News & Opinion

Free expression: A Cal state university administration bristles over ‘risque’ fundraiser on student radio station

A San Luis Obispo California state university is considering its options including selling the license of their student-run FM radio station after a fundraiser offering photos of student DJs’ genitals in return for donations. School administrators have asked the station’s faculty adviser to develop a plan to prevent future incidents and to improve the educational […]

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Ninth Circuit finds First Amendment right to information on Arizona executions using lethal injection

A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona erred in withholding information about lethal injection drugs from a man slated for execution. The ruling contravened other recent court rulings upholding secrecy on executions using lethal drugs. In a 2-1 decision, the Court found a First Amendment right to know the details […]

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California Brown Act roundup: School district alleged to conduct business outside of public meeting

Two principals fired by Bassett Unified school district are suing for a list of grievances including Brown Act violations. One of the men alleged that the district made a decision to place him on administrative leave outside of a board meeting. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune, July 14, 2014, by Jason Henry) An investigation by the […]

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Free speech: Federal appeals court says Texas can’t stifle Conderate flag license plates

Ruling that messages on specialty plates were “private speech” rather than government statements, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling allowing Texas to censor plates with the Confederate battle flag. (Jurist, July 16, 2014, by Ann Schober) The Fifth Circuit decision found viewpoint discrimination and a violation of First Amendment […]

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Federal appeals court finds for police officer retaliated against after testifying in overtime dispute

A police officer disciplined for testifying in a fellow officer’s case against the Los Angeles Police Department for forcing him to work through lunch without overtime prevailed in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit found that the department had admitted that the officer was disciplined for testifying and upheld damages awarded […]

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‘Dateline’ faces defamation charge in federal court

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision in ruling that there were sufficient grounds for a trail in a defamation case involving a “Dateline” episode that allegedly libeled the owner of a insurance education firm. “Dateline” reporters had secretly filmed a seminar put on by the firm, supposedly libeling the owner […]

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Seizure of sex worker sites perceived as attack on free speech rights

Internet freedom advocates are concerned about the federal government shutdown of online sites for sex workers in the last week of June as part of investigations into prostitution and money laundering. Writing for the Electronic Freedom Foundation, July 1, 2014, Nadia Kayyali protested that the shutdown was a violation of the workers’ rights to free […]

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Batttle for net-neutrality continues as FCC gathers comments

As part of the process of establishing rules for operating the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received 677,000 public comments. The FCC is considering if and how to regulate the flow of web traffic after a federal court struck down their net-neutrality rules in 2010. New FCC rules proposed in April came under fire […]

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Federal appeals court ruling supports commercial free speech

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Washington D.C. code requiring tour guides to pass a multiple-choice test on history and geography was a violation of free speech rights. The Court allowed that licensing rules that addressed fraud would be a more germane to the licensing of tour guides. (The Washington Post, June […]

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Amended 9th Circuit decision in Muslim video takedown case

The judges in the 2-1 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the “Innocence of Muslims” video case amended their opinion. In Garcia v. Google the Court ruled in favor of  the plaintiff, Cindy Lee Garcia, who was upset that the filmmakers had edited her part in the film casting her in a pernicious role […]

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