News & Resources

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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Supreme Court: Our Right to Criticize and Petition the Government Remains Fundamental

From the earliest days of our Nation, criticizing government officials without retribution has been a hallmark of the freedoms our Founders determined as essential to our democracy. At the same time, those who serve in public office deserve respect and must be able to conduct the public’s business in an orderly manner. When these two principles are in conflict, which one prevails? That’s one of the questions the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to consider […]

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Why the NFL and ABC Are Free to Squelch the Free Speech of Football Players and Roseanne

Roseanne’s racist tweet. Kneeling football players. These recent events have caused people on both the right and left to express concerns about freedom of speech and expression in the United States. But these concerns are based on a misunderstanding. The truth is neither case invokes protections against denying free speech rights. That’s because the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees limit the government, not private individuals or institutions. It is virtually impossible for the NFL or the ABC […]

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Mr. President, Unblock Your Twitter Account

A single tweet from President Trump is often fodder for an entire news cycle. It can completely change the national conversation and take over the public discourse. But what if the Tweeter-in-Chief blocks you from his conversations because you disagree with his ideas? When President Trump started to block the accounts of his critics, it sparked a controversy – and multiple lawsuits. Many of those blocked users felt their First Amendment rights were being violated. […]

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The Risk of Public Statements about Someone’s Behavior

With apologies to my academic friends: it is sometimes said that arguments in academia are especially vehement because the stakes are so low. However, from the perspective of Florida community college professor Isabel Del Pino-Allen, the stakes in her defamation lawsuit against a fellow professor are very high: her employment and reputation. Del Pino-Allen sued Juan Santelises for slander after the fellow professor allegedly made numerous false, malicious, and defamatory claims to the administration of […]

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Open Government and the Importance of Lobbyists’ Transparency

Open government is the best government, and we are fortunate that Florida has some of the strongest open records laws and policies in the country. Though not perfect, they do a good job of promoting a more transparent and accountable government. One such policy began in 2016 when Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, implemented new House rules. The new rules require lobbyists to register and publicly disclose who they’re lobbying for and what […]

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