People’s First Amendment roundup: Religious right attempts speaker shutdown

Law professor Steven K. Green in Church & State Magazine, May 2019, describes how the Minnesota Prayer Caucus tried to pressure the Minnesota Historical Society into cancelling his lecture on the myth that the United States was founded on the Christian religion. Green gave the speech, but says that the society made a disturbing concession, “To the disappointment of many regular attendees, the society self-censored by deciding not to distribute an accompanying brochure containing quotations and images it usually prepares for the lecture series.” The prayer caucus also pressured the state legislature to cancel its funding of the society that accounts for two-thirds of its annual budget.

A 12-year-old journalist from small town Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, is ruffling adult feathers as she works her beat and beyond, even making national headlines as she clashed earlier this year with a Patagonia, Arizona state marshal while reporting on immigration at the border with Mexico. (Forbes, May 3, 2019, by Jessica Bohrer)

A former Stark County, Illinois board member is defending his First Amendment rights by suing the sheriff in federal court for harassing him as he attempted to discuss the sheriff’s budget. Fulvio Zerla says the sheriff prompted supporters to intimidate him and to disrupt meetings. (25NEWS, May 2, 2019, by Tim Shelley)

An Atlanta federal judge is allowing a high school freshman and his father to pursue his First Amendment lawsuit against his high school after he was suspended for putting a sticker on his cellphone that advocated firing his principal. (Daily Report, April 30,2019, by R. Robin McDonald)

A former attorney for Lane County, Oregon won a $228,000 judgment in a federal trial for his dismissal for contesting a county administrator’s investigations of other county employees. Marc Kardell said the administrator conducted the investigations for personal reasons. The county may also have to pay legal costs. (, April 25, 2019, by Michael Sevren)

Anti-abortion advocates are contesting a noise ordinance that they claim will restrict their free speech rights. The Charlotte City Council is considering an ordinance that create a 200-foot buffer around schools, medical facilities, and churches that would prohibit amplified sound or “unreasonably loud noise.” To launch their protests, the advocates have set up camp in a vacant lot next to an abortion clinic. (The Charlotte Observer, April 18, 2019, by Danielle Chemtob)

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