News & Resources

Turning Courtroom Discontent Into Raw Social Media Hostility in the Digital Public Square Gets Florida Attorney Nowhere

Since February 27, Florida lawyer Ashley Ann Krapacs has been suspended from practicing law in the state until further notice. She claims First Amendment protection.  The Florida Bar and Supreme Court of Florida point out that even the First Amendment has limits, and especially so when attorneys licensed by the state engage in threatening or demeaning speech. Unhappy with the results of a case, she reportedly launched an “attack of massive and continuous proportions” via […]

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Appeals Court Strikes Florida County Prayer Policy

“Secular invocations . . . from any organization whose precepts, tenets or principles espouse or promote reason, science, environmental factors, nature or ethics as guiding forces…must be placed on the Public Comment section of the secular business agenda.  Pre-meeting invocations shall continue to be delivered by persons from the faith-based community . . .” If this recent local government policy makes you bristle, then you already have a good understanding of the Establishment Clause, a […]

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Student Newspaper Puts Journalism Protections to the Test

In 2013, the University of Massachusetts Boston student paper The Mass Media published an article titled, “Have You Seen This Man?” to help local police follow up on a case of a report of the man suspiciously photographing women on campus.  The news report was based upon a police incident report — a traditional source of information important to communities about public safety. Then, upon investigation, police cleared the man and found no reason to […]

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Appeals Court Affirms That Elected Officials Can’t Block Critics on Twitter

Questions on First Amendment rights violations in the new digital public square continue to circulate in the lower court systems across the country.  However, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently solidified the precedent that social media accounts of elected officials (specifically President Trump’s Twitter account, in one case) can be public or private — not both. And don’t think the President is alone in responding to unflattering tweets with attempts to block dissenters; […]

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Here We Go Again… Is Flipping the Bird Protected by the First Amendment?

Are you getting a sense of déjà vu just reading the headline? Maybe that’s because of this story we blogged about previously. Or even this one — which we dealt with twice! Well, our current story of flipping the bird does not involve a religious sermon or the Commander-in-Chief. Instead, we have an angry woman and a thin-skinned police officer. Back in June of 2017, Michigan police officer Matthew Minard stopped Debra Cruise-Gulyas for speeding. […]

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It’s Your First Amendment Right to Follow Elected Officials on Social Media, Rules Virginia Court

The Obama era was the first time that social media was truly recognized by elected officials as an effective tool for communicating directly with the public. Because it’s relatively new on the political scene, there are not many precedents set for how social media can lawfully be used by elected officials. However, those precedents are popping up – and quickly. Two Cases: One Open, One Shut Three years ago this month, a court ruled that […]

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