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Constitutional Law

First Amendment Center First Amendment Center

News related to the first amendment of the US Constitution and freedom of speech issues.
By First Amendment Center

Post Frequency: 38.7/day

Last Entry: March 29, 2011 at 21:00:00

Recent Entries: 1046

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Wis. man's challenge of pot conviction goes up in smoke

Posted on March 29, 2011
Comment? E-mail me A Wisconsin man did not have a First Amendment right to possess marijuana, a state appeals court ruled last week. Kenneth L. Driessen faced charges after a law enforcement officer noticed Driessen?s truck was driving down the wrong side of the road...

10th Circuit: Eagle feathers only for American Indians

Posted on March 29, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY ? Restricting use of eagle parts and feathers to members of federally recognized American Indian tribes for religious purposes does not violate the religious freedom of non-Indians seeking the same right, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday...

Wyo. high court orders district to disclose teacher salary data

Posted on March 29, 2011
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A Cheyenne school district must disclose teacher salary information to a daily newspaper, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled yesterday. The court upheld a district judge's earlier ruling that the Wyoming Tribune Eagle is entitled to inspect salary records at Laramie County School District 1...

4th Circuit rules against W.Va. mom in immunization case

Posted on March 29, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. — A lawyer for a West Virginia woman who unsuccessfully challenged the state?s child immunization law said yesterday that she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. ?We?re going to push this appeal as far as we can,? said attorney Patricia Finn...

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Divided 4th Circuit backs secrecy provision in whistleblower law

Posted on March 28, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. — A divided appeals court upheld the secrecy provision of a federal whistleblower law yesterday, declaring that it serves the compelling government interest of protecting the integrity of investigations. The 2-1 ruling by a 4th U.S...

Maine labor mural comes down on governor's orders

Posted on March 28, 2011
PORTLAND, Maine — A mural depicting Maine?s labor history was removed from the lobby of the state Department of Labor headquarters and put into storage over the weekend after a directive from the new Republican governor that it come down. The 36-foot, 11-panel mural will be kept at an undisclosed location until a suitable spot can be found to put it on public display, said Adrienne Bennett, spokeswoman for Gov...

Brewery accuses liquor board of trying to bottle up free speech

Posted on March 28, 2011
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. ? A Maryland brewery is accusing Michigan's liquor commission of censorship after the panel rejected labels for a beer that features an expletive in the name. Flying Dog Brewery has filed a federal lawsuit in Grand Rapids asking that a judge override the commission's decision to reject labels for "Raging Bitch" beer and allow the brew to be advertised and sold in Michigan...

Utah Legislature votes to repeal contentious open-records law

Posted on March 27, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY — After weeks of public flogging, the Utah Legislature has voted to repeal changes to the state's open-records law that exempts text messages from public scrutiny and increases the cost of records requests. The repeal of House Bill 477 passed on March 25 with a strong majority in the House and Senate during a special session of the Legislature, which was called less than two weeks after the end of the general session...

Federal judge upholds Texas Open Meetings Act

Posted on March 27, 2011
PECOS, Texas ? A federal judge has upheld the Texas Open Meetings Act in a long-running case originally filed by members of the Alpine City Council. The March 25 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Junell found that the law doesn't muzzle the First Amendment right to free speech as had been alleged by a group of plaintiffs that included city council members from Alpine and 11 other Texas cities...

E-mails show fed insiders had warned of political 'meddling'

Posted on March 27, 2011
WASHINGTON ? Insiders at the Homeland Security Department warned for months that senior Obama administration appointees were improperly delaying the releases of government files on politically sensitive topics as sought by citizens, journalists and watchdog groups under the Freedom of Information Act, according to uncensored e-mails newly obtained by the Associated Press...

High court to decide if teacher is religious or secular worker

Posted on March 27, 2011
WASHINGTON ? The Supreme Court has said it will decide whether a teacher at a church-run school is a religious or secular worker when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The high court today agreed to hear an appeal from Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School of Redford, Mich...

Amish, state square off over safety triangles for buggies

Posted on March 26, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ? An argument over whether a state law requiring bright orange safety triangles to be displayed on certain slow-moving vehicles violates religious freedom came before the Kentucky Court of Appeals late last week. A lawyer for nine Amish men from western Kentucky argued before the court on March 24 that they should not have to put the symbols on their horse-drawn buggies...

N.J. toll takers accuse officials of retaliation

Posted on March 25, 2011
TRENTON, N.J. ? A union representing highway toll collectors is suing the New Jersey Turnpike Authority over attempts to privatize their jobs. The federal lawsuit, filed March 24, claims the workers? First Amendment rights were violated when the Turnpike Authority eliminated a provision giving workers a ?right of first refusal? to privatized jobs...

Federal court throws out lawsuit over ethics-probe leak

Posted on March 24, 2011
DETROIT — A judge dismissed a lawsuit yesterday by a former terrorism prosecutor who accused the U.S. Justice Department of violating privacy law by leaking details of an ethics investigation to the Detroit Free Press. Richard Convertino cannot show that the government acted willfully and illegally without knowing the identity of the leaker, said U...

6th Circuit: Man who called cop a 'fat slob' can sue over arrest

Posted on March 24, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ? Calling a police officer a "fat slob" is not an offense that can usually get someone charged, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday, allowing a lawsuit over the arrest to go forward. Kevin O. Kennedy sued the city of Villa Hills, Ky...

Utah House votes to repeal open-records changes

Posted on March 24, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House has voted to repeal changes to the state?s open-records law that exempts text messages from public scrutiny and increases the cost of records requests. House Bill 1001 now moves to the Senate after passing 60-3 through on today...

Minn. high court rebuffs plan to allow cameras in criminal trials

Posted on March 23, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS ? News cameras remain all but banned in Minnesota criminal proceedings after the state Supreme Court recently turned back a push by news-media organizations for greater access. But the high court opened the door a crack by agreeing to allow cameras into civil cases for a two-year test starting July 1...

Texas bill would bar officials from texting during meetings

Posted on March 23, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas ? A Texas lawmaker wants to ban e-mails, text messages and Internet postings by city and state leaders when they are doing the public?s business. A bill by Rep. Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi would amend the Texas Open Meetings Act. The proposal, H...

Sponsors propose amendment to Tenn. Shariah bill

Posted on March 22, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ? Opponents of legislation that would make it a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah say a proposed amendment that strips out any reference to a specific religion would make the measure tougher to fight in court if it passes...

Judge rejects settlement between Google, book industry

Posted on March 22, 2011
NEW YORK ? A federal judge yesterday rejected a deal between Internet search leader Google and the book industry that would have put millions of volumes online, citing anti-trust concerns and the need for involvement from Congress while acknowledging the potential benefit of putting literature in front of the masses...

Calif. judge to school district: Count signatures on charter petition

Posted on March 22, 2011
COMPTON, Calif. ? A Superior Court judge has ruled that the Compton Unified School District violated parents' First Amendment rights by imposing an onerous signature-verification process on a disputed parent petition for a charter school. On March 21, Judge Anthony J...

Justices turn away GOP challenge to campaign-finance rules

Posted on March 21, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won't hear a Republican-backed challenge of federal campaign-finance restrictions. The Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal by former U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana and the Republican National Committee...

Full 9th Circuit refuses to rehear Stolen Valor Act case

Posted on March 21, 2011
PASADENA, Calif. ? A federal appeals court yesterday refused to review an earlier ruling by three of its members that a law making it illegal to lie about being a military hero violates free speech. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision strikes down the so-called Stolen Valor Act passed by Congress in 2006...

Utah governor calls special session on new open-records law

Posted on March 21, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature will meet in a special session on March 25 to consider the repeal of a new open records law that exempts text messages from public scrutiny and increases the cost of records requests. Gov. Gary Herbert issued the special session call last night, only a few hours after House Republicans voted in a closed caucus to support the repeal of House Bill 477...

High court won't consider halting Fed release of loan data

Posted on March 20, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today decided not to stop the release of Federal Reserve Board documents identifying financial companies that received Fed loans to survive the financial crisis. The high court, without comment, refused to hear an appeal from an association of bankers trying to keep the information from becoming public...

Mich. high court sides with Dr. Dre in spat over concert footage

Posted on March 20, 2011
DETROIT ? Detroit officials who were backstage at a concert featuring hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and Eminem had no right to privacy when they confronted organizers in a videotaped exchange that turned up on a DVD, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled late last week...

Domain '.xxx' approved for porn websites

Posted on March 20, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO — You've heard of ".com" and ".org." Joining them soon will be their bawdy cousin: ".xxx." On March 18, the board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the Internet's naming system, approved the creation of a red-light district online for pornographic websites...

Hawaii bill targeting visitor guides violates free speech, critics say

Posted on March 20, 2011
HONOLULU — A bill moving through the Hawaii Legislature would require the authors of visitor guidebooks or websites about Hawaii to warn readers of potentially hazardous conditions at any recommended site located on private land. State lawmakers are seeking to reduce the number of injuries and deaths that occur when sightseers venture onto private property that may be unsafe, but critics have warned their approach infringes on free-speech protections...

Tenn. lawmaker calls on college to punish Capitol protesters

Posted on March 19, 2011
NASHVILLE ? State Sen. Randy McNally has urged the University of Memphis to take action against a student group that he said was involved in protests last week at the Capitol that resulted in seven arrests. On March 17, McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said the protests two days earlier were worse than when anti-income tax protesters threw rocks through Capitol windows and banged on the doors of the chamber a decade ago...

Roadblocks, inconsistencies slow Obama's transparency drive

Posted on March 18, 2011
WASHINGTON ? One government agency is still trying to find correspondence for a political reporter between federal officials there and prospective presidential candidates ? from the 2008 election. Another censored 194 pages of internal e-mails about President Barack Obama?s new rules on open government...

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