Prison Book Bans and Lessons from Attica

On March 31st, 2022, the ACLU of New York (NYCLU) and the Civil Rights Clinic from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law filed a civil suit in the Southern District of New York against a New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) book ban on “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising and Its Legacy,” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Heather Ann Thompson. DOCCS banned the book immediately after it was published in 2016.

Federal Court Stops the “Stop WOKE” Act on First Amendment Grounds – Twice

By Tyler Ventura, Vol. 21 Staff Writer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made national headlines last spring as he championed the passing of House Bill 7 (also known as HB 7 or the “Stop WOKE” act) through Florida’s state legislature. This law focused largely on the teaching of critical race theory, otherwise known as “CRT,” in … Continue reading Federal Court Stops the “Stop WOKE” Act on First Amendment Grounds – Twice

Freedom to Teach? The Intersection of the First Amendment and American Public School Curricula

By Shane Stout, Vol. 21 Staff Writer For decades, the Supreme Court has protected academic freedom, a concept intertwined with the First Amendment that protects the rights of students, teachers, and educational institutions to pursue knowledge without government interference. While academic freedom has traditionally applied to college professors, its tenets also extend to public school … Continue reading Freedom to Teach? The Intersection of the First Amendment and American Public School Curricula

Can Gov. DeSantis “Stop Woke” in Private Workplaces?

America has recently seen a renewed focus on civil rights and racial justice—as well as dramatic divisions over how to discuss race, rights, justice, and history. The current moral panic over critical race theory (“CRT”) has spurred some conservative officials to regulate the treatment of race in schools, libraries, and workplaces. While public schools and libraries are subject to significant governmental control, a high-profile court case is testing whether the First Amendment limits anti-CRT efforts in another key forum: the private workplaces that employ most American adults.

False Speech within the Law’s Dominion: Defamation through a First Amendment Lens

Image credit: Element 5 Digital By Ryan Moore, Vol. 21 Staff Writer Introduction             The 2020 presidential election provided anything but the comfortable rhythm long-time viewers of election night coverage have come to expect. Americans went to bed on election night without a declared victor, mostly due to the prevalence of mail-in ballots in the … Continue reading False Speech within the Law’s Dominion: Defamation through a First Amendment Lens

(Pastor) RJ Davis on the Court (of Law)

Image credit: Pixabay By: William McDonald, Vol. 21 Staff Writer Introduction “Churches exist primarily for the spiritual edification of the adherents of a faith tradition. They are established and operated in accordance with religious precepts. Churches may build sites to house worship, fellowship, community, and teaching. They simultaneously have a secular existence.” These words from … Continue reading (Pastor) RJ Davis on the Court (of Law)

Most popular word in English language has new owner

Picture credit: Gaelen Morse / Getty Images By Chase Nevitt, Vol. 21 Staff Writer In the summer of 2022, Ohio State University won a somewhat humorous legal battle over its desire to trademark the famous definite article used throughout the English language. The USPTO officially approved the university’s application to trademark “THE” following a two-year … Continue reading Most popular word in English language has new owner

The Sound of Government Intrusion Into Artistic Expression: The Implications of the Recent Indictment Against Rapper “Young Thug” 

Inside of a 56-count indictment against several individuals in Atlanta, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis recently charged rapper “Young Thug” with gang activity and conspiracy charges under Georgia’s R.I.C.O Act. The indictment for Young Thug cites some of his song lyrics and accompanying music videos, arguing that it is proof of his involvement with the street gang “Young Slime Life.” These indictments have been the source of much controversy, raising concerns of government overreach of the First Amendment rights of musicians.

The Supreme Critic: The Last Word on Fine Art

Today, Kanye West is most known for his outlandish behavior and frequent appearances amongst the tabloids. But early on in Mr. West’s career, he made a name for himself for taking samples of past music, using them in his present work, and creating some of the biggest hits to chart the Billboards. The future of such artistic creativity utilized by musicians such as Kanye West, comes under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court in Warhol v. Goldsmith.

Book Banning in Public Schools: A Poor Tool for Censorship

Source: PEN America By Annalee Blanks, Vol. 21 Staff Writer The concept of book banning isn't anything new. In some instances, it’s older than the United States itself with the banning of alternative religion pamphlets going back into the 1650s. Starting in the 20th century, public schools became battlegrounds for parents and educators to debate … Continue reading Book Banning in Public Schools: A Poor Tool for Censorship

Inconsistent: SCOTUS, Conservatism, and Corporate Speech

By: John Schengber, Vol. 21 Staff Writer In recent decisions from the circuit courts — the second-highest level of federal courts behind the Supreme Court — judges disagree as to whether states can prohibit social media companies from moderating content on their platforms. The Firth Circuit Court of Appeals evaluated a Texas law, and the … Continue reading Inconsistent: SCOTUS, Conservatism, and Corporate Speech

Now Trending Nationally: States Limiting First Amendment Rights to Film Police Despite Explicit Right from the Supreme Court.

By Annelise Yackow, Vol. 21 Staff Writer The summer of 2020 was a pivotal time for the United States, particularly for the future of the criminal justice system, but also for First Amendment rights. Following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police, national protests broke out calling for improved police accountability … Continue reading Now Trending Nationally: States Limiting First Amendment Rights to Film Police Despite Explicit Right from the Supreme Court.

The FTC Sticks Their Foot in the First Amendment

In May 2022, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against a California footwear company, Gravity Defyer Medical Technology Corporation, and its owner, Alexander Elnekaveh, for false and deceptive advertising. Gravity Defyer markets and sells “pain defying” footwear made with “hybrid VeroShock technology” that claims to relieve knee, back, ankle or foot pain associated with certain medical conditions. In response to the lawsuit, Gravity Defyer invoked their First Amendment right to free speech and criticized the government agency for having a history of overreaching.

What Happens in California, Doesn’t Stay in California: First Amendment Implications of Interstate Abortion Advertising Post-Dobbs

Source: Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office (courtesy of CBS News) By: Blythe Riggan, Vol. 21 Staff Writer This summer, the Supreme Court left us with more questions than answers. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the Court held that the Constitution does not confer a federal right to an abortion. However, in stripping abortion of its … Continue reading What Happens in California, Doesn’t Stay in California: First Amendment Implications of Interstate Abortion Advertising Post-Dobbs

The First Amendment and Tobacco Advertisements

Image by Roland Mey from Pixabay By Max Kurkin, Vol. 21 Staff Writer Varying interpretations of the First Amendment have been at the forefront of discussions within the tobacco industry. The common understanding is that although the First Amendment protects free speech, that right may be limited on narrowly tailored grounds when there is a … Continue reading The First Amendment and Tobacco Advertisements