News & Resources

Tolerating Incivility Is the Price We Pay for Freedom, Says Judge

After the Stoneman Douglas shooting last year, long-time Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer received emails that would horrify and disgust most people. Graphic images of gunshot wounds inflicted by the shooter. Language described as “vile,” “harassing,” and “threatening.” Rather than be cowed by the emails, Hammer fought back by filing a harassment lawsuit against the men who sent them, including California lawyer Laurence Sorensen, seeking money damages. Sorensen moved to dismiss the lawsuit. Ms. Hammer’s […]

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Florida First Amendment Sunshine Seminar in Jacksonville

On November 29, 2018, I had the pleasure of helping to present during a recent Florida First Amendment Sunshine Seminar in Jacksonville. Members of the news media and representatives from local governments attended the event to learn more about complying with laws on open meetings and public records in Florida. The seminar, which took place at the Florida Times-Union headquarters, was hosted in part by the First Amendment Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists-Florida, and the […]

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Appeals Court Says Fort Lauderdale Food Sharing Protected Under the First Amendment

Like many cities, Fort Lauderdale’s homeless population has grown in recent years, resulting in a two very different reactions. One is an attempt to reach out to the homeless community and offer help, as exemplified by the weekly meals at Stranahan Park offered by a group calling itself Food Not Bombs. At the same time, there is a feeling of frustration from visitors and local businesses over some aspects of the increasing homeless population. Cities […]

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The Difference Between Speech and Press: Where They Do and Don’t Overlap

Freedom of speech and freedom of press are covered by many of the same laws. And both concepts are covered under the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Together, they can be referred to […]

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Will Sun Sentinel Face Consequences for Revealing Redacted Info on Nikolas Cruz?

After the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there was an investigation into how effectively the school district provided counseling and education services to shooter Nikolas Cruz in the months leading up to the horrific crimes he is charged with—murdering 17 students. When the investigation report was prepared, news media organizations—fulfilling their function to report on government operations and effectiveness—pushed to obtain copies of the report. The judge on Cruz’s case agreed that […]

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Judge Confirms: You Can Be Fired for Flipping Off the President without Violating Your First Amendment Rights

At the end of last year, I shared about the case of Juli Briskman, who was photographed flipping the bird at President Trump’s motorcade. Her company, which oversees government contractors, fired her after she shared the photo on social media. Briskman then filed a wrongful termination claim. Now we know the outcome of that claim. As I expected, freedom of speech did not help Briskman get her job back. The First Amendment protects us from […]

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