First Amendment Newsflash 11/13-12/3

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.



Federal Court News

The Supreme Court will decide whether it violates the First Amendment for California to require “crisis pregnancy centers,” which counsel patients against abortion, and instead tell patients that the state offers contraception and abortion services.

The Supreme Court will hear a case that tests whether cops need a warrant to track individuals through cell tower location technology.

The Supreme Court agreed to revisit the issue of whether five million government workers can refuse to pay union fees arguing that mandatory fees violate the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case to determine whether a Colorado cake shop owner has a First Amendment right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple.

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether state laws that ban political apparel at polling places violate free speech.

A federal appeals court affirmed the dismissal of an Ohio couple’s suit against companies that used the couple’s engagement photos for the cover of a book about a woman’s sexual desire for New England Patriots’ star Rob Gronkowski.

A neo-Nazi website publisher asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit accusing him of orchestrating an anti-Semitic internet trolling campaign against a Montana family because the “trolling” is “political speech.”

Federal judge rebukes St. Louis Police for tactics used on protesters after ex-officer’s acquittal as retaliation tactics violating the First Amendment.

The city of Manchester paid $275,000 for violating a citizen’s First Amendment right to film police.

An organization is suing Washington Metro after the transit agency rejected its ad featuring a biblical Christmas scene.

Environmental groups being sued by the developers of the Dakota pipeline asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit arguing that the developer’s arguments that the environmental groups disseminated false and misleading information is baseless and an attack on free speech.


State Court News

The Supreme Court of Hawaii will hear a case to determine whether there is a First amendment right to record police officers at work.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court weighed whether anti-police rap lyrics constitute a “true threat.”

Wisconsin Supreme court affirmed a mother’s conviction for swearing at her son without reaching the issue of whether the First Amendment protected her speech.


State Legislative News

An Arizona lawmaker proposed new legislation that would make it a felony to wear any sort of disguise to evade recognition or identification at civil protests, political events, or any public event.


Other News and Commentary

Charlottesville’s police department was criticized in an independent review commissioned by the city as “ill-prepared” and “lacking proper training” to protect the protestors’ First Amendment rights.

A Chicago cop has been cited for racist and threatening Facebook posts.

Tufts University postponed an event with Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director, after Scaramucci threatened to sue the student newspaper for publishing an opinion piece.

Slate magazine writer claims that Trump’s interest in blocking the AT&T and Time Warner merger and the Department of Justice’s antitrust suit may be violating the First Amendment, depending on the DOJ’s motives for blocking the merger.


That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash November 13-December 3. See you again on December 17!

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