Tag
COVID-19
Trump Coronavirus

Former President Trump Sued for Defamation Over Calling COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus”

On May 20th, Chinese Americans Civil Rights Coalition, a nonprofit organization, filed a defamation lawsuit against former President Trump both in his former official capacity and as a private citizen for his comments about COVID-19. The complaint includes a list of Trump’s allegedly defamatory statements, including tweets and campaign speeches in which Trump referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” “China virus,” “China plague,” and “kung flu.”

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Zoom Hearing

Massachusetts High Court Confronts First and Sixth Amendment Concerns Regarding a Virtual Suppression Hearing

On May 5th, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court — the highest court in Massachusetts — ruled that a virtual suppression hearing conducted via Zoom violated neither the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights nor the public’s First Amendment right to access court proceedings. Nevertheless, the court reversed the trial judge’s ruling that had rejected the defendant’s motion for a continuance.

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FAC

First Amendment Coalition Sues California County for Access to COVID Data

On April 22nd, the First Amendment Coalition (FAC), a nonprofit public interest organization, filed a lawsuit against Ventura County in Southern California. FAC alleges the County violated the California Public Records Act (CPRA) after failing to appropriately respond to two requests for information regarding data on COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths, thus violating the right of access under the First Amendment.

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Incarcerated Journalist Claims Prison Officials Punished Him for Reporting on COVID-19 Outbreak

Private prison officials at a halfway house in California seized an incarcerated journalist’s phone and delayed his release after he texted a colleague about a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on February 2nd.

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Newspapers Put Pressure on Rhode Island Governor To Resume COVID-19 Press Briefings

Since her nomination to then-President-Elect Joe Biden's Cabinet, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has stopped answering journalists' questions about the pandemic and vaccine distribution. According to The Providence Journal, Raimondo’s last weekly COVID-19 briefing was on December 22, 2020.

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Cuomo

Supreme Court Orders New York to Stop Enforcing COVID-19-Related Restrictions On Houses of Worship

On November 26th, the United States Supreme Court ordered a preliminary injunction barring the state of New York from enforcing a restriction on religious gatherings after finding that the regulations “single[d] out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.” 

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Appeals Court Halts Restrictions on Indoor Gatherings in Wisconsin

On November 6th, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ordered a lower court to halt the state’s restrictions on public gatherings because the Wisconsin Department of Health Services had failed to submit the order to the legislature before making it official, thus rendering the order invalid. 

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Teacher Guide: Press Briefings and Journalists’ Rights

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?

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