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NPR and Reporters Committee press for unredacted briefs in Alabama execution

National Public Radio and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is asking the Supreme Court to release unredacted briefs in a case in which the court refused a stay in an execution of a murderer convicted in Alabama. The information the court withheld concerned the drugs and methods Alabama uses in its executions. …

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Free speech: Trump administration wants to kill Scabby the Rat and that’s not all

Media Law Professor Frank D. LoMonte, CNN, June 12, 2019, writes that the Trump administration has clamped down on workers’ rights and seems ready to weaken a section of the 85-year-old National Labor Relations Act that protected the free speech rights of private-sector workers to discuss their working conditions with each other, friends and the …

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Supreme Court to rule on FOIA and confidentiality of food stamp program

A New York Daily News editorial, June 5, 2019, alerted readers to an upcoming ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court on the right of corporations with government contracts to decide which information to disclose to the public. The case involved the South Dakota Sioux Falls Argus Leader seeking information about federal food stamps spent at …

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Court rules no free speech violation in florist anti-gay discrimination case

The Washington state Supreme Court ruled that under state anti-discrimination law florists must provide flower arranging services for same-sex weddings concluding that  flower arranging was not expressive enough to qualify for First Amendment protection. Last year the Supreme Court sent the case back to Washington for review in light of their Masterpiece Cakeshop decision that …

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YouTube strives to free platform of hate and unfounded content

YouTube plans to to eliminate thousands of videos and channels dedicated to neo-Nazi and white supremacist content. The ban would include kooky videos denying that events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School took place. YouTube said it wanted to prevent its platform from being used to promote “hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence.” YouTube is under …

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Free speech on trial: Law professor objects to recent Supreme Court decision on police-citizen clash

Law professor Garrett Epps, The Atlantic, June 3, 2019, criticized the recent Supreme Court decision Nieves v. Bartlett, for weakening the free speech rights of ordinary citizens when confronting police officers. Citing the frequency of such encounters and police abuse of citizen rights, Epps says the decision makes it more likely that police can get …

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White nationalists get First Amendment protection for organizing activities

A federal district judge dismissed charges on First Amendment grounds against white nationalists charged with inciting riots across California. The judge found the Anti-Riot Act “unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.” The judge found no relevance of the white nationalists’ statements to violence in Berkeley in April of 2017. Members of the white …

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Federal appeals court opens access to ethics violations of government officials

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a Montana government employee privacy law failed to distinguish between personal information and acts that may be illegal or unethical. The dispute involved an ethics complaint filed by legislator Brad Tschida concerning a alleged misuse of a state-owned airplane in 2014 by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock …

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Justice Department defies court order to release transcript of Flynn discussions

Justice Department prosecutors are refusing to honor a judge’s order to release secret transcripts of conversations between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak after the Obama administration had slapped sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Federal district judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the release in …

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Reporters Committee analyzes Assange espionage charges

In response to the federal grand jury indictment of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, the RCFP answers eight frequently asked questions on the charges including “Does it mater if Julian Assange is a journalist?” and “Does the First Amendment apply to the publication of government secrets?” The RCFP then offers an extended …

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