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Drone killings still operate in secret with support from federal appeals court

The American Civil Liberties Union failed to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to order the release of information about the federal government’s targeted killings using drones. The ACLU wanted details of the attacks including the dates, locations and the number of people killed as well as the legal justifications […]

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Baseball commentator learns limits of First Amendment protection

The renown baseball pitcher Curt Schilling, turned ESPN commentator, found out the hard way that his free speech rights protect him from retaliation from the government but not his employer. ESPN fired him after he announced on air his support for North Carolina’s transgender law that bars individuals from using public restrooms that don’t jibe […]

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A&A: Facebook blocked my account

Q: My Facebook account has been involuntarily blocked from posting – is this a violation of my First Amendment rights? A: The text of the First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . .”  The First Amendment thus generally applies only to government […]

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Free press: Prosecutors yearn for access to Panama Papers

The journalists processing the Panama Papers, a trove of tax documents documenting illegal acts of the world’s rich and powerful,  are refusing to share their unpublished information with the U.S. Department of Justice. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said they were shielded by the First Amendment from becoming “an arm of law enforcement.” […]

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Koch brothers win First Amendment victory over disclosure of donors to non-profit

California Attorney General Kamala Harris lost a federal district court ruling denying her bid for the identities of donors to a Koch brothers’ non-profit, Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The judge wrote,  the bid “chills the exercise of [the group]’s 1st Amendment freedoms to speak anonymously and to engage in expressive association.”  (Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2016, […]

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New Jersey police officer wins free speech ruling in Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that a police officer could sue Paterson, New Jersey for an alleged violation of his First Amendment rights after he was demoted after he was wrongly believed to be involved in a political campaign. The officer had picked up a campaign sign for his mother and was not a […]

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First Amendment red flags hoisted over government attack on climate skeptics

With the announcement of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in March that she asked the FBI to consider whether the fossil fuel industry has lied to the public about climate change, there has been significant blowback by those who claim the investigation attempts to shut down debate in violation of the First Amendment. (CNSNews, March […]

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Jefferson Muzzles document disastrous 2015 for First Amendment on U.S. campuses

The Jefferson Center announced the recipients of the 2016 Jefferson Muzzle awards with five categories: Censorship of Students, Censorship by Students, Limiting Press Access on Campus, Threats to Academic Freedom, and Silencing of Outside Speakers. Students and administrations striking blows against free speech included those of the University of Oklahoma, the University of California, Yale, […]

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Boon to war reporting in Google’s YouTube analysis app

Google is releasing Montage to the public April 21, a free web app that facilitates collaboration in analyzing video from war zones. Montage will enable reporters “…to sort, map, and tag video evidence from conflict zones” to make significant revelations. “…recently, it [the Carter Center] used the tool to track outbreaks of violence during a […]

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Suit aims to reveal whether Justice Department forced companies to help in spying

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing the federal Department of Justice to find out if the government forced companies to help the federal government decrypt client messages or provide other surveillance. (TechCrunch, April 20, 2016, by Kate Conger) The EFF is trying to determine if the Justice Department has obtained orders from the Foreign […]

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