Articles Posted in Free Speech

On Monday, January 7, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that Phyllis Randall violated the First Amendment rights of Brian Davison when she blocked Davison for twelve hours in February 2016 from her official Facebook Page as the chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.


On Monday, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled unconstitutional a state law that had the effect of prohibiting all secret recordings of any encounter with a police officer or other government official. According to Chief Judge Patti B. Saris, of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts law is not sufficiently "narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest" to curtail the plaintiffs' free speech rights under the First Amendment.


On Monday, December 3, 2018, the United States Supreme Court vacated the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals's decision in Fleck v. Wetch, No. 16-1564 (8th Cir. 2017) and remanded the case to the 8th Circuit to decide whether mandatory state bar association fees translate to compelled association and compelled speech.


A federal district court judge in the District of Columbia today ruled that the White House must restore the press credentials of Jim Acosta, a CNN journalist. Acosta had reportedly engaged in a heated exchange with the president during a news conference last week over the president's regular disparagement of mainstream news as "fake news." CNN filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, November 13, arguing that the revocation violated Acosta's rights to free speech and due process, and seeking a preliminary injunction to reinstate Acosta's press credentials.


Posted in: Free Speech

The US Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case in which two individuals sued a New York cable-TV public access channel for violating their First Amendment rights by banning them from the channel's services and facilities. In Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, the two petitioners, Halleck and Melendez, argue that the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) unconstitutionally banned them from the public access channel, which they argue is a public forum subject to the First Amendment.


Arguing for the charities' right of free association, a public interest law firm and a charitable group co-founded by the Koch brothers had challenged the disclosure of information, stating that the requirement chills donor contributions.


In 2014, Michael Jackson fan Vera Serova brought a class action lawsuit against Sony Music, the Jackson estate, and several songwriters/producers alleging that they created three fake songs recorded by a Michael Jackson impersonator to include on a 2010 posthumous album, Michael. The case moved forward last week in a court hearing about the songs in question: “Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up.”


A California appeals court has ruled in favor of Twitter in confirming that it is protected from liability by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in deciding what content should be allowed on its platform. Jared Taylor, a publisher of white nationalist content, was permanently kicked off of Twitter in December following the company's announcement that it planned to more closely scrutinize users promoting violence. Taylor subsequently sued Twitter for banning him and his publication from its platform, and while the trial court threw out two of his claims, it allowed his unfair competition claim to go forward.


On Thursday, August 16, 2018, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Texas District Court's dismissal of a lawsuit brought by three University of Texas at Austin professors. Professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore, and Mia Carter challenged a Texas law permitting the concealed carry of handguns on the University of Texas campus, along with a University of Texas policy forbidding professors from banning concealed weapons in classrooms.


Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who won a decision before the U.S. Supreme Court in June, is suing again following his refusal to bake a cake to celebrate a gender transition. His refusal resulted in a probable cause finding by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that he had violated Colorado’s public accommodations law.…