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‘1st Amendment retaliation’ / Butter up / Netflix takes the 1st
The First Amendment, journalism and America

‘First Amendment retaliation.’ That’s one of the allegations in a federal lawsuit filed today against Kenosha, Wis., authorities by the parents of a man killed when armed civilians and protesters clashed last summer.
The suit complains police “deputized these armed individuals, conspired with them, and ratified their actions by letting them patrol the streets, armed with deadly weapons, to mete out justice as they saw fit.”
A Maryland man is suing the state, complaining it unconstitutionally fired him after his Facebook posts sympathizing with Kenosha homicide suspect Kyle Rittenhouse.

On campus …
Hey, kids! Free speech! The Free Speech Center and the Poynter Institute are teaming up to get First Amendment education tools into college students’ hands.
The Freedom Forum’s Rick Mastroianni encourages college students to embrace the First: “Take a risk and make a new friend who disagrees with you.”
A federal judge has tossed a First Amendment lawsuit filed by a woman voted out of her vice presidency on the San Francisco school board over her anti-Asian tweets.
A Princeton politics professor ponders the First Amendment implications for limits on University of Iowa professors in the pandemic: “You may only make statements regarding mask usage or vaccinations in the context of course material discussions of health-related issues.”

Butter up. A California creamery has won a First Amendment fight in federal court to keep using dairy terms including “butter,” “cheese” and “lactose-free” on its cashew-based products.
A federal appeals court says an Iowa law designed to protect industrial animal farms from undercover investigations is so broad as to violate the First Amendment.
Animal-rights advocates won a similar fight in Arkansas.

What’s covered, what’s not.
A federal appeals court says Indiana’s corrections department didn’t violate a prisoner’s First Amendment rights in blocking a sexually explicit image sent by his fiancée.
North Dakota’s Supreme Court says the First doesn’t protect a man who sent hundreds of vulgar phone messages to police officers …
 … and a Colorado appeals court says it doesn’t protect a man who sent a musician repeated threatening Facebook messages …

‘Clearly unconstitutional.’ A UCLA law professor is sounding the alarm about a California bill that would threaten jail and fines for those protesting at vaccination sites.
Police have released images of a man sought in connection with a stabbing during a vaccine protest in downtown Los Angeles.

First Amendment ‘weaponization.’ Writing in The Washington Post, a couple of law professors—one from Harvard, one from Boston University—“like the result” of a federal judge’s decision to block a Florida ban on vaccine requirements for cruise ship passengers, but they consider the ruling’s reliance on free-speech rights “worrisome.”

Netflix takes the First. A federal judge says the company’s First Amendment rights won’t keep it from facing a lawsuit filed by an ex-Manhattan prosecutor who says she was defamed as a villain in the docudrama series When They See Us.
Her lawyer cites five scenes that portray her “engaging in coercive and discriminatory conduct … to build a case against innocent young men of color.”


Charlie Meyerson, August 17, 2021


Previously in this newsletter:
Racists’ ‘safe space’ / Historic news / Masks and the 1st
‘An important step forward’ / Posthumous win / ‘Students don’t need a permit’
An ‘assault on democracy’ / ‘Everyone loves my van, except …’ / Which of these events came 1st?
F-bomb shelter / Trump vs. ‘SNL’ / ‘An epidemic of censorship and entitlement’
ACLU in ‘crisis’ / Politicians’ Facebook passes ending? / ‘Ham-handed’

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Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University. All rights reserved.