On February 25th, 2019, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in Manhattan Community Access Corporation v. Halleck, a case that has garnered press attention for its First Amendment subject matter. The Court is being asked to consider, “when (if ever) the actions of a private nonprofit corporation operating a public access television channel…
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge James Gritzner overturned an Iowa law that made it illegal to obtain employment at a livestock farm to investigate animal cruelty through an undercover approach. The federal judge found the law to be a violation of the constitutional right to free speech.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Holds That Politicians Who Block Citizens on Official Social Media are in Violation of the First Amendment
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.
US Supreme Court to Decide Whether Private Entity Operating Public Access Channel Can Violate Individuals’ First Amendment Rights
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.
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.…
A federal district court judge has ruled the President cannot block users from his Twitter account based on their political views. The account is a public forum and as such the President's first amendment rights do not out weigh those of his Twitter followers. Read the full opinion and view the case filings at Justia.
Last week 16 Pulse shooting survivors filed a federal lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, and Google claiming they helped spread terrorist propaganda with resulted in the deadly Orlando shooting. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the major tech companies helped terrorists by "aiding, abetting, and knowingly providing support and resources to ISIS.” Without major social media website such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, plaintiffs argue ISIS would not have become a powerful terrorist organization, and the Pulse attack would not have occurred.
Last August, an alt-right rally called "Unite the Right" took place in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the death of a woman after a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotestors. In Sines v. Kessler, Charlottesville residents filed a lawsuit against the co-planners of the rally claiming they conspired to deprive the plaintiffs of their civil rights by encouraging such violence.
In July of last year, the Knight First Amendment Institute of Columbia University filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, among others, claiming that the President's Twitter account constitutes a public forum subject to the First Amendment. The lawsuit alleges that by blocking certain users who are critical of him, President Trump is effectively denying those users access to a public forum in violation of the First Amendment.