“Chilling” Campaign Finance Law Upheld

money photo high resBy Joseph M. (Max) Swindle; Staff Member (Vol. 14), Notes Editor (Vol. 15)

Political silence, the inability to have one’s voice heard, is an issue that marginalizes many citizens and residents. In an effort to remedy this pervasive issue, some citizens choose to give money to public policy think tanks that help foster discussion about important public policy topics. Continue reading

Firearm “Gag Order” Bound to Miss its Mark

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By Jonathan C. Jakubowski, Staff Member (Vol. 14)

“The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.” 

– Daniel Webster

In June 2015, the Department of State proposed several changes to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which regulate the manner in which items on the United States Munitions List (USML) may be exported. 80 Fed. Reg. 106 (proposed Jun. 3, 2015). In addition to the physical armaments themselves, the ITAR regulates the export of USML items’ technical specifications. The key component of the ITAR, and the reason it concerns First Amendment scholars, is that it requires authorization from the State Department prior to the export of any items falling within its purview. The prior authorization requirement, combined with a creative definition of “export,” creates a real danger of speech suppression through prior restraint. Continue reading

Senate Bill 2 and the Establishment Clause

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By Hillary Li, Staff Member (Vol. 14)

“This is a sad day for North Carolina that history will not judge kindly,” Sarah Preston, the acting executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina said in a statement released on June 11, 2015 . That was the day the North Carolina House of Representatives (the “House”) voted to override Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2 (“S.B. 2”), officially making the bill law. The new law permits certain government officials to recuse themselves from performing marriage ceremonies based on their religious beliefs. Continue reading

Cecil the Lion’s Roar: Libel in an Internet Age

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By Elizabeth (Beth) A. Kapapoulos; Staff Member (Vol. 14), Chief Staff Editor (Vol. 15)

With the advent of the Internet, an entirely new realm of libel law has emerged in the courts, forcing judges to examine entirely new questions of Internet vigilantism and how to deal with crimes in a digital world.  Defamation, 20 N.C. Index 4th Libel and Slander § 1, includes the two separate torts of libel and slander. This blog will focus specifically on the libel associated with Walter Palmer and Cecil the Lion. Continue reading

Coping With Unprecedented Connectivity: Citizens and Police

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By Alexander (Alex) M. French, Staff Member (Vol. 14)

On April 4, 2015, a North Charleston Police Officer shot and killed Walter Scott. Michael Shlager, the responding officer, reported that he pulled Scott over for a broken tail light. Scott fled on foot and Shlager pursued. Shlager claimed that Scott grabbed Shlager’s Taser and that Shlager shot Scott in self-defense. Continue reading

Protecting Domestic Violence Victims or Derpriving the World of the Next Eminem?: A Brief Examination of Elonis v. United States

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By Jenica D. Hughes; Staff Member (Vol. 14), Executive Editor (Vol. 15)

Picture this, you marry someone you love and start creating a life together. Eventually, you have two children together, whom you adore, but eventually, your marital relationship begins to suffer and the two of you are arguing more often and decide to divorce. Continue reading

Abortion Ambiguities Remain Post-FACE Act

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By Elizabeth C. Nye, Staff Member (Vol. 14)

When people think about the abortion debate, they think Roe v. Wade. However, the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe was only the beginning of legislation and controversy surrounding abortion rights. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, has sparked years of debate and discussion surrounding the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and protest at—or near—abortion clinics. Continue reading