Deep Dives

Free Speech on College and University Campuses

U.S. campuses have been hotbeds of political and social debate since the colonial era. By the 1960s, rising civil unrest inspired the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley. Today campus protests are once again in the national spotlight, though not always for the best reasons.

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The Alarming Rise in Verbal and Physical Threats to the Press

Many presidents have had contentious relationships with the press. However, the animosity towards the press fostered by President Donald Trump is believed by many to be unprecedented. Is the rise in physical and verbal attacks on the press attributable to Trump's labeling of the media as "enemies of the people"?

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Jeff Sessions

Crackdown on Leakers Ramps Up With NYT Journalist Targeted in Leaks Investigation

Journalists often publish information taken from leaked classified documents. Does the First Amendment protect them from prosecution for doing so? Aggressive prosecution of leakers began under President Obama - with the most famous case, Edward Snowden, still in hiding in Russia - and continues under President Trump.

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States Rush to Pass Anti-Protestor Laws

Reacting to the demonstrations that have taken place throughout the U.S. over the last few years, many states have moved to restrict public protests by a variety of means. Some measures that are enacted into law will surely be tested in court as violations of the First Amendment.

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The Post

“The Post,” Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks—What They Teach Us About Freedom of the Press

The movie, The Post, with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks dramatizes a pivotal moment in U.S. history when the Nixon Administration tried to stop The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers. We look at lessons from the film, the importance of the case, and what prior restraint means.

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Is Government Censorship Under the Trump Administration the New Norm?

Transparency and openness are essential to democracy. However, administrations have ample motivation for making some information difficult or impossible for the public to obtain. In the early days of the Trump administration, some federal agencies' websites were taken down or not updated. What happens to the public's ability to monitor their government's actions if information is removed from view?

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The Limits of Transparency and FOIA Under Trump

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. Administrations, while publicly lauding transparency, can direct how executive agencies respond to requests. What are the consequences of limiting access to public records?

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From Liberty Tree to Taking a Knee: America’s Founding Era Sheds Light on the NFL Controversy

Symbolic speech as a form of protest, like taking a knee at a football game while others stand for the National Anthem, enjoys a long history in America. It’s been a powerful form of political expression going back to the protests in the colonies in the 1760s against British oppression. Much of symbolic expression has been controversial and even offensive at times, but it is an effective vehicle for citizens to voice their displeasure.

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