First Amendment News

Researchers granted access to gun buyer information

A UC Davis firearms research center won a victory in state appeals court when the court ruled that the center could use personal information California had gathered on gun owners. (Association of Health Care Journalists, December 21, 2023, by Kaitlin Washburn) A 2021 law allowed the state to share gun information so long as the identities of gun owners remained private. Gun owners sued arguing that the sharing of the information violated their privacy rights.

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Musk loses appeal on surveillance disclosure

X, formerly Twitter, lost an appeal to the Supreme Court who refused to take up the constitutionality of the federal government’s ban on disclosing the exact numbers of receipts of national security surveillance of users. (CNBC, January 8, 2024 by Dan Mangan) Current law only allows generalized statistics on federal information requests, but X held that government censorship should only occur when there is an imminent risk to national security from sharing exact data. (Ars

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California open government roundup: Santa Monica commission presses police union for racial profiling report

A Santa Monica commission charges that the police union is dragging its feet in complying with the city’s ordinance requiring them to produce a report and recommendations to address racial profiling involving traffic stops. (San Monica Daily Press, January 4, 2024, by Thomas Leffler) Two Temecula residents sued the Temecula Valley school district for violating the First Amendment rights and the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law, by ejecting them from school board meetings

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Supreme Court asked to review legal observer case

Two attorneys sued the St. Louis police for violating their rights to free speech and assembly after they were teargassed at a demonstration while wearing green hats identifying them as legal observers. The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision in favor of the attorneys contending that the message on their hats “National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer” did not convey a clear message and so was not entitled to First Amendment

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Musk’s X held to account for lack of transparency

A federal judge rejected Elon Musk’s attempt to invoke his free speech rights to defeat a California law requiring X, formerly Twitter, to reveal its policies and report regularly on hate speech, false information, harassment and extremism on its site. (The Hill, December 29, 2023, by Nick Robertson) Earlier this month the European Union began investigating X over its lack of transparency and failure to combat false information and hate speech while maintaining free speech

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