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Opinion/Editorial: First Amendment matters, must be applied equally – The Daily Progress

There is a powerful photograph circulating online from the July 8 Ku Klux Klan rally of an African-American Charlottesville police officer stoically standing at a crowd-control barrier, with robed Klansmen milling behind him.

That moment in time is the Constitution in action.

Some activists have been outraged that the city agreed to let the Klan hold a rally on public land and then protected them with law enforcement. Others even see it as a tacit government endorsement or extension of white supremacy.

But as repulsive and morally bankrupt as the Klan is, the city had no choice under the First Amendment.

This is a critical distinction.

The law, the Constitution,mustbe applied equally to all even (perhaps especially) toward those with whom we disagree.

Otherwise, what are we saying? That the law shall beunequallyenforced? That some people or some groups get a pass, while others do not?

This is precisely the kind of bias that the law is designed to prevent.

Ironically, once upon a time it was groups such as the Klan that received favoritism, while civil-rights protesters were met with officially sanctioned, even brutal resistance.

Through liberal, progressive new legislation such as laws banning the wearing of masks (i.e., KKK hoods) and through decades of efforts to ensure that the First Amendment is indeed applied more evenly, we have reached todays pivot point: Now it is the Klan that is the minority and the progressives who are the majority.

And, yes, the Constitution still protects the rights of the minority, even when we are disgusted by minority viewpoints.

Free speech is a two-way street. If we do not, in our time, protect the overriding value of free speech for all, then censorship may be turned againstuswhen the political pendulum next swings left or right.

If the Supreme Court overturned reams of jurisprudence and declared that hate speech was no longer a First Amendment right, conservative-leaning censorship could become law. Flag desecration and blasphemy could be barred, as well as vociferous attacks against government entities like law enforcement and the military.

This isn't all that far-fetched: Louisiana last year became the first state to offer police hate crime protections.

Wearea nation of laws: the Constitution, as well as law and order.

This is no new development. There are decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedents confirming that offensive or even hateful protest speech has First Amendment safeguards, as long as there is no "imminent lawless action."

Some rulings involve the Klan itself, including a 2003 case that overturned most of Virginia's ban on cross burning.

The court summed it up in 1989 over flag burning: "The Government may not prohibit the verbal or nonverbal expression of an idea merely because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable."

If the city refused to grant a permit to the Klan for its rally, when it would grant one to any other group, then officials would assuredly be sued for content-based censorship and bias. The ACLU, which many Trump administration foes gladly donated to after the election, would proudly join as a plaintiff.

Free speech isn't free metaphorically and literally.

Taxpayers may bemoan that police were used for something as abhorrent as a Klan rally and that road closures were imposed.But this is precisely why we have and fund peacekeeping forces: to protect, and to restrain protesters of all stripes from mob rule.

We are not at all saying that peaceful champions of social justice are on the same moral tangent as white supremacists.

But the First Amendment is the best remedy for the First Amendment and that's the way it should be.

More here:

Opinion/Editorial: First Amendment matters, must be applied equally - The Daily Progress

Nott: Our love-hate relationship with the First Amendment – Danville Commercial News

Common practice for liberals and conservatives now is to take turns calling each other enemies of the First Amendment. The results of this years State of the First Amendment survey gave us the opportunity to consider these insults and after the numbers are crunched, who is the real enemy of the First Amendment?

Well, no one. And, everyone.

Most of our fellow citizens, regardless of their political ideology, are quite fond of the First Amendment, at least in the abstract. The people who think that the First Amendment goes too far are a minority 22.5 percent of us. A majority of Americans (67.7 percent) think that the press plays an important role as a watchdog on government; a slightly narrower majority (58.8 percent) thinks that freedom of religion should extend to all religious groups, even those widely considered extreme or fringe.

Thats the good news: Even in a time of great political turmoil, were generally supportive of the First Amendments protections.

The bad news: When it comes down to specific applications of the First Amendment, were less positive, and also deeply divided along ideological lines. Both liberals and conservatives have certain pain points where they balk at the amount of protection that the First Amendment provides.

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to think:

Colleges should be able to ban speakers with controversial views.

People should not be able to express racist comments on social media.

Meanwhile, conservatives are more likely than liberals to think:

Government officials who leak information to the press should be prosecuted.

Journalists should not be able to publish information obtained illegally, even if it serves the public interest.

Government should be able to determine which media outlets can attend briefings.

Government should be able to hold Muslims to a higher standard of scrutiny.

Worth noting: Some of these differences in attitude may not be a direct result of whether youre a liberal or a conservative; instead, they might be circumstantial. Do more liberals support press freedoms because thats a core value of liberal ideology or because the press is a watchdog on the government, which liberals dont currently control?

Do more conservatives think that colleges shouldnt be able to ban speakers because of a greater commitment to free speech or because most banned speakers, at least in recent years, have tended to be conservative? It will be interesting to see in subsequent years if attitudes change as circumstances change.

One thing that unites the majority of Americans right now: Most of us, liberals and conservatives, prefer to read or listen to news that aligns with our own views.

Thats true even if you think that the news media reports with a bias, as most Americans do (56.8 percent). Apparently, were not inclined to correct that bias by taking in multiple and varied news sources. Instead, were more likely to double down on the news that fits in with our pre-existing ideological perspectives.

This finding is both obvious and disheartening: Everyone likes reading and hearing news that confirms what they already believed. Thats one of the factors that keep us so divided.

Lata Nott is executive director of the First Amendment Center of the Newseum Institute. Contact her via email at lnott@newseum.org, or follow her on Twitter at @LataNott.

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Nott: Our love-hate relationship with the First Amendment - Danville Commercial News

‘First amendment of the internet’: what is net neutrality and why is it at risk? – The Guardian

Net neutrality activists in Washington. The Trump administration is trying to overturn Obama-era regulations that protected it. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

About 200 internet companies and activist groups are coming together this week to mobilize their users into opposing US government plans to scrap net neutrality protections.

The internet-wide day of action, scheduled for Wednesday 12 July, will see companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Vimeo, Spotify, Reddit and Pornhub notify their users that net neutrality a founding principle of the open internet is under attack. The Trump administration is trying to overturn Obama-era regulation that protected net neutrality, and there is less than a week left for people to object.

Just as the internet came together in a blackout to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in 2012, many websites will on Wednesday feature a prominent message on their homepage, showing visitors what the web would look like without net neutrality and urging them to contact Congress. But what exactly is net neutrality, why is it under threat, and what can individuals do to protect it?

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyones data equally whether thats an email from your mother, a bank transfer or a streamed episode of The Handmaids Tale. It means that ISPs dont get to choose which data is sent more quickly, and which sites get blocked or throttled (for example, slowing the delivery of a TV show because it is streamed by a video company that competes with a subsidiary of the ISP) and who has to pay extra. For this reason, some have described net neutrality as the first amendment of the internet.

Net neutrality is basically the principle that keeps the internet open. Without it, big cable companies will be able to slow down certain websites and pick winners and losers on the internet, said Mark Stanley from Demand Progress, one of the activist groups organizing the day of action.

ISPs, such as Verizon, Comcast, Charter, Verizon, CenturyLink and Cox, provide you with access to the internet. Content companies include Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. In some cases, ISPs are also content providers: for example, Comcast owns NBCUniversal and delivers TV shows through its Xfinity internet service.

In February 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to more strictly regulate ISPs and to enshrine in law the principles of net neutrality.

The vote reclassified wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers as title II common carriers, a public utility-type designation that gives the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors and more closely regulate the industry.

Net neutrality is the principle that keeps the internet open. Without it big cable companies can pick winners and losers

The internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet, said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler at the time. Its simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.

Two years on, Trumps new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has pushed to overturn the 2015 order. On 18 May, the FCC voted to support a new proposal that would repeal the order and started a 90-day period in which members of the public could comment. The deadline for feedback is 17 July, after which the FCC has to provide reply comments by 16 August, before a final vote later in the year.

Content providers including Netflix, Apple and Google. They argue that people are already paying for connectivity and so deserve access to a quality experience.

Mozilla, the not-for-profit company behind the Firefox web browser, is a vocal supporter, and argues that net neutrality allows for creativity, innovation and economic growth.

More than 800 startups, investors and other people and organizations sent a letter to Pai that read: Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market. They could impede traffic from our services in order to favor their own services or established competitors. Or they could impose new tolls on us, inhibiting consumer choice.

Many consumers support the rules to protect the openness of the internet. Some of them may have been swayed by Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, who pointed out that there are multiple examples of ISP fuckery over the years so restrictions are important.

Big broadband companies including AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Cox. They argue that the rules are too heavy-handed and will stifle innovation and investment in infrastructure. These firms have filed a series of lawsuits challenging the FCCs authority to impose net neutrality rules.

Publicly, however, the message is different. Verizon released an odd video insisting that they were not trying to kill net neutrality rules and that pro-net neutrality groups are using the issue to fundraise.

Comcast also launched a Twitter campaign insisting it supported net neutrality.

Yes. Opponents dont like the idea of putting the federal government at the center of the internet when, as Pai has said, nothing is broken.

The new FCC chairman argues that the 2015 rules were established on hypothetical harms and hysterical prophecies of doom and that they are generally bad for business.

Its basic economics. The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it youre likely to get, he said.

The big broadband companies publicly state they are quibbling the title II common carrier designation rather than net neutrality per se. They believe they shouldnt be regulated in the same way that telecommunications services are, and prefer the light-touch regulation they would otherwise be subject to under their previous title I designation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The FCC lacks the direct authority to regulate title I information services.

Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund and Demand Progress have teamed up to create the Battle for the Net campaign. They have signed up almost 200 participants in the day of action, and created explainer videos, banner advertisements, tools and suggested messaging for communicating with users en masse about why net neutrality matters.

Trumps Republican party is friendly to big corporations even if it leads to the unfettered accumulation of corporate power.

Its the second major rollback of Obama-era internet protections. In March, Congress voted to allow ISPs to sell the browsing habits of their customers to advertisers. The move, which critics charge will fundamentally undermine consumer privacy in the US, overturned rules drawn up by the FCC that would have given people more control over their personal data. Without the rules, ISPs dont have to get peoples consent before selling their data including their browsing histories to advertisers and others.

Tell the FCC and Congress to protect the open web through BattleForTheNet.com, or through one of the widgets on many popular websites on Wednesday.

See the original post:

'First amendment of the internet': what is net neutrality and why is it at risk? - The Guardian

A Small Town in Pennsylvania Is Treading on This Naval Officer’s … – ACLU (blog)

Lieutenant Commander Joshua Corney, an active duty naval officer who lives in rural Pennsylvania, returned from combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan with a promise. As he settled back into life stateside, he wanted to offer a meaningful tribute to his fellow service members especially those who never had the chance to come home.

So, in 2015, he started playing a recording of taps a military bugle call most often heard at sunset and at military funerals on his five-acre property in Glen Rock, a small town of 2,000 people near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. Every evening before 8:00 p.m., Lt. Commander Corney would offer the musical testament to all who have served.

I play this audio memorial in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice as well as those who continue to serve and protect our country and freedoms, said Lt. Commander Corney, who is represented by lawyers from the ACLU of Pennsylvania. It is a way to honor a promise I made to God by taking 57 seconds each day to reflect on sacrifices made 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to obtain and sustain our freedoms."

For nearly two years, his tribute went on with little controversy. The borough allows other music to be amplified on a regular basis, including church hymns and bells and live performances at a local restaurant. At less than a minute long, the recording of taps was one of the boroughs shorter pieces of amplified music. When one neighbor approached Lt. Commander Corney about a year ago to ask if he could turn down the volume, Corney accommodated the request by reorienting the speakers away from the neighbors home. But this spring, the controversy erupted when another neighbor complained to the borough.

This controversy is a reminder that no matter who you are or your station in life, you may need the Constitution.

In response, the borough ordered Corney to limit the playing of taps to Sundays and what it termed flag holidays. Each violation of the boroughs order would bring a criminal fine of 300 dollars. But the boroughs enforcement action involves two big constitutional no-nos: the hecklers veto and content-based censorship.

The borough is relying on a nuisance ordinance that prohibits sound that annoys or disturbs others. In a patriotic town like Glen Rock, which is home to many military veterans, its no surprise that Lt. Commander Corney has many supporters. But a single complaint triggered the enforcement action. If a heckler could shut down anyone who said or played something that annoyed or offended them by complaining to government officials, freedom of speech would be no more. For more than 75 years, it has been black letter First Amendment law that the government cannot censor speech simply because it is not universally appreciated.

Moreover, the borough cannot use its vague nuisance ordinance to single out only Lt. Commander Corneys musical expression for censorship from the range of sounds that are part of the boroughs regular sonic landscape. The borough has not ordered Lt. Commander Corney to lower the volume of taps or claimed he has violated a noise-level ordinance.

And it could not claim such a violation because the recording neither exceeds any established noise levels nor is it as loud as many other sounds the borough tolerates including many sounds that do not communicate a message, like lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and vehicles. Censoring clearly protected expression, like taps, for being too loud, while allowing louder sounds that carry no constitutionally protected message turns the First Amendment on its head.

The borough has decided that taps alone, among the other musical sounds in the borough, must be silenced. The borough may not make this type of content-based distinction without some compelling reason, which doesnt exist in this situation.

Last week, the ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a letter to the borough council to insist that Glen Rock drop its threat to fine Lt. Commander Corney and honor his First Amendment right to free expression. The dispute is not yet resolved, but on Friday the borough indicated that it would review the ACLUs demand at its regularly scheduled July 19 meeting. In the meantime, Lt. Commander Corney will resume his nightly ritual.

Free-speech cases often arise in unusual settings. Some people may be surprised that a servicemans broadcast of taps a song widely regarded as patriotic and intended to honor the sacrifices of those who place themselves in harms way to fight for our constitutional rights would end up being the focus of a First Amendment censorship battle. This controversy is a reminder that no matter who you are or your station in life, you may need the Constitution.

Excerpt from:

A Small Town in Pennsylvania Is Treading on This Naval Officer's ... - ACLU (blog)

U.S. Court of Appeals sides with First Amendment right to video … – Poynter (blog)

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of journalists and ordinary bystanders video recording police. The three-judges appellate panel ruled in the cases of a Temple University student, Richard Fields and Amanda Geraci, who was a member of a police watchdog group in Philadelphia called Up Against the Law.

It was a case that drew a "friend of the court"brief from The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and was joined by 31 other media organizations including the National Press Photographers Association, Radio Television Digital News Association, The Associated Press, Gannett, McClatchy, NPR, The New York Times, The Online News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. The groups argued that the right to video-record police in a public place is a First Amendment right. And if the police could stop a bystander from recording an officer in a public place, then police could stop journalists too.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuits on behalf of Fields and Geraci.TheU.S. District Judge Mark A. Kearney ruledthat in order to be protected by the First Amendmentthe videographer had to announce that he or she wasrecordingas an act of protest or challenge to police. The ACLU said sometimes it is not possible to know whether a recording will be useful until after the recording is over. So the ACLU appealed the lower court ruling.

Government operates best in sunlight, and the police are not an exception, Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania,said on the ACLU website.

Mickey Osterreicher, a former photojournalist and now counsel for NPPA explained to Poynter why this decision is so important:

"The opinion in Fields by the Third Circuit adds to the growing number of U.S. Court of Appeals decisions affirming the First Amendment rights of citizens and journalists to photograph and record police performing their official duties in a public place, as being 'clearly established.' This is extremely important for a number of reasons," he said.

"The Third Circuit was the only U.S. Court of Appeals that had held in a 2010 case (Kelly v. Borough of Carlisle), that 'the claimed right was not clearly established.' When police interfere with, harass or arrest people who are doing nothing more than photographing or recording while standing in a place where they have a legal right to be present (such as a public sidewalk or park), citizens and journalists may bring a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the department for violating their constitutional rights. Police, in turn, then may assert the defense of'qualified immunity' against such claims."

Osterreicher explained why it helps to have more than one appellate court to agree that journalists have First Amendment right to record police:

"In order to overcome that 'qualified immunity' defense, plaintiffs must show that they were engaged in a constitutionally protected activity that was 'clearly established' at the time of the incident. The only way for that to be substantiated is for the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. Court of Appeals or a federal district court having jurisdiction over the area where the incident took place to have previously articulated that right as being clearly established beforehand so that any reasonable police officer would know that what they were doing was unconstitutional," he said. "The Supreme Court has so far declined to hear such a case but every Circuit Court of Appeals to address this issue (First, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh and now the Third,) has held that such a clearly established right exists. By those courts doing so, police in those jurisdictions may not successfully use qualified immunity in their defense."

Osterreicher said at least once a week, and sometimes more often, he hears from a photojournalist or newsroom who police have ordered to stop recording. It's a problem nationwide, he said, even in those jurisdictions where courts have already ruled in favor of constitutional protection for recording.

"When arrests occur, the charges are usually disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, obstruction of governmental administration, loitering or some other discretionary charge because there are almost no circumstances under which photography or recording itself may be classified as a crime," he said.

In their Amicus brief, the media organizations pointed out that recordings of police have become critical evidence in cases as far back at the Rodney King case in 1991 as well as more recent cases in South Carolina, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota and California.

The brief went on to point out how often bystanders record video that makes news: "With the ubiquity of mobile phones that contain high-tech cameras, video content generated by witnesses and bystanders has become a common component of news programming. A 2014 study of eight international 24-hour news channels found that 'an average of 11 pieces of [user-generated content] were used every day on television by [the] news organizations [studied].' Another study of eight popular news websites uncovered that the sites collectively used 237 items of citizen-created video per day, with The New York Times using on average 20 pieces per day."

I asked Osterreicher what advice he gives to photojournalists when police attempt to stop them from recording:

A police officer may not tell you to stop photographing or recording if you are in a public place where you have a legal right to be present but that does not mean that they will not still do so. That is because the right to photograph and record is a First Amendment protected activity which may only be limited by reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. The most common of those restrictions are location. If a police officer orders you to move it is advisable to comply with the request. How far you move is something that you will have to decide for yourself. If you believe that the order is not a reasonable one, ask to speak to a supervisor or the public information officer if that is possible. It is important to be very aware that most police officers do not like to be questioned or challenged once they have told you to do (or not do) something and a mere hesitation, question or request may result in your detention or arrest. Only you can make that judgment call as to what to do. Whatever you do remain polite and professional and keep recording as it may be the only evidence to support your claim if you are arrested. If possible work in pairs so that of you are unable to record your partner can.

Police may only seize your images and/or recording device (cell phone, camera, etc.) only under certain conditions known as 'exigent circumstances.' If they do so without satisfying the exigent circumstances requirements they may also have violated your civil rights against unreasonable search and seizure protected under the Fourth Amendment and due process rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Those requirements are:

All three prongs must be met and many departments require that a supervisory officer is called before such a seizure takes place. Many departments also have policies that distinguish between seizures of evidence from journalists and citizens. Even after such a seizure, those images may not be viewed without your voluntary consent or subject to a court order.

Also remember that according to the U.S. Department of Justice guidelines: 'under the First Amendment, there are no circumstances under which the contents of a camera or recording device should be deleted or destroyed.'

See the original post here:

U.S. Court of Appeals sides with First Amendment right to video ... - Poynter (blog)

Our love-hate relationship with the First Amendment – Keyser Mineral Daily News Tribune

Common practice for liberals and conservatives now is to take turns calling each other enemies of the First Amendment. The results of this year's "State of the First Amendment" survey gave us the opportunity to consider these insults and after the numbers are crunched, who is the real enemy of the First Amendment?

Well, no one. And, everyone.

Most of our fellow citizens, regardless of their political ideology, are quite fond of the First Amendment, at least in the abstract. The people who think that the First Amendment goes too far are a minority 22.5 percent of us. A majority of Americans (67.7 percent) thinks that the press plays an important role as a watchdog on government; a slightly narrower majority (58.8 percent) thinks that freedom of religion should extend to all religious groups, even those widely considered extreme or fringe.

That's the good news: Even in a time of great political turmoil, we're generally supportive of the First Amendment's protections.

The bad news: When it comes down to specific applications of the First Amendment, we're less positive, and also deeply divided along ideological lines. Both liberals and conservatives have certain pain points where they balk at the amount of protection that the First Amendment provides.

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to think:

Colleges should be able to ban speakers with controversial views.

People should not be able to express racist comments on social media.

Meanwhile, conservatives are more likely than liberals to think:

Government officials who leak information to the press should be prosecuted.

Journalists should not be able to publish information obtained illegally, even if it serves the public interest.

Government should be able to determine which media outlets can attend briefings.

Government should be able to hold Muslims to a higher standard of scrutiny.

Worth noting: Some of these differences in attitude may not be a direct result of whether you're a liberal or a conservative; instead, they might be circumstantial. Do more liberals support press freedoms because that's a core value of liberal ideology or because the press is a watchdog on the government, which liberals don't currently control?

Do more conservatives think that colleges shouldn't be able to ban speakers because of a greater commitment to free speech or because most banned speakers, at least in recent years, have tended to be conservative? It will be interesting to see in subsequent years if attitudes change as circumstances change.

One thing that unites the majority of Americans right now: Most of us, liberals and conservatives, prefer to read or listen to news that aligns with our own views.

That's true even if you think that the news media reports with a bias, as most Americans do (56.8 percent). Apparently, we're not inclined to correct that bias by taking in multiple and varied news sources. Instead, we're more likely to double down on the news that fits in with our pre-existing ideological perspectives.

This finding is both obvious and disheartening: Everyone likes reading and hearing news that confirms what they already believed. That's one of the factors that keep us so divided.

Lata Nott

Executive director

First Amendment Center

Newseum Institute.

Washington, D.C.

Read more:

Our love-hate relationship with the First Amendment - Keyser Mineral Daily News Tribune

Our love-hate relationship with the First Amendment – Progress Index

Common practice for liberals and conservatives now is to take turns calling each other enemies of the First Amendment. The results of this year's "State of the First Amendment" survey gave us the opportunity to consider these insults and after the numbers are crunched, who is the real enemy of the First Amendment?

Well, no one. And, everyone.

Most of our fellow citizens, regardless of their political ideology, are quite fond of the First Amendment, at least in the abstract. The people who think that the First Amendment goes too far are a minority 22.5 percent of us. A majority of Americans (67.7 percent) thinks that the press plays an important role as a watchdog on government; a slightly narrower majority (58.8 percent) thinks that freedom of religion should extend to all religious groups, even those widely considered extreme or fringe.

That's the good news: Even in a time of great political turmoil, we're generally supportive of the First Amendment's protections.

The bad news: When it comes down to specific applications of the First Amendment, we're less positive, and also deeply divided along ideological lines. Both liberals and conservatives have certain pain points where they balk at the amount of protection that the First Amendment provides.

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to think:

Colleges should be able to ban speakers with controversial views.

People should not be able to express racist comments on social media.

Meanwhile, conservatives are more likely than liberals to think:

Government officials who leak information to the press should be prosecuted.

Journalists should not be able to publish information obtained illegally, even if it serves the public interest.

Government should be able to determine which media outlets can attend briefings.

Government should be able to hold Muslims to a higher standard of scrutiny.

Worth noting: Some of these differences in attitude may not be a direct result of whether you're a liberal or a conservative; instead, they might be circumstantial. Do more liberals support press freedoms because that's a core value of liberal ideology or because the press is a watchdog on the government, which liberals don't currently control?

Do more conservatives think that colleges shouldn't be able to ban speakers because of a greater commitment to free speech or because most banned speakers, at least in recent years, have tended to be conservative? It will be interesting to see in subsequent years if attitudes change as circumstances change.

One thing that unites the majority of Americans right now: Most of us, liberals and conservatives, prefer to read or listen to news that aligns with our own views.

That's true even if you think that the news media reports with a bias, as most Americans do (56.8 percent). Apparently, we're not inclined to correct that bias by taking in multiple and varied news sources. Instead, we're more likely to double down on the news that fits in with our pre-existing ideological perspectives.

This finding is both obvious and disheartening: Everyone likes reading and hearing news that confirms what they already believed. That's one of the factors that keep us so divided.

Lata Nott

Executive director

First Amendment Center

Newseum Institute.

Washington, D.C.

See more here:

Our love-hate relationship with the First Amendment - Progress Index

JURIST – Federal appeals court upholds First Amendment right to … – JURIST

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that citizens have a First Amendment right to record police performing their duties. The court found that officers, "are public officials carrying out public functions, and the First Amendment requires them to bear bystanders recording their actions. This is vital to promote the access that fosters free discussion of governmental actions." The court was clear that this case was based on a First Amendment right to access of information about how public servants operate in the public realm. This decision follows the rulings by the First, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. Even with the ruling in favor of the First Amendment argument, two of the three judges ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity, effectively shielding them from liability over the incidents.

Trust between communities throughout the US and police officials continues to be an issue, particularly after a series of incidents have led to demand for higher accountability from the public servants. The interactions have created dialogues in communities in an attempt to create a greater trust between members of the public and law enforcement. In April the Department of Justice raised doubts [JURIST report] about a police reform agreement reached in the city of Baltimore. In June rights group decided that they wanted police reform and through a lawsuit [JURIST report] attempted to bring about the change and accountability over the Chicago police enforcement practices.

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JURIST - Federal appeals court upholds First Amendment right to ... - JURIST

Campus news of the week: Kidnapping, the minimum wage, the First Amendment and more – USA TODAY College

Welcome to the weeklyCampus news of the weekroundup here atUSA TODAY College. There are around 5,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. Heres a snapshot of the most compelling stories that happened on campus around the country this week, according to student newspapers.

According to the Daily Bruin, the Los Angeles-wide minimum wage increase will have direct effects on the UCLA campus.

Along with a pay raise for campus workers, graduate student representative Patrick Adler told the Daily Bruin that students and faculty members should expect some price raises as well. The price of a cup of coffee, for example, could go up.

The Crimson White reports that the family of former University of Alabama student Megan Rondini, who committed suicide last year after being sexually assaulted in Tuscaloosa, is filing a wrongful death suit against university personnel.

Rondini was the subject of a recent Buzzfeed article about her experiences following the assault.

This undated photo provided by the University of Illinois Police Department shows Yingying Zhang, a Chinese woman from a central Illinois university town who was kidnapped. Zhang was about a month into a yearlong appointment at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign when she disappeared June 9, 2017. (Photo: Courtesy of the University of Illinois Police Department via AP)

The Daily Illini reports that the alleged kidnapper of missing scholar Yingying Zhang, Brendt Christensen, will be held without bond until his first court date July 15.

Yingying Zhang went missing June 9, and was last seen entering a black car near campus. She is presumed dead.

According to theDaily Californian, UC Berkeley is attempting to dismiss the lawsuit filed by conservative student groups following what was seen as an alleged mishandling around visiting conservative speakers on campus.

The Berkeley College Republicans and Young Americas Foundations lawsuit came after conservative writer David Horowitz was held to what they say were unfair standards when compared with non-conservative speakers.

The Daily Californian reports that the plaintiffs must respond by August 11 and UC-Berkeley will in turn have to respond by August 25.

Continue reading here:

Campus news of the week: Kidnapping, the minimum wage, the First Amendment and more - USA TODAY College

Here’s a First Amendment Case You Should Care About – NewsBusters (press release) (blog)


NewsBusters (press release) (blog)
Here's a First Amendment Case You Should Care About
NewsBusters (press release) (blog)
First Amendment cases are very much on the national mind these days, and the news from the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is very encouraging for those who believe in strong protections for constitutional freedoms. The court delivered a First Amendment ...

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Here's a First Amendment Case You Should Care About - NewsBusters (press release) (blog)

Third Circuit Declares First Amendment Right to Record Police – EFF

The First Amendment protects our right to use electronic devices to record on-duty police officers, according to a new ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Fields v. Philadelphia. This right extends to anyone with a recording device, journalists and members of the public alike. And this right includes capture of photos, videos, and audio recordings.

EFF filed an amicus brief seeking this ruling. We argued that people routinely use their electronic devices to record and share images and audio, and that this often includes newsworthy recordings of on-duty police officers interacting with members of the public.

The Third Circuit began its Fields opinion by framing the right to record in history and policy:

In 1991 George Holliday recorded video of the Los Angeles Police Department officers beating Rodney King and submitted it to the local news. Filming police on the job was rare then but common now. With advances in technology and the widespread ownership of smartphones, civilian recording of police officers is ubiquitous. . . . These recordings have both exposed police misconduct and exonerated officers from errant charges.

The Third Circuit recognized that all five federal appellate courts that previously addressed this issue held that the First Amendment protects the right to record the police.

The court next reasoned that the right to publish recordings depends on the predicate right to make recordings. Specifically:

The First Amendment protects actual photos, videos, and recordings, . . . and for this protection to have meaning the Amendment must also protect the act of creating that material. There is no practical difference between allowing police to prevent people from taking recordings and actually banning the possession or distribution of them.

The court also reasoned that the right to record the police is grounded in the First Amendment right of access to information about their officials public activities. The court explained:

Access to information regarding public police activity is particularly important because it leads to citizen discourse on public issues, the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.

The court identified the many ways that civilian recordings of police activity are beneficial by capturing critical information:

Importantly, the court concluded that recordings of on-duty police have contributed greatly to our national discussion of proper policing. Among other things, they have improved professional reporting, as video content generated by witnesses and bystanders has become a common component of news programming. As a result, recordings have spurred action at all levels of government to address police misconduct and to protect civil rights.

Qualified Immunity

The Third Circuit erred on the issue of qualified immunity. This is a legal doctrine that protects government employees from paying money damages for violating the Constitution, if the specific right at issue was not clearly established at the time they violated it. In Fields, the Third Circuit unanimously held that going forward, the First Amendment protects the right to record the police. But the majority held that this right was not clearly established at the time the police officers in the case violated this right.

Judge Nygaard dissented on this point. He persuasively argued that this right was in fact clearly established, given the prior rulings of other appellate courts, the City of Philadelphias own policies, and the frequency that people (including police officers themselves) use their mobile devices to make recordings. On the bright side, the Third Circuit remanded the question of municipal liability, so there is still a possibility that the injured parties, whose right to record was disrupted by police, can obtain damages from the city.

Location of Recording

The Third Circuit in Fields sometimes formulated the First Amendment right to record police as existing in public places. This is true. But the right also exists in private places. For example, a home owner might record police officers searching their home without a warrant. Also, a complainant about police misconduct, speaking to internal affairs officers inside a police station, might record those officers discouraging her from pressing charges. In such cases, there is a First Amendment right to record on-duty police officers in a private place.

Rather than ask whether the place of recording was public or private, courts should ask whether the subject of recording had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Critically, on-duty police have no such expectation while speaking with civilians, whether they are in a public or private place.

The Fields decision is not to the contrary. Rather, it simply addressed the facts in that case, which concerned civilians recording on-duty police officers who happened to be in public places. Also, the Fields opinion at another point correctly framed the issue as recording police officers performing their official duties.

Interference

The court discussed another possible limitation on the right to record the policewhether recording may be subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions to ensure that it doesnt interfere with policy activity. However, this issue was not before the court. It remains to be seen how future courts will address limitations on the First Amendment right to record the police.

The Third Circuits Fields decision is an important victory for the right of technology users to record on-duty police officers. But the struggle continues. Across the country, many government officials continue to block members of the public from using their electronic devices to record newsworthy events. EFF will continue to fight for this vital right.

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Third Circuit Declares First Amendment Right to Record Police - EFF

Donald Trump Slammed Sex Assault Accusers For Votes, President’s Lawyers Claim – Newsweek

President Donald Trumps denials and lashings out at those accusing him of sexual assault and harassment while he was on the campaign trail last year were meant to corral voters and were protected by the First Amendment, making them non-actionable in a lawsuit, Trumps lawyers claimed in a court filing late Friday.

In the latest filing in the case involving former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, Trumps personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, who is now also heading up the presidents team against federal probes into whether or not his campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, reiterated his clients defense that he cannot be sued in state court because of his current office from a filing in March.

Legal news site Law Newz was the first to report on the filing.

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U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a working session at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Markus Schreiber

The latest 53-page filing, calling for a dismissal of Zervoss defamation claim, also stated that Trumps statements against the victims were in the context of a heated political campaign and therefore were protected by the First Amendment.

The allegedly defamatory statements were made during a national political campaign that involved heated public debate in political forums, the filing read. Statements made in that context are properly viewed by courts as part of the expected fiery rhetoric, hyperbole, and opinion that is squarely protected by the First Amendment.

Later, the filing asserts that Trumps statements were meant to convince the public to vote for him.

The Statements all of which were advanced during a heated political campaign to convince the public to vote for Mr. Trump, and many of which were published via Twitter constitute non-actionable rhetoric and hyperbole that is protected by the First Amendment, it read.

The filing also states that because Zervos was not specifically mentioned by Trump, who denied many accusations of sexual assault and harassment throughout the late stages of his campaign, she cannot claim she was defamed.

Zervos first claimed in October that Trump had tried to kiss and grope her in a Beverly Hills hotel room in 2007, and Trump later responded to several allegations on Twitter without specifically citing Zervos. Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, then filed a defamation lawsuit on January 17. Shes demanding almost $3,000 in damages and a public apology from the president.

"This election is being rigged by the media pushing false and unsubstantiated charges, and outright lies, in order to elect Crooked Hillary!"Trump tweeted on Oct. 15.

Trump also posted the same day: 100% fabricated and made-up charges, pushed strongly by the media and the Clinton Campaign, may poison the minds of the American Voter. FIX!

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Donald Trump Slammed Sex Assault Accusers For Votes, President's Lawyers Claim - Newsweek

Is Freedom of Expression in Danger? First Amendment Experts … – TheWrap

The grey area between privacy and First Amendment rights were central to TheWraps panel discussion in Los Angeles Thursday night, The First Amendment In the Age of Trump and in the current climate there were plenty of issues to debate.

Brian Knappenberger, director of the documentary Nobody Speak: Trials of a Free Press, said that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiels secret involvement in the Hulk Hogan/Gawker trial threatened the First Amendment rights of the free press. But the irony is that the First Amendment in part protects Thiels secrecy.

Or consider how universities have been locked in debate over whether figures like Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos have the right to speak on college campuses. The First Amendment protects their right to speak, but it also protects those fighting back against that speech. Are students exercising their rights or are they suppressing debate?

Also Read: What Happens if the Media Defies White House Camera Ban?

Then theres the case of writing on the internet. Fake news, false memes and outright hate speech can easily proliferate online, all under anonymity. Their words have proven dangerous and made people mistrust the media, yet the First Amendment protects their anonymity.

The talk followed a screening of Knappenbergers Netflix documentary Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press. It charts how Gawkers decision to publish Hulk Hogans sex tape led to a trial that has potentially opened the flood gates for billionaires to make news outlets they dont like disappear.

Im bothered by the secrecy of what happened here. As I understand it, what Peter Thiel did here used to be illegal, Knappenberger said during the panel discussion. Theres this notion that this can be done in secret, that a thumb can be placed on this conversation in a way that is invisible to the participants involved, invisible to the public and invisible to the jury as well. That is troubling to me.

Also Read: 'Nobody Speak' Director Compares Hulk Hogan, Gawker Trial to President Trump (Video)

But Ricardo Cestero, a partner at the law firm Greenberg Glusker, argues that the secrecy of Thiels actions is part of what the First Amendment protects.

Peter Thiel had a First Amendment right to do whatever lawfully he was allowed to do in order to shut down a publication that in his First Amendment belief wasnt worthy of continuing to exist, Cestero said. Its a jury verdict that balanced the privacy of a celebrity against the publications First Amendment right to do what it did. Peter Thiels involvement is part of what the First Amendment allows.

Cestero argues that the real issue is a flaw in our legal system rather than a failure to recognize the First Amendment. Wealthy individuals who dont like what they read or see in the media can file an arguably frivolous lawsuit, and theres no way for media companies to combat it.

Also Read: What Happens if the Media Defies White House Camera Ban?

Our legal system has gotten to the point where it is cost prohibitive for anything other than companies that are fully insured or the extraordinarily wealthy people or corporations to really litigate meaningful cases like this one, Cestero said. We as a society should look at ways to solve that problem.

Lanny J. Davis, a former lawyer for the Clinton White House during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the co-founder and partner of Davis Goldberg & Galper, reiterated how the Hulk Hogan/Gawker case mainly concerned the balance between privacy rights and First Amendment rights. He said that when we argue about First Amendment rights disappearing, we shouldnt lose sight of the fact that Terry Bollea, i.e. Hogans real name, was entitled to privacy as also protected by the Constitution.

Theres a grey area where First Amendment and privacy rights overlap, and people who are progressive need to have a balance in looking at both sides, Davis said.

Also Read: Milo Yiannopoulos Supporter Sues Berkeley for $23 Million

Davis went on to say that these rights extended to Thiels own privacy, but hes ultimately in favor of transparency in litigation. The First Amendment allows anybody to be outed and the person outed to be offended. The principle of the First Amendment is that shouldnt be subject to any penalty. But whats offensive and whats constitutional are different, he added.

David Greene, Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that theres still an issue with billionaires like Thiel putting their thumbs on the scale. Greene said the verdict in the Gawker case was disproportionate to anything hes seen in a privacy case like this.

What you get when you have someone funding it is you have this concern that youll soon get this disproportion, Greene said. And our system isnt well equipped to handle that disproportion. The system that we rely on breaks just a little bit when you have this type of involvement in the cases.

Also Read: President Trump Can't Jail Journalists for Reporting Leaks - Or Can He?

So is the First Amendment under attack more now than when Trump took office? Greene said there may not be a legal solution to the president attacking the media, but we still need to fight back against that language.

The concern I have in the rhetoric I hear now is its engendering distrust in these institutions that are so vital, Greene said. There are media institutions I like and those I dislike, but I want them all to survive, because thats the way the system works. The more people reporting the better.

Also Read: 'Nobody Speak' Review: Money Muzzles the Media

Davis said all presidents have been irritated by the media. But Donald Trump is different.

The difference is Donald Trump demonizes people and creates dangerous, violent tendencies in certain extreme minded, and I think fascist-oriented people, he said. We have to try and avoid attacking motives and demonizing people we disagree with. We lose the heartland of this country when we do that as opposed to civil disagreement, and keeping with our criticism of the media, which is sometimes deserved, is that we dont personalize our differences. We dont demonize our opposition. Thats what President Trump does, and thats what makes him dangerous.

Check out the whole video from Thursdays panel discussion above, Nobody Speak is available on Netflix now.

On Sunday, Donald Trump derided the use of anonymous sourcing in news stories. He also said in February that news outlets "shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name." It's strange he thinks that, because he's used a lot of anonymous sources himself. Here are some examples.

Two years after President Obama released his birth certificate, Trump said it was not believable to some people."You know, some people say that was not his birth certificate," he told ABC in August 2013. "I'm saying I don't know. Nobody knows and you don't know either."

Trump said one of thesources "called myoffice."

Trump took care to describe this sourceas "extremely credible."

Trump so oftensources information to "many people" (without naming any of them) that there's a well-worn #manypeoplearesaying hashtag on Twitter.The Washington Post wrote an article about it, which includes the examples on the next three slides.

At a rally in September, a man in Trump's audience said President Obama was a Muslim and not even an American, then asked Trump to get rid of Muslim training camps.

You know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there, Trump responded.

In early January, Trump said he had heard from many Republicans worried that his rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, was born in Canada.

Id hate to see something like that get in his way, but a lot of people are talking about it, and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport, Trump told thePost.

In May 2016, Trump told the Post what some "people" believe about the death of Vince Foster. I dont bring [Fosters death] up because I dont know enough to really discuss it, Trump said. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I dont do that because I dont think its fair.

Soon after Trump called for an end to anonymous sourcing, The Associated Press noted, "Members of Trump's White House team regularly demand anonymity when talking to reporters."

Surprise: Trump berates the news media for doing something hes done himself

On Sunday, Donald Trump derided the use of anonymous sourcing in news stories. He also said in February that news outlets "shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name." It's strange he thinks that, because he's used a lot of anonymous sources himself. Here are some examples.

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Is Freedom of Expression in Danger? First Amendment Experts ... - TheWrap

Pittsburgh attorney fought hard for First Amendment rights, individual civil liberties – Tribune-Review

Updated 20 hours ago

Ron Barber had a passion for justice, a calm demeanor and a sharp intellect a combination that served him and his clients well as he successfully argued in Pennsylvania courts for the First Amendment rights of the media and individual civil liberties.

Ron was the most gentle trial lawyer I have ever seen, said fellow partner David Strassburger, who worked with Mr. Barber on many cases at the Pittsburgh law firm of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky. There was no fire and brimstone in him at all. His passion came through with his intellect and the words that he chose rather than the volume that he spoke them at.

Being honest about what he was saying resonated with every judge and jury he stood before.

Ronald D. Barber, 56, of Sewickley died Thursday, July 6, 2017, at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh of complications from prostate cancer.

Born in Fort Lewis, Wash., on Aug. 12, 1960, he was the son of Mary Barber of Sewickley and the late Alan Barber.

Mr. Barber graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1988 after completing undergraduate studies at Pitt in politics and philosophy with magna cum laude honors.

He began at the Pittsburgh law firm as an associate attorney and became a partner in 2003. His career at the firm bookended a period between 1994 and 2000 when he pursued another passion teaching and served as the permanent law clerk for Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Folino.

Known for mentoring younger attorneys, Mr. Barber was an adjunct faculty member at Pitt, teaching courses on ethics, public policy and mass media.

He was a pro bono legal adviser for the university's student newspaper, The Pitt News, where he'd served as an editor while a student.

Strassburger said Mr. Barber obtained a ruling from the state Supreme Court that settlement agreements resolving claims against public agencies in this case, a civil rights suit filed against the Westmoreland County Housing Authority should be made public, even if paid with insurance money.

He successfully argued so many of those types of issues that did not result in a lot of notoriety but served to educate the bench and others about the importance of open government, Strassburger said.

He was a member of the legal committee of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

If he saw there was a wrong that needed righted, that's what he saw as a good case, said his wife and fellow attorney, Jean Novak. He was always doing the right thing, whether or not it benefited him.

During his two-year battle with cancer, Mr. Barber participated in a trial treatment in the hope, even if it couldn't help him, it would help other people in the future, she said.

When not working on cases, Mr. Barber enjoyed hiking at Cook Forest and playing chess.

A former longtime president of the Pittsburgh Chess Club, he often visited prison inmates to teach them the game.

He thought chess was a great equalizer, and he was devoted to doing what he could to promote the game to everyone, his wife said.

There will be no viewing for Mr. Barber. A memorial service is planned for later in the summer.

In addition to his wife and mother, Mr. Barber is survived by two children, Zachary and Alexandra Barber, both of Squirrel Hill.

Memorial donations were suggested to the Look Good Feel Better Foundation, 1620 L Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036, or to Animal Friends, 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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Pittsburgh attorney fought hard for First Amendment rights, individual civil liberties - Tribune-Review

Watch First Amendment Panel Discussion Live Stream (Video) – TheWrap

With cries of fake news and violence against journalists, the First Amendment is under attack.

On Thursday, TheWrap presents The First Amendment in the Age of Trump, an evening devoted to addressing threats to free speech and freedom of the press under the Trump administration.

Following a screening of the Netflix original documentary Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, there will be a panel discussion of recent threats to the First Amendment.

Watch the live stream below.

Also Read: Debating the Threat to Free Speech: Join TheWrap's Panel and Screening on Thursday

The film explores the invasion of privacy case brought by wrestler Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan against Gawker.com for posting a sex tape of wrestler Bollea. The trial ended with the jury awarding Bollea $140 million, sending the snarky website into bankruptcy. It was later learned that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled Hogans lawyers to get revenge on Gawker for a story it had done about the billionaire.

The panel will be moderated by University of Southern California media law professor and TheWraps First Amendment correspondent, Susan Seager. Panelists will includeBrian Knappenberger, director of Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press; Sharon Waxman, Editor-in-Chief of TheWrap; and others.

Subjects explored include:

Attorney Lisa Bloom, TheWrap founder Sharon Waxman, Emmy-winning actress Cynthia Nixon, actress Judith Light, and producer Paula Wagner attend the Power Women Breakfast NYC on June 29, 2017.

TheWrap founder Sharon Waxman and Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad attend Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient and Founder, Girls Lounge; TheWrap Editor-In-Chief Sharon Waxman and film and theater producer Paula Wagner co-hosted the 2017 edition of Power Women Breakfast in NYC.

Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient and Founder, Girls Lounge moderated a discussion at Power Women Breakfast.

Moj Mahdara, CEO of Beautycon Media, speaks at Power Women Breakfast NYC

Ibtihaj Muhammad, best known as the first U.S. Olympic athlete to wear a hijab during the games, speaks at the Power Women Breakfast in New York.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

"Friends From College" star Annie Parisse and "Sex and the City" alum Cynthia Nixon attend the Power Women Breakfast in New York.

Jenna Leigh Green, star of "Wicked," attends the Power Women Breakfast in NYC.

Letitia James, Public Advocate for New York City, speaks atthe Power Women Breakfast in NYC.

Actress Lois Robbinsattends the Power Women Breakfast in NYC.

Sharon Waxman, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, attorney Lisa Bloom, and Oscar-Winning documentarian Laura Poitras pose on the red carpet of the Power Women Breakfast NYC.

"Orange Is the New Black" star Emma Myles attends the Power Women Breakfast in NYC.

Charity representatives Lisa Winjum and Sarah Haacke Byrd attend Power Women Breakfast benefitingJoyful Heart Foundation.

Rachel Bay Jones, a recent Tony winner for "Dear Evan Hansen," attends the Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Producer and Co-host of the Power Women Breakfast Paula Wagner stops for a photo on the step and repeat.

Muhammad at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

U.S. fencer and Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad talks about being a Muslim woman in a post-Obama world.

Cynthia Nixon and others at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Moj Mahdara, CEO of Beautycon Media, talks why she doesn't need to wear make-up to run a beauty business.

Beautycon Media CEO Moj Mahdara chats about why Generation Z is so important to brands.

Shelley Zalis chats one on one with Moj Mahdara.

Beautycon Media CEO Moj Mahdara at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Cynthia Nixon, currently starring on Broadway in "The Little Foxes," compared her play with the Trump family.

Cynthia Nixon revealed she would "of course" be interested in another "Sex and the City" movie.

TheWrap founder ttSharon Waxman interviews Cynthia Nixon at the Power Women Breakfast NYC on Thursday.

Attendees at the Power Women Breakfast.

Women at the Power Women Breakfast NYC

A SAG-AFTRA board member attends Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Gail Becker reacts to Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attorney Lisa Bloom said she receives death threats for standing up for women's rights.

Oscar-winning documentarian Laura Poitras talks about being on the NSA watch list.

Activist and attorney Lisa Bloom joins the game-changers panel at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

"Citizenfour" filmmaker Laura Poitras talks fear and being on the right side of history.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James hinted at a future mayoral run.

Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attorney Lisa Bloom and NYC Public Advocate Letitia James speak at Power Women Breakfast NYC on Thursday.

Lisa Bloom with daughter attorney Sarah Bloom at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Power Women Breakfast NYC, game-changers panelists: Sharon Waxman, Lisa Bloom, Letitia James, and Laura Poitras.

Sarah Haacke Byrd attends as representative of Joyful Heart Foundation, beneficiary of TheWrap's Power Women Breakfast.

Charity auction at Power Women Breakfast NYC with designer Rachel Simone

Charity auction at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Charity auction at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendee at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Charity auction at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Documentarian Aviva Kempner gets a Blushington touch-up at Power Women

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

SCAD Film School Dean Andra Reeve-Rabb at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Sharon Waxman at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Judith Light at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Lisa Bloom and Cynthia Nixon at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

The scene at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Lisa Bloom and author and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson

Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Attendees at Power Women Breakfast NYC.

Women leaders in New Yorks entertainment, media and business communities converge at annual gathering

Attorney Lisa Bloom, TheWrap founder Sharon Waxman, Emmy-winning actress Cynthia Nixon, actress Judith Light, and producer Paula Wagner attend the Power Women Breakfast NYC on June 29, 2017.

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Watch First Amendment Panel Discussion Live Stream (Video) - TheWrap

All Americans should care about this First Amendment case – Fox News

First Amendment cases are very much on the national mind these days, and the news from the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is very encouraging for those who believe in strong protections for constitutional freedoms. The court delivered a First Amendment victory last week in a case involving religious free exercise, and kept alive hope for victories in two other cases where the hot button issues of same-sex marriage and abortion are involved.

First, inTrinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, SCOTUS ruled 7-2 that the State of Missouri had unconstitutionally excluded Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center from a competitive grant program to help schools, daycares, and other nonprofits install rubber playground surfaces made from recycled tires. The preschool and daycare center ranked fifth out of 44 applicants the year it applied for the grant, but was categorically rejected by the government because it was operated by a church. In ruling for Trinity Lutheran, the Court reaffirmed that all Americans should be free from government discrimination based on their religious identity.

Looking down the road, SCOTUS also agreed to hearMasterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, buoying the hopes of First Amendment advocates who argue that government should not be permitted to compel a religiously opposed individual to create a wedding cake honoring a same-sex marriage, just as a secular wedding cake maker is not required to create a cake opposing same-sex marriage.

Later this year the Court will also decide whether to hearNational Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra.NIFLAis a national network of more than 1,400 pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics. Its membership includes 135 such centers in California, and of these, 85 operate as licensed medical clinics. These clinics and centers are faith-based ministries that do not provide or refer for abortion as a matter of principle. What SCOTUS eventually decides will have far-reaching implications for people of all faiths, no faith, and of all moral or political persuasions.

In asking the Court to hear this case, the petitioners noted the California law forces licensed pro-life medical centers to post notices informing women how to contact the state ... for information on how to obtain state-funded abortions, directly contradicting the centers pro-life message.

Simply stated, the issue before SCOTUS is: Can the government compel a faith-based ministry to speak a message with which it fundamentally disagrees and which violates its foundational principles?

In the case from California, pro-life pregnancy centers have challenged AB 775, the states so-called Reproductive FACT Act, as unconstitutional. When asking SCOTUS to hear this case, the petitionersnotedthat this California law forces licensed pro-life medical centers to post notices informing women how to contact the State at a particular phone number for information on how to obtain state-funded abortions, directly contradicting the centers pro-life message. The same law also forces non-medical, unlicensed pro-life organizations to give extensive disclaimers that they are not a licensed medical facility in large font and in as many as 13 languages to clients on site as well as in their ads, both print and digital, including on their own Internet websites.

The First Amendment right to free speech not only protects the right to speak, but also prevents government from compelling speech. AB 775 compels faith-based charities to speak a message that goes against their pro-life values, and it imposes massive fines upon any pro-life clinic that does not comply. Such fines would force most noncompliant clinics to close.

This might seem like only a fight about abortion and the freedoms of pregnancy resource centerswhich number over 3,000 nationwide and provide free resources such as ultrasounds, maternity care, adoption services, education, STI testing, and more to pregnant women. However, the merits of constitutional challenges should not depend on whose conscience ox is being gored. For example, SCOTUS hasrecognizedthat Americans have the right to refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, as well as the right to claimconscientious objectionto military conscription. First Amendment freedoms are equally as valuable to death-penalty opponents and environmentalists as they are to pro-life nonprofits.

Pro-life pregnancy centers provide a very valuable resource to our nation at no cost to the taxpayer. A 2015surveyby the Charlotte Lozier Institute established that pro-choice women themselves are pro-pregnancy resource centers and admire the services they provide. Laws like Californias stem from activist ideology, not demands by women seeking help. This provides one more reason why SCOTUS should accept NIFLAs appeal and strike down this abusive law.

The illegitimate actions of government like AB 775s coerced speech should be of concern to all Americans even those who disagree with the life-affirming philosophy of pro-life pregnancy centers. The First Amendment is among our most treasured possessions, a guarantor of our freedom and ability to live together despite our deepest differences.

Thomas A. Glessner is the founder and President of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), a public interest law firm founded in 1993 and committed to legal counsel and training for Pregnancy Resource Centers. NIFLA represents more than 1,430 Pregnancy Resource Centers across the country.

Charles A. Chuck Donovan is president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List.

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All Americans should care about this First Amendment case - Fox News

Our Love-Hate Relationship With The First Amendment – Greeneville Sun

Common practice for liberals and conservatives now is to take turns calling each other enemies of the First Amendment. The results of this years State of the First Amendment survey gave us the opportunity to consider these insults and after the numbers are crunched, who is the real enemy of the First Amendment?

Well, no one. And, everyone.

Most of our fellow citiziens, regardless of their political ideology, are quite fond of the First Amendment, at least in the abstract. The people who think that the First Amendment goes too far are a minority 22.5 percent of us. A majority of Americans (67.7 percent) think that the press plays an important role as a watchdog on government; a slightly narrower majority (58.8 percent) thinks that freedom of religion should extend to all religious groups, even those widely considered extreme or fringe.

Thats the good news: Even in a time of great political turmoil, were generally supportive of the First Amendments protections.

The bad news: When it comes down to specific applications of the First Amendment, were less positive, and also deeply divided along ideological lines. Both liberals and conservatives have certain pain points where they balk at the amount of protection that the First Amendment provides.

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to think:

Colleges should be able to ban speakers with controversial views.

People should not be able to express racist comments on social media.

Meanwhile, conservatives are more likely than liberals to think:

Government officials who leak information to the press should be prosecuted.

Journalists should not be able to publish information obtained illegally, even if it serves the public interest.

Government should be able to determine which media outlets can attend briefings.

Government should be able to hold Muslims to a higher standard of scrutiny.

Worth noting: Some of these differences in attitude may not be a direct result of whether youre a liberal or a conservative; instead, they might be circumstantial. Do more liberals support press freedoms because thats a core value of liberal ideology or because the press is a watchdog on the government, which liberals dont currently control?

Do more conservatives think that colleges shouldnt be able to ban speakers because of a greater commitment to free speech or because most banned speakers, at least in recent years, have tended to be conservative?

It will be interesting to see in subsequent years if attitudes change as circumstances change.

One thing that unites the majority of Americans right now: Most of us both liberals and conservatives prefer to read or listen to news that aligns with our own views.

Thats true even if you think that the news media reports with a bias, as most Americans do (56.8 percent). Apparently, were not inclined to correct that bias by taking in multiple and varied news sources. Instead, were more likely to double down on the news that fits in with our pre-existing ideological perspective.

This finding is both obvious and disheartening: Everyone likes reading and hearing news that confirms what they already believed. Thats one of the factors that keep us so divided.

The writer is executive director of the First Amendment Center of the Newseum Institute. Contact her via email at lnott@newseum.org. Follow her on Twitter at @LataNott.

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Our Love-Hate Relationship With The First Amendment - Greeneville Sun

RIAA Trashes Its Legacy As 1st Amendment Supporter, Cheers On Global Internet Censorship [Op-Ed] – hypebot.com

Although the RIAA used to function as a major force in safeguarding free speech and the First Amendment, the organization has of late taken a different direction, and become noticeably wish-washy on the issue of free speech, and in some instances seems even to be championing censorship.

_________________________

Guest post by Mike Masnick of Techdirt

It appears that many people don't remember this, but the RIAAused to bea major force in protecting free speech and the First Amendment. It had many good reasons to do so, after all, since free speech is very important to all of the artists that the RIAA's labels work with. Artistic expression -- especially in the musical realm -- has frequently come under attack by politicians and, for decades, the RIAA was actually a really important player in standing up for the First Amendment. See, for example, this 1992 article in the LA Times from then RIAA President Jason Berman, in whichhe lists out all the waysthat the RIAA has been fighting censorship. Yes, these are all specific in protecting musicians, but they were some really important First Amendment arguments to be made in these areas:

And that's just one article -- the first I found via a quick Google search. If you were interested in these issues in the 1980s, the RIAA was very involved in protecting the First Amendment.

So it's fairly ridiculous (if entirely expected) that the modern RIAA is destroying that historic legacy of protecting free speech by now cheering on global internet censorship. As we've discussed, Canada recently launched ahorrific attack on free speech, by saying that it can issue injunctions blocking entire sitesgloballyon mere accusations of infringement. Let's repeat that: the Canadian court is saying that, even before a trial has determined if there is actual infringement, it can order sites (in this case Google) to blockentire websites(not just pages involved in the infringement) -- and that it can do so globally. As we pointed out, this precedent is horrifying. What will happen when China demands all stories about Tiananmen Square be blocked globally? Or what happens when Saudi Arabia or Iran demands that pages supporting democratic reforms or LGBTQ rights must be taken down globally?

And yet, rather than condemn an overly broad ruling that will lead to global censorship, the RIAA sullied its own historical legacy andcheered on this global censorship ruling, claiming that it was "a win."

These days, the bosses at the RIAA have got so much "piracy-on-the brain" that they seem completely unable to (1) stick to a principled position on the First Amendment or (2) see how cheering on global censorship might come back to bite them as well.

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RIAA Trashes Its Legacy As 1st Amendment Supporter, Cheers On Global Internet Censorship [Op-Ed] - hypebot.com

STASI: Even Trump can’t body-slam the First Amendment – New York Daily News

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, July 4, 2017, 2:05 PM

On the verge of Independence Day, President Trump took time out from his busy schedule of press suppression and destruction of the First Amendment to exercise his right of free speech for himself.

He posted what appears to be a slightly altered video created originally by extreme Reddit user/bigot HanA------Solo who has a history of posting racist, violence-laden filth.

Until our President tweeted out the altered WWE video, HanA------Solo had been fairly obscure, rutting around on the darkest of fringes with hateful posts on his subreddit feed filled with violence, racism and bigotry of every kind.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League CEO, called him out as an individual who "traffics in online hatred and at times violent rhetoric, has created an image labeling CNN journalists with Stars of David and has written about stabbing Muslims among other violent rhetoric."

Celebrities slam President Trumps CNN WrestleMania tweet

Now the creep is a celeb among the hateful, all thanks to Donald Trump and thanks to freedom of speech.

For guys including the President who hate free speech, they certainly know how to use it to their advantage.

Shortly, Trump will head to Hamburg for the G20 where he'll meet with his friend/not friend Vlad the Impaler Putin where he can get some tips from a real pro. Putin is a master at dismantling the independent media, jailing freethinkers, and when all else fails, poisoning critics.

We don't do that. Yet.

Reddit troll takes credit for altered gif of Trump-CNN brawl

Recently I gave a speech sponsored by the Civil Liberties Union about how in 1733, a German immigrant named John Peter Zenger printed a publication titled The New York Journal. He was sued for libel for daring to criticize abusive, corrupt royal governor William Cosby. (No, not that Bill Cosby.)

Zenger's wife kept printing the paper anyway and Andrew Hamilton signed on as Zenger's lawyer.

Even though it was against the law at the time to print anti-government publications, he was found not guilty. Thus began the quest for America's most important freedom the First Amendment, which we are NOW, after 228 years, truly in danger of losing.

That's why the First Amendment freedom of the press, speech, religion, assembly and the right to petition the government comes first before all others.

Trump tweets edited clip of himself at WrestleMania punching CNN

The President is now at war with the press despite declaring "I love the First Amendment! Nobody loves it better than me." If you remember, he tweeted this out just before arbitrarily barring several publications from the daily White House press briefings and even trying to get away with making the use of video verboten.

Declaring his love of the First Amendment by warring against it is as dumb as Gov. Christie lying that he didn't get any sun on the beach that was closed to taxpayers before getting busted.

How can any American, no matter how far to the right, think attempted suppression of the press is OK? It's never OK to bar or try to suppress information in a free society. It's what our ancestors died for. It's what we should at least be willing to fight for.

When it comes to this, our most important freedom, Trump is nothing more than Putin with a shirt on.

ADL slams Reddit troll behind CNN-Trump clip for racist comments

And it's not funny. Anymore.

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STASI: Even Trump can't body-slam the First Amendment - New York Daily News

First Amendment Issues in the News – Legal Reader (blog)

There have been a number of First Amendment issues in the news recently. Some are rehashes of the same old battles, and others give us more to chew on.

Remember that one about the Christian baker and the gay wedding cake? Yep, thats one of the First Amendment issues coming around again. This fall, newly topped up with conservative darling Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal of theColorado case. Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission concerns Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a cake for the wedding reception being held by David Mullins and Charlie Craig. Mullins and Craig were legally married in Massachusetts in 2012.

Phillips claims that baking the cake would violate his free exercise of religion and would also constitute coerced speech. Lower courts have consistently held that baking a cake would do neither of these, but is considered to be illegal discrimination due to the couples sexual orientation. This last bit is of key importance when only 22 states have anti-discrimination laws that extend protection to gay people. On one hand, the cake fight is bigger than it first appears: its a proxy in the culture war, and will have an outsized impact on the way some civil rights issues are decided in the future. On the other hand, if baking a cake means that the baker is actually endorsing or taking part in a same-sex union, perhaps gun shop owners will one day be considered to have participated in any crimes committed with the guns they sold. Hey, its possible, right?

Next in the series of First Amendment issues is the Trinity Lutheran v. Comer decision. The Supremes came down on the side of Trinity Lutheran, the church whose ministry involved running a daycare and playground for children. Amazingly, seven of nine justices agreed (for differing reasons) that public funds could not be denied to a church simply because it has a religious mission. Although some majority-opinion justices used language meant to limit the scope of their decision, theidea that governments must provide resources directly to a religious organization has implications for many future policy fights sure to arise, including funding of faith-based education. However, if funds provided to beef up a church playground are not considered fungible in the context of the Establishment clause, perhaps similarly non-fungible funds can be provided for Planned Parenthoods public health mission, free from any involvement with the Hyde Amendment.

Its not just the Supreme Court ruling on recent First Amendment issues. A Montana state court recently decided that the USDAs checkoff program constituted a form of coerced speech, paid for by the states independent cattle ranchers. Checkoff programs are tiny, mandatory taxes paid by producers of certain agricultural commodities. These funds go towards marketing efforts that supposedly benefit the producers of that commodity. This is where ad campaigns like Got Milk? or Beef: Its Whats For Dinner come from. In this case, the Montana Beef Council used checkoff money to partially fund a commercial claiming that Wendys fast food hamburgers are made using North American beef. American ranchers rankled at having to pay to promote Canadian and Mexican beef exports. As a result, the ranchers must still pay the dollar-per-head checkoff, but non-governmental organizations will only receive a portion of the proceeds from ranchers who opt in.

One of the First Amendment issues before Congress is whether or not churches should be able to back political candidates while also retaining their tax-exempt status. House Republicans amended a spending bill to de-fund IRS efforts at enforcing the Johnson Amendment, originally signed into law by Dwight Eisenhower in 1954. While priests and pastors have always been free, as private citizens, to endorse any political position they like, this would potentially turn the pulpit itself into your Facebook feed, minus the cat pictures. Interestingly, non-Christian houses of worship, such as mosques and synagogues, dont seem to be included in the conservative liberalization effort.

Finally, lest we mistake First Amendment issues as being about the rights of all Americans to express their sincerely held beliefs, we get to those whose free speech matters most: the wealthy. Since the landmark Citizens United decision in 2010, money has been even more equated with speech than ever before. Those with wallets full of words wasted no time making sure that their shouting could be heard over those who could afford only humble whispers. In this case, our loudest citizens are insisting that an agenda that benefits them at the cost of most of the rest of us be passed post haste, or the checkbooks would close and perhaps the Republicans would lose their majority in Congress in the next election. One can only hope.

Related: Fungibility Key in Trinity Lutheran Case

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First Amendment Issues in the News - Legal Reader (blog)


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