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First Amendment Foundation Wants First Veto

By: flanewscapitol

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First Amendment Foundation Wants First Veto – Video

B. Scott arrives to the 25th Annual GLAAD in Los Angeles in April 2014.

FORTUNE — In August 2013, transgender television personality B. Scott filed a suit against Black Entertainment Television and its parent company Viacom Inc., claiming that the network had discriminated against him based on his gender identity and sexual orientation.

The lawsuit stemmed from Scott’s appearance as a style correspondent at the 2013 BET awards preshow. After his first segment of the night, in which he appeared with heavy makeup and heels, the network told him to tone down his look and change into masculine clothing that was “different from the androgynous style he’s used to … and comfortable with,” according to the complaint.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge decided the case Wednesday, and it came down to theFirst Amendment; not Scott’s freedom to speech and expression, but Viacom’s (VIA).The court found that BET’s decision as to how Scott would appear on camera was part of the network’s creative process of developing and broadcasting the show, which is protected by the First Amendment.

MORE:Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again

The case is by no means the first in which a media company has used the First Amendment as a defenseagainst lawsuits alleging discrimination. The order on Thursday cites several other instances.

There was the racial discrimination case against ABC for its failure to feature non-white contestants on The Bachelorand The Bachelorette. A federal district court in Tennessee dismissed the matter after finding that “casting decisions are a necessary component of any entertainment show’s creative content.” The court said that “the plaintiffs seek to drive an artificial wedge between casting decisions and the end product, which itself is indisputably protected as speech by the First Amendment.”

And there was the lawsuit filed against Warner Bros. by a former writers’ assistant for the television show Friendswho asserted that the use of sexually coarse and vulgar language and conduct by the show’s writers constituted sexual harassment. The Supreme Court of California in that case held that “the First Amendment protects creativity.”

The case thatheld greatestprecedent is a matter in which a group of gay, lesbian, and bisexual Irish Americans sought to participate in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. The U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately heard the case, ruled that it would be a violation of the First Amendment for Massachusetts to require private citizens “who organize a parade to include among the marchers a group imparting a message the organizers do not wish to convey.”

The defendants in these cases arguedthat they didn’t care what their employees or participants are in reality — gay, straight, male, female — but rather how they appear. “They say, ‘We are entitled to create a program that looks the way we want it to look,’” says Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law. And the courts have agreed with them.

Original post:
To kill bias suits, companies lean on the First Amendment



First Amendment Fight – What Legal Options Does Bundy Family Have? – Judge Andrew Napolitano – F F
First Amendment Fight – What Legal Options Does Bundy Family Have? – Judge Andrew Napolitano – Fox Friends Battle Just Beginning – BLM: We Will Move Forwar…

By: Mass Tea Party

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First Amendment Fight – What Legal Options Does Bundy Family Have? – Judge Andrew Napolitano – F&F – Video



WITHOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS MEANINGLESS
The First Amendment is the most important amendment to protect, but it's not being championed like the Second Amendment has been. Without the First Amendment…

By: Terry Anderson

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WITHOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS MEANINGLESS – Video



Floyd Abrams: “On the Front Lines with the First Amendment”
Floyd Abrams, described as “the most significant First Amendment lawyer of our age,” interviewed by Ron Collins at the 2014 Virginia Festival of the Book. Ho…

By: Thomas Jefferson Center

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Floyd Abrams: "On the Front Lines with the First Amendment" – Video

Apr 172014



First Amendment Selfie News
How well do you know the First Amendment and what it really means?

By: Kaitlin Chappell

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First Amendment Selfie News – Video

Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Jason Patric

On Thursday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge will hear a novel First Amendment battle over the extent to which an in vitro father can mention his child’s name.

STORY:CNN Gets First Amendment Victory in Video Captioning Dispute

At the center of the dispute is actor Jason Patric, who has been locked in a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber over their four-year-old son Gus, who was born through artificial insemination. Thanks to California law, which grants the mother full custody unless there is a written agreement establishing parental rights before conception, a judge has denied The Lost Boys star access to his son.

As the custody issue goes to an appellate court next month, Patric has launched an organization called Stand Up for Gus to raise awareness of parental alienation. At a fundraising event last autumn, Matt Damon, Kiefer Sutherland and Jon Hamm were among the celebrities on hand. Patric has also built awareness for the project with interviews on shows like 20/20 and The View. The actor has also established Twitter and Facebook pages that mention and picture Gus.

According to Patty Glaser, one of the Glaser Weil attorneys representing Schreiber, this amounts to a “public relations tirade” from a father who she says didn’t want his name on the birth certificate so as to avoid attention from the paparazzi.

STORY:’Freeway’ Ricky Ross vs. Rick Ross: First Amendment Protects Hip-Hop Persona

Schreiber is now demanding a restraining order. “We are asking him not to use the childs name and likeness for commercial purposes without moms permission,” Glaser tells The Hollywood Reporter.

In the past, celebrities like Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock have been the ones leaning on likeness rights laws to stop the unauthorized use of their fame. Other celebrities have asserted privacy laws to keep the media from intruding upon their space. In this case, it’s the other way around, as the celebrity is the one raising a First Amendment defense.

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Jason Patric's Sperm Spawns First Amendment Battle

FREMONT — In a move that has caught the attention of First Amendment advocates, the City Council has tightened restrictions on political protests at some public events, banning “disruptive conduct” and speech that “disturbs and antagonizes” people.

The new law gives Fremont police more authority to cite or remove those who disturb others at the 100 or more annual public events for which the city issues permits, such as Festival of the Arts or the Niles Antique Faire. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor or issued a citation with a fine, similar to a parking ticket, police said.

City leaders say they will protect First Amendment rights at special events by setting up free-speech zones, sectioned-off areas where advocates can make their points without interfering with the event.

“It protects free speech rights of the participants but also allows the city to control those activities, within reason,” Assistant City Attorney Debra Margolis said.

Although Fremont leaders say they will balance free speech rights with the people’s right to hold public events, an American Civil Liberties Union representative said part of the ordinance could be unconstitutional.

“The problem with laws like this one are they’re written vaguely enough that they sometimes can be used to discriminate against people because of who they are or what they’re saying,” said Michael Risher, an ACLU attorney.

However, a First Amendment law professor said Fremont has the right to manage its special events by reasonably regulating the public’s behavior.

“The ordinance seems to be an acceptable way of doing that,” said UCLA professor Eugene Volokh.

As the city avoids inhibiting the content of free speech, he said, it still can regulate the manner in which public speech is performed. Volokh said he believes the ordinance’s wording is clear and does not invite misinterpretation by police. “In theory, it’s possible,” he said. “In practice, I don’t think it is going to be much of a problem.”

Reports of verbally abusive revelers and political activists disrupting a few festivals last year led to the new policy, said police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques. “Last summer, the complaints we heard were definitely stronger and more compelling than in the past,” she said.

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Fremont tightens 'disruptive' speech restrictions

HAMPTON, Va. The Virginia Community College System has agreed to alter its free speech policy as a means to settle a lawsuit with a Christian student who was barred from preaching the Gospel on campus last fall.

As previously reported, last fall, student Christian Parks publicly preached the Gospel on four different occasions in a courtyard on the Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) campus.However, the third time Parks preached the Gospel in the campus courtyard, he was confronted by three uniformed police officers from the TNCC Police Department. The officers ordered Parks to stop preaching. Though Parks thought the officers actions were unconstitutional, he complied with their order.

A few days later, Parks began preaching in the same courtyard for the fourth time. Once again, campus police officers silenced him.

Following the second encounter with the campus police, Parks asked TNCC administrators why he was not allowed to preach on the schools campus. He was told that, in order to open-air preach on campus, he would first have to join a registered student organization and then receive permission from TNCC officials four days in advance of any preaching.If Parks did not comply with the regulations, he could be subject to disciplinary actions, including suspension or dismissal.

Therefore, Parks contacted the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for assistance, which filed a lawsuit against the university. Attorneysargued that the schools silencing of Parks preaching is a violation of his First Amendment constitutional rights.

It is repugnant to Mr. Parks that he, as an individual citizen and student at a public community college, must notify the government in order to speak on campus when he feels convicted by his religious faith to speak and preach on campus, the suit contended.

The ACLU of Virginia also criticized the schools speech-limiting policies, writing in aletterto the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) that the schools policies deserve substantial revision.

If accurate, the complaint against VCCS describes a clear violation of the constitutionally protected free speech rights of a community college student, it stated. [W]e urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that a revised demonstration policy that takes into account the free speech rights of students, faculty, staff, and the general public is considered and adopted by the Board without delay.

This week, the Daily Press reported that the system agreed to work out a settlement with Park, which primarily includes altering its free speech policy. The current policy has been suspended while the settlement is reached.

Both parties desire to suspend the current policy in order to allow [Parks] and all other students to speak freely on campus, court documents stated, [C]ounsel for the parties believe that they may be able to reach an amicable settlement in this case.

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Community College to Reach Settlement with Student Barred from Preaching Gospel on Campus

The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards. Christie Hefner established the Awards in 1979, in conjunction with Playboy magazines 25th anniversary, to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans.

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Winners Announced for 2014 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards

FREMONT — In a move that has caught the attention of First Amendment advocates, the City Council on Tuesday tightened restrictions on public demonstrations, as well as other “disruptive conduct” and free speech that “disturbs and antagonizes” people attending special city events on public property.

The ordinance bans anyone preventing others “from viewing, hearing or meaningfully participating in the event,” and cases where “people conduct free speech in a way that … makes special event participants … unable to access or enjoy the event,” a city staff report states.

It also prohibits unauthorized soliciting or sales at events, or the use of bicycles, skates, skateboards or amplified sound equipment, unless approved by terms of a city-issued permit.

“A lot of our special events are festivals with children walking around, and having a skateboard or bike could cause accidents,” Fremont Deputy City Attorney Bronwen Lacey said before the meeting. “It’s about safety and ensuring that people attending the events can participate without disruption.”

The city also would create a Free Speech Zone at such events to allow demonstrations or other political activity without interfering with the event.

“It protects free speech rights of the participants, but also allows the city to control those activities, within reason,” Assistant City Attorney Debra Margolis said.

However, a San Francisco-based American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said that a person’s right to general political activity is protected by law at public events.

“You don’t have to let someone be part of your parade, but you have to allow them to express themselves at it, even if you have a special permit for it,” said Michael Risher, an ACLU senior staff attorney. “The government must allow free speech as long as it’s not disruptive.”

The question is how exactly is “disruptive conduct” being defined.

“It may be permissible to restrict a demonstration of 20 people to a particular area,” Risher said. “But forcing someone who is getting signatures for a petition into a free speech zone would be illegal and unconstitutional, unless the zone is very large, because it restricts their ability to engage in political activity.”

More:
Fremont tightens ordinance restricting 'disruptive' speech at special events

Originally Published: April 15, 2014 10:32 AMModified: April 15, 2014 11:05 AM

Executives at Novi-based Lotus Bancorp Inc. will not be able to claim a First Amendment right to use racist remarks about customers and their banks board members in a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Judge Denise Langford Morris has denied a motion by the defendants’ attorneys to add the claim of a First Amendment privilege in their defense of a lawsuit brought by two bank customers who alleged that racist behavior by the executives violated the law and led, at least in part, to troubles they had in a dispute over a commercial loan.

Wednesday, the judge will hear two motions in the case, one by defense attorneys to dismiss the suit, and the other by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to grant a partial summary judgment.

An attorney for Lotus, Michelle Wezner of the Royal Oak-based law firm of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, had argued last Wednesday that two executives at the bank should be allowed to claim a First Amendment right to send emails describing Asian Indians as chimps and saying they are better dead than alive.

Wezner said the emails werent proof that bank President Neal Searle and Executive Vice President Richard Bauer were unfair in their treatment of customers but were, in part, emotional rantings over frustrations with their Indian board of directors that werent meant to be seen by the general public.

I can be the biggest jerk in the world and say awful, horrible things, but I cant act on it, said Wezner. The emails, she said, indicates they may be jerks, but they didnt act on it. The plaintiffs were treated really well on their loan. All we have is some really awful emails.

Morris denied the motion, saying in part:

The Court, having reviewed the applicable law and being fully advised in the premises, finds that the proposed amendment would be futile because the statements complained of are not entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

In addition, the Court finds that this request, made more than one year after the complaint was filed and after the close of discovery, constitutes an inexcusable delay that would be prejudicial to plaintiffs. It is hereby ordered that defendants motion for leave to file first amended affirmative and special defenses to add (a) First Amendment defense is denied.

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Lotus Bancorp execs' racist emails aren't protected by 1st Amendment, judge rules

Originally Published: April 15, 2014 10:32 AMModified: April 15, 2014 11:05 AM

Executives at Novi-based Lotus Bancorp Inc. will not be able to claim a First Amendment right to use racist remarks about customers and their banks board members in a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Judge Denise Langford Morris has denied a motion by the defendants’ attorneys to add the claim of a First Amendment privilege in their defense of a lawsuit brought by two bank customers who alleged that racist behavior by the executives violated the law and led, at least in part, to troubles they had in a dispute over a commercial loan.

Wednesday, the judge will hear two motions in the case, one by defense attorneys to dismiss the suit, and the other by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to grant a partial summary judgment.

An attorney for Lotus, Michelle Wezner of the Royal Oak-based law firm of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, had argued last Wednesday that two executives at the bank should be allowed to claim a First Amendment right to send emails describing Asian Indians as chimps and saying they are better dead than alive.

Wezner said the emails werent proof that bank President Neal Searle and Executive Vice President Richard Bauer were unfair in their treatment of customers but were, in part, emotional rantings over frustrations with their Indian board of directors that werent meant to be seen by the general public.

I can be the biggest jerk in the world and say awful, horrible things, but I cant act on it, said Wezner. The emails, she said, indicates they may be jerks, but they didnt act on it. The plaintiffs were treated really well on their loan. All we have is some really awful emails.

Morris denied the motion, saying in part:

The Court, having reviewed the applicable law and being fully advised in the premises, finds that the proposed amendment would be futile because the statements complained of are not entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

In addition, the Court finds that this request, made more than one year after the complaint was filed and after the close of discovery, constitutes an inexcusable delay that would be prejudicial to plaintiffs. It is hereby ordered that defendants motion for leave to file first amended affirmative and special defenses to add (a) First Amendment defense is denied.

See the article here:
Lotus bank execs' racist emails aren't protected by 1st Amendment, judge rules

Would that the First Amendment actually said: Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press and centuries from now we solemnly trust these sacred rights will continue to prevail with appropriate application of wisdom and common sense pertinent to their context.

Arguably, there would never even have been a need for Oliver Wendell Holmes to point out that, The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater.

Of course it wouldnt unless free speech were an absolute. It absolutely isnt.

Alas, the Founding Fathers were neither perfect nor perfectly prescient neither John Roberts nor Sheldon Adelson was foreseen.

We do the best we can in 2014 without channeling the enlightened but necessarily Fallible Fathers of 1789. Common sense isnt specifically noted in the Constitution, but we preclude it at our own 21st century risk.

It would be societally embarrassing to add an amendment stipulating common-sense recourse, but a 28th Amendment settling the score on money and free speech would more than suffice. From Citizens United to McCutcheon, the democracy-devolving case is already being made.

Democracy for sale is a clear and present danger and results when the political arena morphs into the purview of billionaire ideologues and vested interests. American exceptionalism shouldnt be disingenuous code for money talks.

Its past time to just flat out say that money is not speech under the First Amendment, any more than corporations are people.

Of course, they arent. But it needs codifying, along with the right to limit what individuals and corporate entities can spend on elections, to pull us back from especially the Super PAC brink.

The time for a common sense, common good, limits-on-obscene spending amendment is upon us. Actually, the Moneyball era is engulfing us.

Go here to see the original:
ONeill: Time for a campaign finance amendment

Tuesday, April 15, 10:22 AM EDT

From The News Service of Florida

The bill (HB 89), which has passed the House and Senate, has drawn widespread attention because it would allow people to show guns or fire warning shots in self-defense if they feel threatened.

The bill also would allow criminal records to be expunged if people are found to have acted legally in self-defense and prosecutors do not pursue charges.

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, wrote to Scott that the bill has grave implications for public oversight of our judicial and criminal justice systems and is contrary to the public interest.

The expunction provision not only limits public oversight, but potentially could serve as a tool for obscuring law enforcement and prosecutorial misconduct, while also hindering the development of court precedence essential to understanding how and when the proposed use of force law applies, Petersen wrote.

View original post here:
First Amendment Foundation asks governor to veto 'warning shot' bill

Celebrations for First Amendment Day began April 14 with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission discussing Iowas advancements of civil rights at Iowa State.

Brooke Miller of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission covered Iowas history, from territory to modern statehood and the struggles of African Americans.

Iowa has a great history of civil rights, Miller said. But the start was a bit rocky.

Miller spoke about the Organic Act, where only free, white, male citizens were entitled to vote or hold office within the territory.

Other topics covered on how Iowa’s civil rights improved included the Act to Regulate Blacks and Mulattoes,” Clark v. Board of Directors, Arabella Mansfield, Coger v. North West Union Packet Co., and the 1875 Federal Civil Rights Act.

Miller also focused on Edna Griffin being heralded as the Rosa Parks of Iowa due to her actions in Des Moines regarding Katz Drug Stores discrimination in 1948, seven years before Rosa Parks’ famous actions.

I think Iowa was more progressive than other states, Miller said in a later interview. But after today, I think education [of these events] would be awesome. The people of Iowa should be proud and should be telling these stories. Its a little bit shocking that people dont know this states history.

The second speaker, Liz Johnson, also a civil rights specialist of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, spoke about the topic of gender identification and the legal repercussions in education and employment.

In her presentation, Lets Talk about More than Sex – Gender Identity and Civil Rights in Iowa, Johnson discussed the issues facing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community in Iowa and the United States.

What is education discrimination? Johnson asked the crowd as she displayed the legal definitions and those protected under the statutory laws.

Continued here:
First Amendment talk focuses on Iowa civil rights

A federal securities rule that requires companies to publicly declare whether certain minerals used in products are "conflict free" violates the First Amendment, a divided federal appeals court in Washington ruled on Monday.

Continued here:
D.C. Circuit Trims SEC ?Conflict Minerals? Disclosure Rule



First Amendment Discussion-The Alicia Marie Phidd Show
Discuss a scenario of a high school student getting suspended for flying a confederate flag.

By: Alicia M Phidd

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First Amendment Discussion-The Alicia Marie Phidd Show – Video

An old-fashioned standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal officials seems to be over now, but the event has started even more talk about the use of First Amendment zones at public protests.

Continued here:
The Nevada cattle standoff and the First Amendment

Unless stronger forces prevail, the U.S. is set to relinquish authority of Internet domain naming and maintenance to an international multistakeholder group next year. The move will endanger First Amendment rights, national security and economic growth.

U.S. control of this space has been critical to protecting the freedom of expression throughout the globe.

But the new governing group includes the governments of Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes with abysmal track records on free speech.

Since the Internets inception, the U.S. has overseen the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which assigns and maintains domain names, ensuring individuals and organizations can act online without political interruption or harassment.

But the Obama administration recently agreed to hand ICANN over to a global community of businesses, public interest groups, academics, businesses and governments. Russia and China have postured for this for years.

ICANN head Fadi Chehade said all governments are welcome to be involved in the organizations new rules, and its diverse stakeholders deserve a voice in its governance.

But only countries with constitutional protections for free speech should be in charge of ensuring access to the Internet.

Authoritarian regimes and dictators will suppress human rights and breach international diplomacy with new power, just as they do in other areas of rule. In the past, Saudi Arabia tried to outlaw such domain names as .gay, .bible, .islam and .wine.

Under U.S. control these actions were stopped. But one can only imagine Vladimir Putins response to a website encouraging Ukrainians to protest his actions.

The new groups March meeting in Singapore was less than transparent. Few reports are public, and it is clear theres no plan to keep despots from engaging in censorship.

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Editorial: Global web governance threatens free speech



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