Below the Fold

FILE PHOTO: People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

Another Judge Rules That Politicians Censoring Critics On Twitter Violates The First Amendment

January 18, 2019: Three Republican Officials Blocked A Liberal Advocacy Group A federal judge ruled that three Republican members of the Wisconsin State Assembly violated the First Amendment rights of a liberal advocacy group by blocking the group’s account from their respective Twitter pages. The group, One Wisconsin Now (OWN), filed a lawsuit in 2017 against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos,[Read More…]

January 23, 2019 Below the Fold, Censorship, Speech
Methuen Square in Methuen, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Mayor Can Pursue Defamation Suit Against Local Paper, Judge Rules

January 3, 2019: The Judge Said That Five Statements Made In The Column In Question “Are Disputed Issues of Fact”  A judge is allowing a defamation lawsuit brought by the mayor of Methuen, Massachusetts James Jajuga to go to trial against the publisher of a local monthly paper over comments made in a column published last March. The judge denied publisher[Read More…]

January 3, 2019 Below the Fold, Libel
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks with Los Angeles Mayor Ken Garcetti (unseen) in a "fireside chat" at the National League of Cities (NLC) 2018 City Summit in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

Citing First Amendment Rights, Musk Seeks To Dismiss Defamation Suit

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is asking a judge to dismiss a libel claim against him brought by a British diver involved in the international rescue mission of young boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand, arguing that his Tweets calling the diver a “pedo” and “child rapist” were an opinion and could not be construed as facts.

January 2, 2019 Below the Fold, Libel, Offensive Speech
The Enduring Impact of Jefferson’s Inaugural Address in 2019

The Enduring Impact of Jefferson’s Inaugural Address in 2019

By Stephen Solomon, founding editor of First Amendment Watch The most-visited page on First Amendment Watch during 2018 was not one of the many conflicts over freedom of speech and press that we covered during the year. It was Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, delivered by our third President on March 4, 1801. Jefferson articulated a message that resonates in our own time of[Read More…]

January 2, 2019 Below the Fold, History Speaks
Part of a series on the Pentagon Papers published by The New York Times in 1971. The Nixon Administration's attempt to stop publication was ultimately rejected in New York Times v. United States.

Harvard Historian Seeking To Unseal Documents From Probe Into Pentagon Papers Leak

December 19, 2018: The Public Needs More Insight Into The Landmark Pentagon Papers Case, She Argues  A history professor and writer is asking a federal judge to unseal the records from proceedings in two Boston grand jury probes into the leaks of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Jill Lepore, who is seeking the records, is a Harvard professor, writer for The New[Read More…]

December 19, 2018 Access, Below the Fold, News Gathering, Press
People gather on Bancroft Way during a demonstration against a planned speech by conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, California, U.S. September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Settlement Reached In UC Berkeley On-Campus Speaker Policy Suit

December 3, 2018: Both Sides Are Touting the Settlement as a Win UC Berkeley and conservative groups Young America’s Foundation and Berkeley College Republicans have reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the groups against the university, claiming discriminatory practices that silenced conservative speakers on campus. Under the terms of the settlement, the university must make changes to its[Read More…]

December 10, 2018 Below the Fold, Campus Speech
Arkansas Student Newspaper Overcomes Censorship Dispute

Arkansas Student Newspaper Overcomes Censorship Dispute

December 6, 2018: The District Called the Article “Harmful”, “Divisive”  The controversy that ensued over an investigation published by student journalists—despite a state law protecting their rights—has come to a close. Student journalists at The Har Ber Herald were forced to remove a story from their website and had their operations suspended after they published a story questioning the school district’s approval to[Read More…]

December 6, 2018 Below the Fold, Censorship, Press
A police officer walks up the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington March 2, 2015. The Supreme Court will hear "King v. Burwell" on March 4, a challenge on whether residents in at least 34 U.S. states are eligible for federal tax subsidies to help them buy health coverage under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.    REUTERS/Joshua Roberts    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH BUSINESS)

SCOTUS Revives First Amendment Challenge to Mandatory Bar Membership Post-Janus

December 4, 2018: Case Sent Back for Reconsideration After Janus Ruling The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a North Dakota lawyer’s First Amendment challenge to a nearly 30-year-old North Dakota law that obligates lawyers to to become members of a state bar association. Currently, 37 jurisdictions require bar membership as a condition to practice,[Read More…]

December 6, 2018 Below the Fold, Speech
Nazi Salute in Photo is Protected by the First Amendment, Baraboo School District Says

Nazi Salute in Photo is Protected by the First Amendment, Baraboo School District Says

Wisconsin high school students went unpunished for appearing in a pre-prom photo in what seems to be a Nazi salute. School administrators say they are protected by the First Amendment. What are the students rights to free speech?

December 4, 2018 Below the Fold, Speech
A view of reclaimed land that is being utilized for cattle grazing is seen in the left of the frame, and a view of untouched land is seen in the right of the frame during a tour of Peabody Energy's North Antelope Rochelle coal mine near Gillette, Wyoming, U.S. June 1, 2016. Reclaimed land is land that is brought back to it's pre-mining use.  REUTERS/Kristina Barker

New Ground Rules: Judge Strikes Down Wyoming Data Trespass Laws

  October 30, 2018: The Laws Violate Free Speech Protections  A federal judge struck down two of Wyoming’s “ag-gag” laws that barred the collection of environmental research data on public and private land. The judge ruled that the recently passed “data trespass” statutes are unconstitutional and violate free speech protections, siding with two environmental groups and a photography association. The[Read More…]

November 5, 2018 Below the Fold, Speech