A participant dressed in drag gives a book to a child during the "Drag Queen Story Hour" event in downtown Monterrey, Mexico. June 9, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril.

Public Library in Texas Town Cancels Speaking Event with Trans Author

July 9, 2019 A public library in Leander, Texas canceled an event involving Lilah Sturges, a trans woman and graphic novelist, after city officials published new additions to an event policy hours before Sturges was scheduled to speak.  The policy changes required that Sturges submit a background check before speaking, something the novelist said she would have done had she[Read More…]

July 19, 2019 Censorship, Speech, Threats, Top Stories
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Faces Two Federal Lawsuits for Blocking Twitter Users

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Faces Two Federal Lawsuits for Blocking Twitter Users

July 10, 2019 Former New York assemblyman Dov Hikind and Republican congressional candidate Joseph Saladino are suing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for blocking them on Twitter.  The lawsuits were filed soon after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that President Trump’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, was a public forum, and as such, blocking critics was a violation of[Read More…]

Stickers bearing the Facebook logo are pictured at Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

Laura Loomer Sues Facebook for Defamation, Requesting More Than $3 Billion in Punitive Damages 

July 10, 2019 Laura Loomer, an Internet personality known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, is suing Facebook for defamation after the company banned her and other “dangerous individuals” from the platform in May 2019. Loomer was one of six users to be removed from Facebook for violating the company’s policies on hate speech. Other big names banned from the site include[Read More…]

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One to return to Washington from Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, U.S. July 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Lower Court Ruling That Trump Can’t Block Critics on Twitter

A federal appeals court ruled that President Trump’s Twitter account is a public forum, and his practice of blocking critics violates the First Amendment. The decision arose from a July 2017 suit filed in U. S District Court for the Southern District of New York by seven Twitter users who had been blocked after they made critical remarks about Trump and/or his policies. The critics, represented by Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, sued Trump and Daniel Scavino, the White House’s Director of Social Media, for violating their First Amendment rights.

July 9, 2019 Below the Fold, Social Media, Speech
Colorado state flag

Colorado State Appeals Court Dismisses Libel Suit Against Environmental Activist

June 27, 2019 A Colorado state appeals court dismissed a libel suit brought by a Texas oil and gas exploration firm against a Colorado environmental activist, saying the lawsuit was intended to suppress the activist’s right to free speech. In 2017, SG Interests sued Peter Kolbenschlag for writing in the comments section of an article published on the Greenwood Springs[Read More…]

July 1, 2019 Below the Fold, Speech
Kyle Kashuv addresses the 148th National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Parkland Shooting Survivor Lost Spot at Harvard Due to Earlier Racist Remarks

Kyle Kashuv, a Parkland School shooting survivor who stood out from his peers due to his gun support stance, was denied admission to Harvard after the university discovered a litany of racist remarks he made when he was 16 years old. In May, a former classmate released video screen shots of a Google Doc Kashuv and other students shared, showing Kashuv using a racial slur for African Americans more than a dozen times. The classmate also released a screen shot of a text message written by Kashuv that shows him using the same racial slur about black student athletes.

June 18, 2019 Below the Fold, Speech, Uncategorized
Controversial “First Amendment Auditors” Test the Right to Film in Public Spaces

Controversial “First Amendment Auditors” Test the Right to Film in Public Spaces

Filmed interactions with police that make headlines or spread on social media is not a new phenomenon. But a growing movement of  self-described “First Amendment Auditors”—individuals who specifically film on public property and police stations to test the rights to film in a public space—has forced some police departments to review how to respond to First Amendment audits. The audits,[Read More…]

June 18, 2019 Below the Fold, News Gathering, Speech
Iowa Man Sues County Sheriff’s Department for Free Speech Violations

Iowa Man Sues County Sheriff’s Department for Free Speech Violations

The ACLU is suing an Iowa county’s sheriff’s department on behalf of a man who says his First Amendment rights were violated when he was charged with criminal harassment after he posted negative comments about a police officer’s conduct. John Goldsmith was attending a street festival in Corning, Iowa, when he witnessed Adams County deputy sheriff Cory Dorsey conduct a traffic stop on a friend of his. Afterwards, Goldsmith took to Facebook, and in a colorful post laced with obscenities, he criticized Dorsey’s handling of the traffic stop. According to the complaint, once Dorsey and his supervisor, Sergeant Paul Hogan, were apprised of Goldsmith’s Facebook post, he was arrested for 3rddegree harassment under Iowa state law.

May 23, 2019 Speech, Top Stories
Is Revenge Porn Protected by the First Amendment?

Is Revenge Porn Protected by the First Amendment?

The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments last week over whether “revenge porn” laws are unconstitutional. Bethany Austin was arrested and charged with a felony after she shared with her family and friends some text messages and nude photos of a neighbor who was having an affair with her boyfriend, Matthew Rychlik. In March, Austin filed a motion challenging the constitutionality of the state’s revenge porn law, saying that her “speech” was protected under the First Amendment.

May 21, 2019 Speech, Top Stories, Uncategorized
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the Governor of Missouri Mike Parson as he arrives in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Missouri Auditor Wants Clarification On Governor’s Use Of First Amendment To Hide Public Information

May 7, 2019: Can The First Amendment Be Used To Redact Information?  Missouri’s State Auditor is asking the attorney general to decide whether Governor Mike Parson broke the law when redacting information from public records requests. Nicole Galloway, the state auditor, cited recent reports in which the governor’s office wielded the First Amendment as a reason for withholding personal contact[Read More…]

May 13, 2019 Speech, Top Stories