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Alaska man loses free speech case in U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a claim of an Alaska man who said he was arrested as retaliation for exercising his free speech rights. The court said the police could arrest someone for probable cause free from threat of retaliatory claims. The court reversed a finding by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that …

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California open government roundup: Quest fails to unseal federal court surveillance files

Riana Pfefferkorn of The Center for Internet and Society, May 21, 2019, has failed to obtain court records on surveillance  in the Northern District of California even though the public is entitled to the records that are under seal but no longer need to be sealed. The judge ruled there was no First Amendment right …

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Government imperils free press with Assange indictment on espionage charges

In indicting WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, the U.S. government has embarked on an unprecedented use of the espionage charge, never before brought against publishers of stolen secret documents. The government is expected to argue that Assange encouraged the leaks, damaged national security and is not truly a journalist. Assange’s defense team may refer to the Supreme …

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Challenge mounted to censorship of book in Arizona prisons

The American Civil Liberties Union and an author are protesting the ban on a book about the treatment of black men in the criminal justice system. The book says the system singles out black men and that prison should be abolished. The author Paul Butler, a law professor and former prosecutor, says there is nothing …

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Trump wants public to report on political bias in social media

The Trump administration is providing the public a tool to report political bias in the social media. The tool is its response to bans of extreme voices on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Users are asked to post screenshots of political bias and to explain what happened to their social media account and if a particular …

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San Francisco police contend journalist broke the law in obtaining police report

The San Francisco Police Chief William Scott defended a police raid of a journalist’s home by contending that free-lance journalist Bryan Carmody was the subject of a criminal investigation for possibly paying a city employee for a police report on the sudden death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi.  (San Jose Mercury News, May 21, 2019. …

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First Amendment: Federal appeals court rejects challenge to ban on campaign contributions from foreign nationals

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals turned down a challenge to a federal law banning foreign nationals from donating to state and local election campaigns. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 on the ban, but the decision only dealt with federal elections. The case involved a political consultant in a San Diego mayor’s race …

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Trump and Russia: Federal judges back transparency in recent decisions

The federal courts are stepping into a prominent role in deciding whether  the Trump administration can wall out requests by Congress and others for information regarding President Donald Trump’s Russia connection, financial dealings and alleged obstruction of justice. Transparency got a boost Monday from U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta who ruled that President Donald …

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Beer giants grapple in federal court over veracity of Super Bowl beer ad

MillerCoors argued in federal court that Bud Light ads were off-base in claiming Miller Coors beers contain high-fructose corn syrup. The company said they use corn syrup in the fermenting process where it is consumed by yeast and missing in the MillerCoors beers consumed by the public. The judge did say Bud Light ads were …

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Christchurch Call: U.S. opts out of international effort to fight internet hate speech

The Trump administration is not endorsing the international movement prompted by the massacre of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand to stem terrorism and extremism on the social media. The administration said although they supported the movement’s goals, they were concerned about preserving freedom of speech. (Variety, May 15, 2019, by Todd Spangler) Internet free speech …

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