News & Resources

Ocasio-Cortez Apologizes for Blocking Critic on Twitter

While our courts continue to apply and set precedents for free speech liberties in the digital age, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is receiving accolades for her handling of the First Amendment violation suit against her for blocking a critic on Twitter.  And you’ll never guess where the praise is coming from: the Knight First Amendment Institute. That’s right — the same organization that filed suit against President Donald Trump for blocking critics from his Twitter […]

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Sarah Palin Revives Lawsuit Against NY Times 

In 2017, the New York Times published an article regarding a printed map Sarah Palin’s political action committee distributed. It included superimposed images of crosshairs over Democratic congressional districts to be challenged in future elections. As I wrote then, Sarah Palin filed a defamation suit against the New York Times based on the article’s implicit connection between her PAC’s map and an Arizona mass shooting. The trial court dismissed her lawsuit based on an early […]

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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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