First Amendment Newsflash 10/30-11/12

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.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pete Sheffield

Federal Court News

Progressive group One Wisconsin Now has sued Republican lawmakers for blocking the group on Twitter, which the group alleges violates the First Amendment.

Citing the First Amendment, the Ninth Circuit lifted a gag order that had prevented the Salt Lake Comic Con from discussing its ongoing trademark lawsuit.

In the case of the 40-foot cross in Maryland deemed a First Amendment violation by the Fourth Circuit, supporters have asked the Fourth Circuit to rehear the case en banc.

A federal judge issued an injunction, saying the Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, seal featuring a cross violates the establishment clause.

Valencia College in Florida settled a First Amendment lawsuit brought by three former students. The suit alleged that the college retaliated against students when they complained about being subjected to required trans-vaginal ultrasounds.

An immigrant seeking citizenship sued, alleging the words “so help me God” in the citizenship oath violates the establishment clause.

A woman who alleges Bill Cosby raped her has asked the First Circuit to hear her defamation case against Cosby en banc, after a three-judge panel cited First Amendment concerns and dismissed the case last month.

A real estate developer has claimed that town officials retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment for speaking with the media about a dispute regarding building consultants.

A U.S. court has partially blocked a Canadian court’s order requiring Google to delete some search results.

The Fifth Circuit heard arguments regarding the First Amendment challenge to the Texas sanctuary city law.

A prison instructor sued the Delaware Department of Education, alleging his employment was terminated after he spoke to the media about a prison riot.

The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying has filed a proposed judgment in the case alleging the Board’s definition of “engineer” violates the First Amendment. In the proposed judgment, the Board admits it violated the First Amendment rights of the plaintiff, but argues the definition is not facially invalid.

A Fresno State University professor was ordered to pay $17,000 after he erased students’ anti-abortion messages.

In the campus speech case that featured a student dressed as a T-rex who was not allowed to distribute literature outside of the college’s free speech zone, the college has settled.


State Court News

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Purdue University at Calumet in a First Amendment challenge brought by a professor against the university’s anti-harassment policies.

A Washington State court has upheld the state’s tax-funded political “democracy voucher” program as constitutional.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that a private college does not have a First Amendment right to immunity from the state’s anti-discrimination laws.


Other News & Commentary

A Cato Institute study on free speech in America shows that 71% of Americans believe concerns about political correctness have hindered conversations about social issues.

The property manager for a federal building has rejected a request by Richard Spencer to host a conference in the building.


That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash Oct. 30-November 12. We’ll be taking a quick break for the Thanksgiving holiday, so we’ll catch you again on Dec. 3 with a special edition of the Newsflash jam-packed with three weeks worth of First Amendment news!

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