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Display of Confederate flags faces First Amendment test

Writing in The Hill, June 30, 2015, Alberto R. Gonzales reminds us that the First Amendment protects free speech rights to prevent government censorship. In the wake of the horrendous church shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, many want the Confederate flag removed from public property as a symbol of hate and racism. It is another […]

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Justice Department report on Ferguson unrest the latest to pinpoint police violations of free speech and press

A Justice Department report last week concluded that police in Ferguson, Missouri acted on orders to make protesters move on, violating their rights to assembly and free speech. Withholding information about the police shooting of Michael Brown also aggravated the unrest and increased animosity toward the authorities. (The Christian Science Monitor, June 320, 2015, by […]

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New Jersey town loses lawsuit intended to muzzle open records request

A citizen in Hamilton Township in New Jersey was sued by the town for requesting surveillance footage of town buildings under the Open Public Records Act. A judge stepped up to end this bizarre lawsuit that had tried to get the judge to rule that the citizen would be barred from making any future open […]

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University of California faculty speech guidelines come under fire

A new University of California faculty training guide detailing phrases that might cause students to feel discriminated against has drawn widespread criticism. The guide is meant to promote an atmosphere of “inclusive excellence” on campus. Included in a list of taboo statements are “American is the land of opportunity;” “affirmative action is racist;” “everyone can […]

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California Brown Act roundup: District attorney finds violation by Burbank school board

The Los Angeles County district attorney will not take any legal action but admonished the Burbank school board for violating the Brown Act for failing to report naming a finalist in its quest for a superintendent. Since the selection of the finalist has long since become public, the DA said it would not serve any […]

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Anonymous commentators feeling heat after threats to federal judge

Reason Magazine obtained a ruling vacating a federal district court gag order barring it from discussing a subpoena it received for records of six individuals who made intemperate comments on Reason’s website about the federal judge who presided over the trial of the founder of the drug website Silk Road. (Reason, June 19, 2015, by […]

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CIA wins court ruling allowing secrecy on targeted-drone killing program

The Central Intelligence Agency won a reprieve on releasing information about its drone campaign against suspected terrorists when a federal district judge ruled that the agency could withhold almost all information about drone operations and their legal basis. The judge also specifically ruled for the Obama administration’s claim of executive privilege in retaining records of […]

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Appeal made to California Supreme Court for public access to license plate scans

Two California nonprofits are appealing a court decision allowing two law enforcement agencies to withhold data from license plate readers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California have sued the Los Angeles police and sheriff’s department for the data to find out more about how law enforcement agencies are […]

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arizona town’s ban of church signs

A Christian church in Gilbert, Arizona is free to display signs announcing the times of its services, the Supreme Court ruled in finding that the town restrictions on the signs were content based and unconstitutional. (Courthouse News Service, June 18, 2015, by Barbara Leonard) The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals had ruled that the […]

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Free speech defeat: U.S. Supreme Court finds against Texas Confederate flag license plate

In a departure from its steadfast defense of free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) were not entitled under the First Amendment to a Texas license plate that featured a Confederate battle flag. Judge Stephen Breyer argued that the license plate content was government rather than private […]

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