First Amendment Newsflash 9/4-9/17

Welcome to First Amendment Newsflash, the First Amendment Law Review’s new bi-weekly roundup of the latest in free expression and religious freedom news and commentary. Check here every other Sunday for a new edition! Need First Amendment news in the meantime? Follow FALR on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.



Court News

Michigan State University has been sued in federal court on First Amendment grounds for denying rental space for Richard Spencer to speak.

An Ohio man convicted of failing to tell his sexual partner that he is HIV-positive is arguing before the Ohio Supreme Court that the state law requiring HIV disclosure violates his First Amendment rights.

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker argued in federal court that some restrictions on judges’ speech violate the First Amendment.

Three Texas churches have sued FEMA for allegedly discriminating based on religion in its provision of disaster relief.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s alienation of affection law–which allows individuals to collect damages from their spouses’ lovers–does not violate the First Amendment.

Courthouse News has appealed to the Ninth Circuit on two cases involving press access to court documents before the documents are processed and docketed.

A judge has denied issuance of an injunction in the case of a New Mexico politician who sued his competitor for defamation in response to radio advertisements.

The Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled that a Michigan county can continue to open meetings with prayers, citing tradition and the non-coercive nature of the practice.

The lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in his suit against Gawker is now representing a plaintiff in a defamation suit against Jezebel.

TechDirt won its motion to dismiss in the defamation case in which a claimed email inventor sued the media company for calling him a liar.

The Satanic Temple has sued claiming that Missouri’s abortion consent law violates free exercise rights.

A federal judge ruled that Manchester, New Hampshire’s panhandling ordinances violated the First Amendment.

The Tenth Circuit ruled that Wyoming’s ag-gag law may unconstitutionally violate free speech rights.

Bikini baristas have sued Everett, Washington, over a new city ordinance that directs baristas to cover certain parts of their bodies while working.

The Minnesota Supreme Court invalidated a state law that criminalized disrupting public meetings.

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled that a child who texted pictures of his genitals to a woman can face consequences under state child pornography laws, despite the child’s arguments that such conviction would violate his First Amendment rights.

A D.C. Superior Court judge has denied several motions to dismiss related to Inauguration Day protesters charged with felony rioting.

Several American citizens have filed a lawsuit alleging that their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when Border Patrol seized their phones and computers.

Former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli has had his bail revoked after he posted on Facebook offering $5,000 for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair. He argues this undermines his free expression rights.

Federal Executive News

The Department of Education has announced plans to alter Title IX sexual assault guidelines, partially citing concerns that current guidelines sometimes posit Title IX against the First Amendment.

The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief on behalf of the baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the case at the Supreme Court that considers the religious liberty and free speech rights of a baker versus the non-discrimination rights of LGBTQ individuals.

The Department of Justice has set aside their demand that Facebook be prohibited from informing users when investigators search their communications.

State Legislative News

An Illinois lawmaker has introduced a bill that would prevent protesters from wearing masks when police are present, raising some free expression concerns.


That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash Sept. 4-Sept. 17. See you again on Oct. 1! In the meantime, don’t forget to secure your ticket to our annual symposium: Distorting the Truth: “Fake News” and Free Speech! 4.5 N.C. CLE credits available!

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