First Amendment Newsflash 9/18-10/1

Welcome to First Amendment Newsflash, the First Amendment Law Review’s 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

A federal magistrate judge ruled that a homeless encampment in Chicago did not qualify as a First Amendment-protected statement.

A panel of the 9th Circuit asked for amicus briefs considering whether a federal law criminalizing encouraging or inducing illegal immigration violates the First Amendment.

The 9th Circuit granted a preliminary injunction against San Francisco’s ordinance requiring health warnings on sugary drinks, such as pop.

A school lunch aide accused of illegally sexting a student has filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, arguing that the statute under which she was charged is unconstitutionally broad.

A federal judge dismissed two videographers’ religious freedom lawsuit challenging the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which barred the videographers from denying services for same-sex weddings.

HBO has asked a West Virginia state court to dismiss coal baron Robert Murray’s defamation lawsuit involving the John Oliver show.

A Kansas inmate has sued the Topeka Correctional Facility, alleging that the prison violates the Establishment Clause by “imposing strong Christian values on inmates.”

A flushable wipe manufacturer is alleging the District of Columbia law regulating labeling of such wipes as “flushable” violates the First Amendment.

A Wisconsin mother convicted of disorderly conduct for yelling profanity at her son after he burned some popcorn is arguing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court that her conviction violates her free speech right to use profanity.

A lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s unauthorized practice of law statute on First Amendment grounds was dismissed by a federal judge.

A group of news organizations that sued the state of Arizona arguing that the First Amendment required the state reveal its sources for execution drugs has lost its case.

The ACLU has sued St. Louis for violating protesters’ First Amendment rights when police used “kettling” to control the crowd and seized protesters’ cell phones and deleted videos.

In a lawsuit alleging that Beyonce illegally used rapper Anthony Barre’s voice in her song “Formation,” Beyonce is arguing that the First Amendment protects this use.

Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gurbarev, who was implicated in the Trump Dossier published by BuzzFeed and at issue in a recent defamation case, is arguing that the First Amendment should not shield revelation of anonymous sources of the dossier.

In a suit challenging an Arkansas panhandling law, a federal judge has ruled that the law violates the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear a case considering whether public sector unions can require non-members to pay “fair share” fees, used to facilitate collective bargaining.

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction blocking West Virginia’s Right to Work law because the law likely violates union workers’ right to assembly and association.


Federal Executive News

The FDA is beginning an initiative to find ways to require cigarette warning labels that do not run afoul of the First Amendment.

The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the case of Chike Uzuegbunam, a George Gwinnett College student suing his college for disallowing him from distributing fliers outside the college’s “free speech zones.”


Other News & Commentary

Middle Tennessee State University has launched an online First Amendment Encyclopedia.

A Brookings Institute survey of college students suggested that nearly 20% of college students believe it is acceptable to use violence to prevent a speaker from speaking. The methods used by this survey, however, have been questioned and some polling experts have called the survey “junk science.”

A free speech controversy has erupted after NFL players knelt during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism in America.

The Knight First Amendment Institute published Tim Wu’s analysis on whether the First Amendment remains relevant in the current political and cultural climate.


That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash Sept. 18-Oct. 1. See you again on Oct. 15! In the meantime, don’t forget to secure your ticket to our annual symposium: Distorting the Truth: “Fake News” and Free Speech! Tickets are going fast, so be sure to register soon! 4.5 N.C. CLE credits available!

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