The People’s First Amendment: Tattoo shops not afforded free speech protection

A federal judge ruled that public safety outweighed a tattoo show owners’ free speech rights in upholding California’s closure of tattoo shops. (New York Post, December 26, 2020, by Kathianne Boniello)

An Iowa preacher took his free speech case to the Eight Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals after a lower court refused a petition for an injunction on police action removing him from a street festival. Davenport city lawyers contended the preacher was removed for disruption rather than for the content of his speech. (Courthouse News Service, December 15, 2020, by Rox Laird)

Two Bakersfield College professors are facing disciplinary action for allegedly defaming two fellow professors for misusing public funds. (Bakersfield.com, December 13, 2020, by Jose Gaspar)

A Texas veterinarian prevailed in a First Amendment case in federal appeals court as the court reversed a lower court ruling that occupational speech was not protected by the First Amendment. A Texas law had prevented vets from providing online advice to pet owners. The ruling was significant since during the pandemic many doctors, vets and psychologists offer online advice and should not be punished under state licensing laws. (Vet Candy, December 3, 2020)

A Texas town council member is suing the city for trying to force her out of office after she was elected with a campaign that called for firing the city manager for his failure to address citizens’ concerns including streets in need of repair. Seven-two-year-old Sylvia Gonzalez contends that the city violated her right to speak out on matters of public interest. (Institute for Justice, December 2020 by William Aronin)

Antoine sued his Florida homeowners group for violating his free speech in ordering him to remove his Black Lives Matter banner. Mickel wants to know why the group allowed pro-Trump and LGBTQ signs but found fault with his banner. (THEGRIO, November 25, 2020, by Stephanie Guerilus)

A federal district judge ruled that California’s ban of “offensive” personal license plates violated the First Amendment. A disabled war veteran sued after the Department of Motor Vehicles turned down his request for a license reading “OGWOOLF,” a military nickname that the DMV claimed denoted a gang affiliation. (Courthouse News Service, November 24, 2020, by Maria Dinzeo)

A federal district court ruled that two Wisconsin high school students were entitled to wear T-shirts with pro-gun messages and images. The school authorities tried to argue that the T-shirts did not convey “particularized messages,” but the judge saw clearly that the message supported the right to own firearms. The case will proceed to determine if the T-shirts caused substantial disruption of school activities given the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Tinker v. Des Moines. (The Free Speech Center, November 23, 220, by David L. Hudson Jr.)

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