First Amendment Newsflash 4/9-4/22

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

A historic church in Pittsburgh claims that the First Amendment protects its right to remove a religious leader in the fight to dismiss the former pastor’s $2.6 million breach of contract lawsuit.

Joliet Junior College agreed to pay a student rights group $30,000 as part of a settlement to resolve a lawsuit alleging the college violated a student’s First Amendment rights when she was prohibited from passing out flyers on campus.

The Ninth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against a Montana organization preventing the organization from collecting money from cattle ranchers to use for advertising and research, ruling the fee collection violates the ranchers’ First Amendment rights.

The First Lutheran Church sued the city of St. Paul for allegedly infringing on its religious right to minister to the poor and homeless by placing strict restrictions on the drop-in day center located in the church’s basement.

A Memphis man filed a federal lawsuit claiming the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s removal of signs or billboards using non-commercial or advertising language is unconstitutional and violates freedom of speech.

A federal lawsuit challenges a Lake Michigan resort community’s rule requiring owners to be practicing Christians as violating the First Amendment, the Federal Fair Housing Act, and the state’s civil rights act.

State Court News

A Texas appeals court ruled that the Relationship Privacy Act, the state’s revenge porn law, violates the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court of California heard oral arguments in Hassell v. Bird, a case concerning an allegedly defamatory review of legal services on Yelp, which may implicate whether courts can force online publishers to take down third-party content without first accounting for the publisher’s First Amendment interests.

A New Hampshire court dismissed a defamation law suit filed by a patent owner upset about being called a “patent troll” ruling that the phrase “patent troll” and other rhetorical characterizations are protected by the First Amendment.

State and Local Legislative News

The city of St. Louis rejected a protest buffer zone around health care facilities, including Planned Parenthood.

Other News

Twitter and Facebook are backing the Honest Ads Act, the political ad transparency law introduced in the U.S. Congress in 2017 requiring social media platforms to maintain a public file of purchased election ads.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking a federal contractor to help create a database to monitor traditional news sources and social media coverage related to the agency or to a particular event. founders were indicted on prostitution charges, among others, in what the founders’ attorney calls “a massive assault on the First Amendment.

That’s it for your First Amendment Newsflash April 9-22, 2018! The Volume 16 Board would like to offer its sincerest thanks to those who consistently engaged with the “Newsflash” over the last ten months. The development of this medium was a true labor of love that we hope has served you well in your efforts to stay up to date with the latest in this area of law (which we recognize is ever changing.) This is the last Newsflash to be prepared by Volume 16, but we feel confident that the editors for Volume 17 will continue the great work that was started this year. A fresh new board will see you back here on May 6 for more First Amendment news! 

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