free Press?

The U.S. International Trade Commission is considering whether to permanently institute a 30 percent tariff on newsprint from Canada, the largest source for US newspapers. In light of recent layoffs at the New York Daily News and many other newsrooms tapering their staff and product, how will this looming tariff threaten the operation and publication of newspapers of all sizes across the country?

August 6, 2018 Below the Fold, News Gathering, Press
U.S. President Donald Trump introduces his Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

In Light of Nomination, First Amendment Experts Weigh In On Kavanaugh’s Record

First Amendment Experts Have Mixed Feelings On Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s First Amendment Record Damon Root refers to the current Supreme Court nominee’s record on free and commercial speech as “discouraging” in his analysis in Reason.  “Free Speech advocates are likely to be disappointed by the answer when they examine Kavanaugh’s vote in an important 2014 case,” he writes,[Read More…]

August 1, 2018 Below the Fold, Speech
Lata Nott, Executive Director of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center

Lata Nott: Does It Really Matter That Americans Don’t Know Exactly What The First Amendment Says?

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Lata Nott, originally published this op-ed on the Newseum blog and in local newspapers across the country, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.         The majority of Americans are supportive of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, but are also unaware of exactly what those rights are,[Read More…]

July 18, 2018 Below the Fold
Josephine Meckseper Flag. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli. Courtesy of Creative Time.

Flag Art Installation At University of Kansas Did Not Sit Well With All Stripes, Including Governor

July 12, 2018: University of Kansas Removes Art Installation Of Altered U.S. Flag, Amid Criticism The University of Kansas removed an altered U.S. flag that was flying on campus as part of an art exhibit amid criticism from politicians, including the state’s governor. The flag, called “Untitled (Flag 2)” was part of the nationwide public art project “Pledges of Allegiance.” This flag was[Read More…]

Los Angeles Times Building (source: Wikipedia)

Judge Lifts Order On The Los Angeles Times To Alter News Story

The First Amendment has always been seen as providing, at a very minimum, freedom from censorship by the government or by a private party acting through an injunction issued by a judge. The Los Angeles Times will rely on this argument as it fights a court order that required it to take down part of a published piece on Saturday.

July 16, 2018 Below the Fold, Press, Prior Restraints
The Alarming Rise in Verbal and Physical Threats to the Press

The Alarming Rise in Verbal and Physical Threats to the Press

Many presidents have had contentious relationships with the press. President John Adams’ 1798 Sedition Act made publishing anything critical of the government illegal, President Theodore Roosevelt tried to sue the press for unfavorable coverage and other leaders have tried to control the flow of information. However, the animosity towards the press fostered by President Donald Trump many believe is unprecedented.

June 13, 2018 Below the Fold, Leaks, Threats