What’s That Sign Say? : A Brief Examination of the Four Opinions in Reed v. Town of Gilbert

RoadsignsBy Emily Jessup; Staff Member (Vol. 15)

Imagine you’re driving around town, when something catches your eye. You slow down, and look. There, right in front of you, spray painted in giant letters on the side of a house is this: “SCREWED BY THE TOWN OF CARY.” Huh? Why hasn’t the Town done anything about this? Well, they tried to do something and consequently, the Town of Cary found themselves in Court battling over whether their sign ordinance, which prohibited signs of that size, violated the First Amendment. Although the Town’s ordinance was eventually upheld as a reasonable restriction on speech, and thus not contrary to the First Amendment, the case went all the way to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for a final decision. Continue reading

The Teacher Followed Me Home: Bell and a School’s Control of Student Speech Outside the Classroom

Student

By Kirstin Vinal; Staff Member (Vol. 15)

Where does a student’s speech stop being under control of their school? Could it be when they are 500 feet away from school property? Or when they are home? In 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Bell v. Itawamba County School Board that speech outside of school grounds and in a student’s home is still subject to school regulation. Continue reading

“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

gun photo high res

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

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

lion photo high res

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