News & Resources

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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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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