First Amendment Newsflash 12/18/17-1/7/18

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 Josh Hallett


Federal Court News

A federal appeals court ruled that a Baltimore law, which required pregnancy clinics to post signs in their waiting rooms disclosing that they do not offer or refer women for abortions, violated the First Amendment.

A federal judge temporarily barred Washington, D.C. from enforcing part of a recently passed law requiring cautionary labels on “flushable” wet wipes, ruling the city’s approach probably violates the First Amendment.

A federal judge denied a company’s request to block the House Intelligence Committee from demanding bank records for 70 of the private investigative firm’s transactions in the Trump dossier investigation, ruling that the request did not violate the company’s First Amendment rights to political speech and association.

The first six Inauguration Day protestors to go to trial were acquitted by a jury on all charges of rioting and destruction of property.

A federal judge permanently barred Arizona from enforcing a law that banned a Mexican American studies programs in Tuscon schools, stating that the law violated the First Amendment by denying students the “right to receive information and ideas.”

A federal appeals court ruled that the federal trademark laws prohibiting immoral or scandalous language are unconstitutional.

A federal appeals court ruled Idaho’s “ag-gag”  ban, which prohibits recording secret videos and lying to enter factory farms for the purpose of exposing animal abuse, unconstitutional on free speech grounds.

State Court News

An Oregon appeals court upheld a penalty against Oregon bakery owners who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

A Michigan judge lifted a restraining order against a controversial right-wing group, Project Veritas, which barred publication of information involving its alleged infiltration of a teacher’s union.


State Legislation

A South Dakota ballot measure banning out-of-state fundraising for citizen’s initiatives will  go before voters in November.

An Indiana lawmaker plans to file legislation that would require the Indianapolis Colts to offer fans refunds if Colts players kneel during the national anthem at home games.


Other News

Trump administration reverses previous funding rules to now allow houses of worship damaged during natural disasters to rebuild using federal funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Trump’s private lawyer sent cease-and-desist letters to author and publisher of the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” and Steve Bannon stating he would take legal action to block the book’s release.


That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash December 18, 2017-January 7, 2018. We will see you back for more First Amendment news on January 21!


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