NEWSFLASH! 11/12-11/25

Happy Monday and Thanksgiving week! Here are a few First Amendment headlines:

The Knight Foundation recently released a report entitled “High School Student Views on the First Amendment: Trends in the 21st Century.” Using surveys of high school students from 2004 to 2018, the report analyzed general trends among teenagers in their views of the First Amendment. Notably, the report found that while there has been a “modest increase” in average support for the First Amendment among this age demographic, “[b]oys and white students are less inclined than girls and students of color to agree with the statement: ‘The First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.’” However, the report also indicated that education concerning the First Amendment has increased and such education has increased overall support for First Amendment protections among high schoolers.

Provost Lauren Robel of Indiana University Bloomington released a statement last week decrying Professor Eric Rasmusen for his dissemination of “racist, sexist, and homophobic views.” The statement follows public denouncement of the professor as several of his social media posts were flagged by a popular Twitter user over the past two weeks. While Provost Robel didn’t mince words in her disdain for Rasmusen’s views, she made clear that the school cannot “fire Professor Rasmusen for his posts as a private citizen, as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids [it] to do so. That is not a close call.” Students have nonetheless continued calls for the professor’s removal.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit claiming that the Department of Homeland Security violated the First Amendment when it allegedly tracked, detained, and interrogated five journalists. The journalists, all U.S. citizens, were reporting from the southern U.S. border and were continually traveling to and from Mexico. Specifically, the ACLU alleges that officials at the U.S. border “targeted the journalists for secondary screening at the border, compelled them to disclose information about their sources and observations as journalists, and even searched through their photos and notes.”

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