First Amendment lawyer Lyrissa Lidsky weighs in on a recently upheld social media censorship law in Texas that would bar platforms with more than 50 million users from removing content with political viewpoints. A different circuit court in Florida filed a preliminary injunction against a similar law. Since both federal appeals courts disagreed, only the Supreme Court can decide if the platforms have a First Amendment right to censor, or if they don’t.
Chief Judge Mark Walker concluded that this law restricted speech and suppressed expression of Florida employers, employees and diversity consultants. He described the provision as “a naked viewpoint-based regulation on speech” that violated the First Amendment.
The Florida Supreme Court will decide an issue that has broad consequences for holding law enforcement officers accountable.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune is seeking to overturn an emergency injunction granted by a judge Friday night to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the 12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office barring the news organization from publishing the names of two of the deputies involved in a fatal shooting.
A federal appeals court ruled that a Florida law that requires individuals to be licensed in order to dispense dietary advice doesn’t violate the First Amendment. Heather Kokesch Del Castillo, who calls herself a “holistic health coach,” sued the state, claiming that Florida’s Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act violates her free speech rights to give advice to her clients.
Florida Rep. Alex Rizo (R-Hialeah) introduced a bill to the Florida legislature that would make it a second-degree misdemeanor for someone to “disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere" with law enforcement officers while they are performing official duties. While the bill does not explicitly mention the act of cellphone recording, its langauge would give police wide discretion to arrest individuals who they perceive are impeding their activities.
On June 30th, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida Tallahassee Division granted a request for a preliminary injunction barring Florida from enforcing a new law that substantially limits social media companies' ability to moderate their platforms.
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.