News & Resources

The First Amendment and the “Purported Fan” Who Posted an Ugly and Hateful Image of FSU Coach Being Lynched

On November 24, the FSU Seminoles lost to the Florida Gators 42-14, giving the football team a 5-7 record and making them ineligible for a bowl game for the first time in over 30 years. Following that loss, a man named Tom Shand posted an image in a Facebook group of FSU’s head coach – an African American – being lynched. There was an immediate outcry from others in the Facebook group, leading the creator […]

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CNN’s Jim Acosta Banned from – Then Restored to – the White House Briefing Room

According to the White House, CNN’s Jim Acosta was banned from the briefing room for “unacceptable” conduct, including “yanking back” when a staffer tried to grab the microphone. The White House Correspondents Association didn’t see it that way. They issued a statement calling President Trump’s decision “out of line” and argued it was made “to punish a reporter with whom [he] has a difficult relationship.” CNN quickly made an emergency request in court to temporarily […]

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

After the 2018 Stoneman Douglas shooting, 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 attorneys […]

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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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