First Amendment lawyer Lyrissa Lidsky weighs in on a recently upheld social media censorship law in Texas that would bar platforms with more than 50 million users from removing content with political viewpoints. A different circuit court in Florida filed a preliminary injunction against a similar law. Since both federal appeals courts disagreed, only the Supreme Court can decide if the platforms have a First Amendment right to censor, or if they don’t.
First Amendment Watch asked Mchangama, a free speech historian and scholar, his perspective on the evolution of blasphemy laws and the context surrounding the vicious attack against Salman Rushdie, a Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
Florida has placed itself at odds with the well-settled First Amendment rule prohibiting government officials from “subjecting an individual to retaliatory actions . . . for speaking out.” Hartman v. Moore, 547 U.S. 250 (2006).
A pending case before the United States Supreme Court about flags and flagpoles could determine two crucial questions for First Amendment law: (1) who is speaking—the government or an individual; and (2) when does the government create an open forum for freedom of expression.
Congressman Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) defamation lawsuit over an Esquire article about his family’s dairy farm was reinstated in part on September 15th by a three-judge panel of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel reasoned that Nunes’ complaint stated a plausible defamation by implication claim that should survive a motion to dismiss.
The Supreme Court's ruling in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. was a big victory for cheerleader Brandi Levy. Still, George Washington Law Professor and student speech expert Catherine J. Ross warns that the decision left unanswered many questions regarding school's authority to regulate off-campus speech.
"The Pentagon Papers case affirms fundamental values and principles. Truth matters— facts matter. The role of the press in the American governing scheme is to serve the 'governed' and not the 'governors.' The protection of a 'cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press' is essential to a vibrant and strong American democracy. That is the profound and enduring meaning of the case," Cardozo Law Professor David Rudenstine writes.
On June 17th, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee’s speech who criticized a school superintendent was made pursuant to his official job-duties and, thus, fell within the large ambit of Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006). The decision shows the vast reach of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Garcetti that created a categorical exception for job-duty speech that limited public employee First Amendment retaliation claims.