Most free-speech cases are complicated. For instance, a case regarding free speech in Yakima, WA rests on the intersection of protection against discrimination and public safety. A local furniture business owner sued the city and several public employees, alleging that the city persecuted him with fire code inspections and violations after he opposed a city plan to replace a parking lot with a downtown plaza. The city argues that the temporal proximity of the business […]Continue Reading
I have posted about anti-SLAPP laws. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Often brought by public figures or organizations with greater power and resources, anti-SLAPP lawsuits are filed with the unstated purpose of silencing critical First Amendment rights. The unstated message is: “You don’t really believe this is a case of defamation. You’re just trying to chill my speech in legal fees and red tape.” Anti-SLAPP laws empower defendants to call the plaintiff’s […]Continue Reading
Since the 2020 elections, public records requests to elections agencies have increased exponentially. Elections officials say that people who believe they will find evidence of voter and election fraud have caused the increase. Elections officials say the increased workload is a concern and there are instances of threats to election workers. Nonetheless, they are working to meet the need. After all, transparency should help answer questions about election fraud in order to uphold the integrity […]Continue Reading
Consider this from First Amendment history: In August 1977, Deborah Lipp won a First and Fourteenth Amendment case against the principal of her New Jersey public school and the state attorney general arising from her refusal to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance at school. Check out the First Amendment case: Deborah Lipp. Lipp was 16 at the time and had recently moved to a new school. She believed that some aspects of the […]Continue Reading
Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act” Does Not Survive First Amendment Scrutiny
If speech makes people uncomfortable, should it be restricted? Would such a restriction be a violation of First Amendment law? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s Individual Freedom Act (IFA), also known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” provoked these questions with its enactment in early July. Three Florida-based individuals – two employers and a consultant – joined together to request an injunction of this law, because it prevented them from holding mandatory diversity and inclusion training in […]Continue Reading
Edward Birk elected to the Florida First Amendment Foundation’s Board of Trustees!
Congratulations to First Amendment attorney Edward Birk for being named to the Florida First Amendment Foundation’s Board of Trustees! The First Amendment Foundation believes that government openness and transparency are critical to citizen trust and involvement in our democratic society. Through ongoing monitoring of the state’s public records and open meetings laws, and the education of government officials and the citizens they serve about those laws, the Foundation promotes the public’s constitutional right to oversee and to […]Continue Reading