First Amendment Newsflash 1/22-2/4

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 Charlie Nguyen


Federal Court News

A federal judge refused to block the removal of a Confederate monument on courthouse grounds in north Louisiana after the United Daughters of the Confederacy filed a First Amendment claim.

The Trump administration filed court documents supporting a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkley accusing the school of violating the First Amendment by restricting campus speakers with conservative viewpoints.

A federal judge threw out a defamation lawsuit over the “hate group” label that dozens of nonprofit groups received on a website database of U.S. charities.

A federal judge ordered the University of Iowa to temporarily reinstate a conservative Christian organization as a registered student organization after the university revoked campus registration when the group denied a leadership position to a gay student who would not affirm a statement of faith rejecting homosexuality.

The parties involved in a federal lawsuit, claiming a woman’s First Amendment rights were violated after a police officer grabbed her phone and deleted a photo she took of her son in the officer’s vehicle, reached a settlement.

A federal judge temporarily blocked a Kansas law prohibiting state contractors from participating in boycotts against Israel, ruling that the state law violates state contractors free speech rights.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other First Amendment advocacy groups filed amicus briefs to deny a request from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of warrantless search and seizure of electronic devices at the border, stating that these searches violate First Amendment rights.

A Chicago court clerk is appealing a federal district court opinion after a federal judge found that the First Amendment prohibits the clerk from withholding new electronic filings from the press.

A federal judge struck down process for re-establishing voting rights for ex-felons as arbitrary and unconstitutional after several ex-felons brought a class-action lawsuit claiming the process for re-establishing voting rights violated the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment.

The Ninth Circuit ruled that an Oregon school district violated the Constitution when it banned striking teachers from school grounds as well as any students who publicly supported the strike.

Inauguration day protestors filed a federal class action complaint against a police department for false arrest claiming police officers failed to distinguish actual rioters from peaceful protestors during mass arrest.


State Court News

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that a judge’s order banning the media from publishing a prosecutor’s name in a murder trial amounted to a prior restraint of the First Amendment right to report on the case.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that a fire department violated a firefighter’s free speech rights when it restricted his ability to include religious comments in work emails and forums.


State Legislation News

The California senate approved a net neutrality bill that would prevent internet service providers from charging websites for quicker access.


Other News

Prosecutors and the judge in Larry Nassar’s sexual assault case thanked investigative journalism and the First Amendment for exposing the doctor’s abuse.

North Carolina’s prison system dropped its ban on “The New Jim Crow,” a best-selling book about the connection between mass incarceration and racism, and will review other prohibited books after the state’s ACLU affiliate challenged the ban.

Freedom of the Press Foundation announced it will begin archiving online content it deems at risk of being depleted or manipulated, starting with Gawker and L.A. Weekly.


That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash January 22-February 4, 2018. We will see you back for more First Amendment news on February 18!

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