As the world still reels from the COVID-19 outbreak, UNC Law (and its many student-led organizations, like First Amendment Law Review) is learning how to best react to the virus. Accordingly, our journal (and all of the effort it requires–writing, editing, staff meetings, and the like) is now operating remotely. We appreciate your patience as we, like you, our readers, learn how to navigate these new normals.
Now, here are a couple of First Amendment headlines that are worth brief mention:
Surprisingly, despite federal- and state-level bans on large gatherings, few news-making First Amendment complaints have arisen. The loudest voices seem to be clergy and churchgoers now restricted from meeting in-person to worship. For example, pastors in Florida and Louisiana continue to defy executive orders limiting gatherings. The legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina has expressed some skepticism towards such state limitations, noting concern about how long these measures may last. Surely, more challenges are to come as these restrictions are expanded.
The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has again upheld its holding that President Donald Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking critics on Twitter. While the court’s decision was initially given this past summer, lawyers for President Trump requested an en banc review. That request was denied. Thus, the court’s initial holding that the President’s Twitter account serves as an “official communications channel” and therefore access to it cannot be restricted, remains in place.