On May 2nd, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the city of Boston violated the First Amendment when it refused to let a religious nonprofit fly its flag. Boston City Hall has three flagpoles that fly the American flag, the state of Massachusetts’s flag, and a rotating cast of flags from various organizations that apply for permission.
The MacIver Institute sued Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in 2019 after his office allegedly refused to invite reporters from the think tank’s news arm, MacIver News Service, to press briefings. On April 9th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sided with the Governor after finding his office had acted on viewpoint-neutral policies and that MacIver had failed to show evidence that the policy was applied in a discriminatory manner.
Filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division on April 8th, the complaint argues that because the Attorney General uses @KenPaxtonTX for “official purposes,” his account is a public forum and blocking users based on their viewpoint is a violation of the First Amendment.
On April 5th, the Supreme Court of the United States vacated the Second Circuit’s decision in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Donald Trump, a long-running lawsuit challenging former President Donald Trump’s pattern of blocking critics from his personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.
In a ruling filed on March 11th, a New Mexico district judge dismissed a local official’s attempt to toss a lawsuit filed against him for blocking a constituent on his Facebook page.
Not every “political” social media account run by a public official is a public forum, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled on January 27th. The case involves a Missouri state legislator who was sued by her political opponent after she blocked him from her Twitter account.
A day before Joe Biden's inauguration, the Justice Department under Donald Trump made a last-minute effort to undo a major court decision related to public official's social media accounts.
Though politicians and journalists need one another, their interactions are by nature often adversarial. A key part of a reporter’s job is to look beyond the story public officials want to tell and to ask uncomfortable questions. But when officials believe reporters go too far, can they ban them from attending future gatherings? And what First Amendment or other rights protect reporters from such actions?