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FAC partners with Online News Association to assist digital journalists

The First Amendment Coalition is delighted to announce a partnership with the Online News Association to provide ONA members—-digital journalists working primarily for digital media platforms—with legal help on First Amendment and other media law matters through FAC’s Legal Hotline service. The Legal Hotline is a legal consultation service available on FAC’s website. Users submit […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Facebook, under attack for choosing “trending” stories, should embrace the 1st Amendment

PETER SCHEER—Facebook wants you, me and the federal government to believe that the selection and prominence of content on Facebook, particularly in its “trending stories” feature, has nothing to do with human judgment or choice. This has long been Facebook’s public posture, and it was its initial knee-jerk response this week to a news story, […]

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Guest Commentary: CA's judiciary toothless watchdog

Watchdog for errant CA judges has no bite, no bark

  BY JOE SWEENEY AND TAMIR SUKKARY — The Commission on Judicial Performance is a little-known agency that has one of the most important jobs in California — to protect the public by investigating complaints against judges and disciplining misconduct. The commission is effectively responsible for maintaining the integrity of California’s courts. Such an important watchdog should […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

After near-death in Supreme Court, will public employee unions change their ways?

BY PETER SCHEER—Public employee unions, the most powerful special interest group in California and most other states, came within a heartbeat of losing that power, as a legal challenge by dissident public school teachers came to a close in the US Supreme Court this week. I use the word “heartbeat” somewhat literally, because it is […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Apple is right: the order requiring it to create code to defeat iPhone security is “coerced speech” forbidden by the 1st Amdt

BY PETER SCHEER—The court battle between the FBI and Apple presents an important first amendment issue: whether the government can force a company to engage in expression—to wit, the writing of computer code—-that the company not only objects to, but views as inimical to its interests and its customers’ interests. Apple claims that this coercion […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

FAC sues Sonoma County to unlock secret Super Bowl promo deal

The First Amendment Coalition today filed suit to make public the terms of a Sonoma County agency’s contract to promote county wines to football  fans visiting the Bay Area for the February 7 Super Bowl. FAC filed a public records request for the contract, under which the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, together with organizations representing […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

FAC suit against San Diego yields previously secret records on police use of invasive cell phone surveillance tool

The Stingray is a controversial cell phone surveillance tool used by police departments in major US cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and San Diego.  Also known as an “IMSI catcher,” the Stingray operates by mimicking a cell phone tower, which causes cell phones in the vicinity to transmit information revealing their […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

SCOTUS is about to bring down hammer on public sector unions. That will be good for democracy, not so good for freedom of speech.

BY PETER SCHEER–Sometime during the next few months, the US Supreme Court will issue a decision that could profoundly weaken public employee unions in California and across the country. By all accounts, the justices, in the oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, signalled that they are poised to rule that workers’ payment of […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

US Supreme Court ‘government speech’ rulings should curb government misuse of anti-SLAPP laws

BY PETER SCHEER–Does the first amendment apply to government speech? In recent decisions, the Supreme Court has answered that question in the negative.  Constitutional free speech protections apply to people (and corporations and other private legal entities), but they do not limit or regulate governmental speech, the Court declared. The implications of this doctrine are […]

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News and views from FAC's Executive Director.

Whining college students need lessons in tolerance and free speech

BY PETER SCHEER—There’s nothing like the massacre of 129 Parisian civilians at the hands of jihadi sociopaths, utterly convinced that their barbarism manifests the will of God, to provide some perspective on the recent whinings of students at a number of America’s most elite colleges and universities. For the past few weeks, students across the […]

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