First Amendment Newsflash 8/7-8/20

Welcome to First Amendment Newsflash, the First Amendment Law Review’s new bi-weekly roundup of the latest in free expression and religious freedom news and commentary. Check here every other Sunday for a new edition! Need First Amendment news in the meantime? Follow FALR on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.

 

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Court News

The ACLU filed suit on behalf of itself, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, PETA, and Carefem, alleging that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s (WMATA) advertising guideline amendments are a violation of the First Amendment on its face and as applied to the plaintiffs, after the plaintiffs’ advertisements were rejected.

A webhosting company is refusing to comply with a Department of Justice search warrant attempting to force the company to provide information about visitors to a website used to help organize protests during President Trump’s inauguration.

A federal judge ordered the writer of the New York Times editorial on Sarah Palin to testify in a hearing concerning the dismissal of Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit.

The Sixth Circuit will resolve the issue of whether Trump’s statements during a Louisville campaign rally will be protected by First Amendment speech rights or whether the statements constitute incitement after three victims of attacks at the Louisville rally sued Trump and the assailants for damages.

A coalition of nearly two dozen states filed a brief supporting the city leaders in Bloomfield, New Mexico asking the Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a lower court ruling requiring the city to remove a Ten Commandment display from outside City Hall.

The Eighth Circuit upheld a Nebraska law requiring picketers to remain at least 500 feet from funerals, after a protester sued arguing that the law was selectively enforced.

The ACLU filed suit against Maine governor for blocking critics on Facebook and deleting comments.

 

Other News and Commentary

White supremacists and Neo-Nazis clashed with counter protesters at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville Virginia, leading to the death of a counter protester and two police officers. While both sides blamed the other for the violence, the rally attendees and counter protesters also cited the lack of police intervention as the cause for the escalation of violence and loss of First Amendment protections.

After the deadly violence in Charlottesville, the ACLU is also under scrutiny for representing the white supremacists in the city’s attempt to revoke the permit to gather in a downtown Charlottesville park to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. However, the ACLU stands behind the decision to represent the group in the broader effort to protect the First Amendment.

Michigan State, along with the University of  Florida, Louisiana State University, and Texas A&M, has denied white nationalist Richard Spencer’s request to speak at the university. The universities’ statements announcing the denial state that the universities support freedom of expression, but cite safety concerns and the university’s obligation to the safety and security of its students and the community.

 

That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash August 7-20, 2017. See you again on September 3! In the meantime, don’t forget to secure your ticket to our annual symposium: Distorting the Truth: “Fake News” and Free Speech! 4.5 N.C. CLE credits available!

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