Is a house – even a carefully planned 20,000 square foot mansion – a form of expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment or is it primarily a place to eat, sleep, and live without expressive elements? That was the question that led to a spirited debate among a sharply divided three-judge panel of the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Burns v. Town of Palm Beach.
Confederate heritage supporters who sued the city of Lakeland, Florida for removing a Confederate monument, lost their free-speech challenge because a federal appeals court ruled that the monuments are a form of government speech, and as such, are immune from First Amendment review.
On November 30th, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Van Buren vs. United States, a case that could have huge implications for data journalists and cybersecurity researchers. At the heart of the case is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal law that press advocates say is too broadly written and can be used to punish journalists for using common newsgathering techniques.