First Amendment News

Federal appeals court: Public employees make gains in free speech rights

A concurring opinion in a court’s decision for public employee free speech strikes a blow against a 2006 Supreme Court judgment. Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson III found more value in airing of grievances than in maintaining government efficiency. -DB The First Amendment Center April 14, 2009 Commentary By Douglas Lee J. Harvey Wilkinson III’s concurring opinion in Andrew v. Clark is not a clarion call to halt the recent erosion of public employees’ free speech

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Homeland Security sees surge in extremism

The Department of Homeland Security released an assessment that predicted increased activity from extremists and hate groups. Some criticized the report for its bias against conservatives, but the department said their efforts are concentrated on violent activity and not political beliefs and ideologies. -DB Secrecy News Federation of American Scientists April 15, 2009 By Steven Aftergood “The consequences of a prolonged economic downturn–including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit–could create a

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Anti-SLAPP law protects free press in Louisiana

A Louisiana newspaper won a defamation suit that a jet fuel supplier brought against it for reporting that the company provided contaminated fuel to military jets. The supplier failed to show the newspaper was negligent in reporting the story. –DB The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press April 16, 2009 By Samantha Fredrickson A defamation lawsuit brought by a Louisiana jet fuel supplier against a local newspaper was thrown out by a federal appellate

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California anti-SLAPP law applies to San Jose defamation case

A California appeals court ruled that alleged defamation of a Vietnamese-American attorney and newspaper owner was protected speech within the anti-SLAPP law and returned the case to superior court to rule on the likelihood of the defamation suit prevailing. -DB Metropolitan News-Enterprise April 20, 2009 By Kenneth Ofgang A suit accusing a San Jose broadcaster of defaming a local attorney by accusing him of ties to Vietnamese Communists arose from protected activity within the meaning

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Obama administration withholds records of FBI domestic spying

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, has failed in its FOIA suit to obtain records of how the FBI protects the privacy of individuals ending up in its Investigative Data Warehouse. -DB The San Diego Times-Tribune April 19, 2009 By Michael J. Sniffen WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — Despite a pledge to open government, the Obama administration has endorsed a Bush-era decision to keep secret key details of an FBI computer database that allows

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