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Lawyers Argue In Appeal That Text Messages Sent In Suicide Case Were Protected Speech

Lawyers Argue In Appeal That Text Messages Sent In Suicide Case Were Protected Speech

July 9, 2018: She May Be The First U.S. Person To Be Convicted Of Involuntary Manslaughter By Words Only Lawyers for Michelle Carter have filed an appeal in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to overturn the ruling in her involuntary manslaughter conviction, saying the text messages she sent encouraging her boyfriend’s suicide back in 2014 were protected speech. Her attorneys[Read More…]

July 11, 2018 Speech, Top Stories
U.S. President Donald Trump introduces his Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

In Light of Nomination, First Amendment Experts Weigh In On Kavanaugh’s Record

July 11, 2018: First Amendment Experts Have Mixed Feelings On Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s First Amendment Record Damon Root refers to the current Supreme Court nominee’s record on free and commercial speech as “discouraging” in his analysis in Reason.  “Free Speech advocates are likely to be disappointed by the answer when they examine Kavanaugh’s vote in an important 2014[Read More…]

July 11, 2018 Speech, Top Stories
Louis Michael Seidman

First Amendment Watch Roundtable: Louis Michael Seidman on “Can Free Speech Be Progressive?”

In his provocative essay forthcoming in Columbia Law Review, Georgetown Law Professor Michael Seidman writes, “Free speech cannot be progressive. At least it can’t be progressive if we are talking about free speech in the American context, with all the historical, sociological, and philosophical baggage that comes with the modern, American free speech right. … But the notion that our free speech tradition might be weaponized to advance progressive ends is fanciful.”

Freedom of speech pushed progressive causes forward in the second half of the 20th century—it protected civil rights demonstrators, shielded artists from suppression, and safeguarded antiwar protestors. But is it less aligned with progressive goals now? After all, the First Amendment was used to invalidate some campaign financing regulations in Citizens United v. FEC, for example, and protects hate speech.

We are devoting a First Amendment Roundtable to discuss Seidman’s question. Today, we present his essay and will follow in the coming days with challenging commentaries by leading scholars. We invite readers to join the discussion: send us your thoughts at fawroundtable@gmail.com.

July 10, 2018 Seidman Roundtable, Speech, Top Stories
Wisconsin High Court Sides With Professor In Academic Freedom Case

Wisconsin High Court Sides With Professor In Academic Freedom Case

July 6, 2018: Court Rules That Marquette University Breached Contract When Firing Professor Over Blog Post In a much awaited decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Marquette University breached its contract with a former professor after he lost his job over a critical blog post in which he wrote about how an instructor and graduate student handled a classroom[Read More…]

Ballard Spahr: A Five-Star Decision: Yelp’s Recent Victory Reaffirms Broad Protections of Section 230

Ballard Spahr: A Five-Star Decision: Yelp’s Recent Victory Reaffirms Broad Protections of Section 230

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr In a closely watched decision with significant ramifications for online speech, earlier this week, the California Supreme Court struck down an injunction requiring Yelp, a popular online consumer review platform, to remove two allegedly defamatory reviews from its website. The decision is important because it rejected a potential procedural end-run around Section 230 of[Read More…]

July 6, 2018 Libel, Speech, Top Stories
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks before swearing in Judge Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S. on April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Institute For Free Speech Releases Free Speech Records For Trump’s Potential SCOTUS Nominees

Free Speech Records For Justice Shortlist Released  President Trump will have a second opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court judge to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Institute for Free Speech compiled the free speech records of some of President Trump’s list of potential nominees. The list can be found here.

July 6, 2018 Speech, Top Stories
Is The ACLU Retreating On Free Speech? The Controversy and Debate

Is The ACLU Retreating On Free Speech? The Controversy and Debate

July 5, 2018: A Leaked Memo Sparked An Ongoing Debate About The ACLU’s Stance On Free Speech  The ACLU, a non-partisan civil rights organization, has recently been criticized by a former board member over the adoption of new case selection guidelines which came to light through a leaked memo marked “CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT.” The new guidelines say that speech that denigrates[Read More…]

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Second Lawsuit Filed By Former Ad Exec Over Allegations Made By Anonymous Instagram Diet Madison Avenue

July 1, 2018: Ex-Ad Exec Suing Instagram Account, Former Employer For Defamatory Statements And Wrongful Termination A former advertising executive sued the anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue for defamation last month and is now suing his former agency Crispin Proter & Bogursky and its holding company MDC Partners. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the District[Read More…]

July 3, 2018 Secrecy, Speech, Top Stories
Freedom Forum Institute’s 2018 State Of The First Amendment Survey Shows Fake News Is Taking Over the Conversation

Freedom Forum Institute’s 2018 State Of The First Amendment Survey Shows Fake News Is Taking Over the Conversation

2018 STATE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT SURVEY REVEALS AMERICANS CONSIDER FAKE NEWS MORE OBJECTIONABLE THAN HATE SPEECH Republished with Permission from Newseum’s First Amendment Center Every year the First Amendment Center of the Freedom Forum Institute conducts the State of the First Amendment survey, which examines Americans’ views on freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition, and samples their[Read More…]

Gene Policinski, Chief Operating Officer, Newseum Institute and First Amendment Center of Newseum Institute

Gene Policinski: Five dead, more hurt at Annapolis newspaper – a sad, sad story

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on June 29, 2018, on the Newseum blog, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.           Sad. So terribly sad. Five people – several after a life’s work reporting on the daily lives of others – are today the subjects of news[Read More…]

June 29, 2018 Press, Threats, Top Stories