Below the Fold

Erik Brunetti, Los Angeles artist and streetwear designer of the clothing brand FUCT, stands for a portrait in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Supreme Court Hears Trademark Case Centered On A Seemingly Offensive Word

April 17, 2019 The Supreme Court is weighing whether the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office acted unconstitutionally when it denied granting a trademark to a clothing line called “FUCT.” The case was brought by designer Eric Brunetti who created a clothing line in 1990 that prominently displayed the “FUCT” logo. Brunetti had been trying to obtain approval for a trademark since[Read More…]

April 17, 2019 Below the Fold
Jeanine Pirro, host of television programme "Justice with Judge Jeanine," waves before speaking at the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) Leadership Forum at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the site for the NRA's annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 3, 2013. President Barack Obama and national media are demonizing law-abiding gun owners in the wake of recent violent acts, NRA leaders and political allies said on Friday at its first convention since the Connecticut school massacre. Organizers expect some 70,000 attendees at the 142nd NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Houston, which began on Friday and continues through Sunday. REUTERS/Adrees Latif (UNITED STATES - Tags: LAW ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

Judge Tosses Defamation Lawsuit Against Jeanine Pirro, Fox News

   March 26, 2019: Pirro Was “Expressing A Pure Opinion,” Judge Said A New York State Supreme Court judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and one of its hosts, Judge Jeanine Pirro, brought by civil rights activist DeRay McKesson who claimed that Pirro implied that he incited violence against a police officer.   McKesson sued Pirro saying she[Read More…]

March 26, 2019 Below the Fold, Libel
U.S. President Donald Trump shows an executive order linking "free speech" efforts at public universities to federal grants during a signing ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

As Promised, Trump Signs Contentious Executive Order on Campus Free Speech

President Trump vowed to sign an executive order requiring American colleges and universities to protect free speech on campus, and would withhold federal research funds from schools that don’t comply.

“Today, I am proud to announce that I will be very soon be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research funds,” Trump said in his remarks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.

March 21, 2019 Below the Fold, Campus Speech
Catherine J. Ross: Trump’s Latest Threat To Free Speech And The Academy

Catherine J. Ross: Trump’s Latest Threat To Free Speech And The Academy

Catherine J. Ross, professor of law at George Washington University Law School, explains the possible issues that could arise if President Trump signs an executive order requiring colleges to support free speech on their campuses in order to receive federal research funds.

“Ultimately, the central constitutional risk inherent in Trump’s proposed executive order is all too familiar: it will chill protected speech. What’s more, it will likely violate central tenets of the Speech Clause when enforced,” she writes.

March 21, 2019 Below the Fold, Essays, Speech
Cop at traffic stop

Sixth Circuit: A Raised Middle Finger Is Free Speech

March 13, 2019: The Officer “Should Have Known Better,” The Court Said Giving the middle finger is protected speech under the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled. In a 3-0 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sided with a Michigan woman who sued a police officer for violating her constitutional rights after he pulled[Read More…]

March 21, 2019 Below the Fold, Speech
New York Fair Trial Free Press Conference

New York Fair Trial Free Press Conference

Every year, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) convenes a panel of journalists, judges, and lawyers to discuss a hypothetical case involving free speech, the freedom of the press, and citizens’ right to a fair trial. In October, 2018 the program explored a hypothetical case in which an incumbent Governor who’s running for reelection, is going through a contentious[Read More…]

With the U.S. Supreme Court building in the background, Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives prior to meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Handman and Zycherman: “Fear Not: New York Times v. Sullivan Heartily Embraced by the Court’s Newest Jurist, Justice Kavanaugh”

The post is another essay in response to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence from a denial of certiorari in the case of  McKee v. Cosby (2019). The previous post was by Lee Levine & Stephen Wermiel: Dubious Doubts and ‘the Central Meaning of the First Amendment’—A Preliminary Reply to Justice Thomas (March 1, 2019). By Laura Handman & Lisa Zycherman Justice Clarence Thomas recently[Read More…]

March 12, 2019 Below the Fold, Essays, Libel
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas participates in taking a new family photo with his fellow justices at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Levine and Wermiel: “Dubious Doubts and ‘the Central Meaning of the First Amendment’—A Preliminary Reply to Justice Thomas”

March 1, 2019 By Lee Levine and Stephen Wermiel   There are any number of obvious responses to Justice Clarence Thomas’s misguided assertion in McKee v. Cosby (2019) that New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) ought to be overruled. They include the overwhelming academic consensus applauding the decision both at the time and thereafter; the proper role of original intent[Read More…]

March 1, 2019 Below the Fold, Essays, Libel
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Calls On the Court to Reconsider Landmark Libel Case

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Calls On the Court to Reconsider Landmark Libel Case

Calling for the reconsideration of the actual malice standard is a major attack on New York Times v. Sullivan.

March 1, 2019 Below the Fold, Libel
A couple sits under the words of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which declares the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

First Amendment News Releases First Newsletter In Collaboration With FIRE

Welcome Back, First Amendment News!  This week, First Amendment News (FAN), a weekly blog highlighting news and updates about freedom of expression, launched its first newsletter hosted and supported by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The newsletter, previously hosted by Concurring Opinions, will continue to focus on judicial decisions, legal news, scholarship, and events, and will periodically publish essays[Read More…]

February 22, 2019 Below the Fold