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Category Archives: First Amendment
United States Mint Announces Release of Fourth Coin in Platinum Proof Series Celebrating Five Freedoms of the First … – GlobeNewswire
Posted: February 9, 2024 at 10:39 am
Washington, DC, Feb. 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United States Mint (Mint) announced today that it is releasing the fourth coin in the five-year First Amendment to the United States Constitution Platinum Proof Coin Series on February 15, 2024, at noon (EST). Mintage is limited to 12,000 coins. Orders are limited to three units per household for the first 24 hours.
Launched in 2021 and continuing through 2025, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution Platinum Proof Coin Series reflects the five freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This series uses the lifecycle of the oak tree from seedling to a mighty oak as a metaphor for our countrys growth as a Nation that values freedom. Liberty grows to a thing of strength and beauty from a seedour Bill of Rights. Each of the freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment contributes to the growth and development of the Nation.
Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Donna Weaver created all obverse (heads) designs in this series, and United States Mint Chief Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted them.
The 2024 obverse design showcases several types of oak leaves assembled between the inscription WITH THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE LIBERTY SPREADS. Additional inscriptions are IN GOD WE TRUST, E PLURIBUS UNUM, and 2024.
The common reverse design for this series, by AIP Designer Patricia Lucas-Morris, depicts an eagle in flight, an olive branch in its talons. Inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, $100, 1 OZ., and .9995 PLATINUM. United States Mint Medallic Artist Don Everhart sculpted the reverse.
Each coin is encapsulated then placed in a stylish clamshell and presentation box. An image of the obverse design is incorporated on the outer packaging sleeve and on the Certificate of Authenticity.
As with all Mint products containing a precious metal, this coin will be priced according to the range in which it appears on the Pricing of Numismatic Gold, Commemorative Gold, and Platinum and Palladium Products table. Current pricing information is available online at https://catalog.usmint.gov/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-USM-Library/default/dw2021515f/images/PDFs/2023-Pricing-Grid.pdf
To sign up for Remind Me alerts for the 2024 First Amendment to the United States Constitution Platinum Proof Coin Right to Assemble, visithttps://catalog.usmint.gov/first-amendment-to-the-united-states-constitution-2024-platinum-proof-coin-right-to-assemble-24EJ.html/
Previous releases in this series include coins with designs recognizing Freedom of Religion (2021), Freedom of Speech (2022), and Freedom of the Press (2023). The final coin in the seriesRight to Petitionwill be released in 2025.
Additional products in the Mints collection of American Eagle Platinum Proof Coins are available athttps://catalog.usmint.gov/coins/precious-metal-coins/platinum/
Note: To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, the United States Mint will not accept and will not honor orders placed prior to the official on-sale date of February 15, 2024, at noon EST.
About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nations sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.
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United States Mint Connecting America through Coins
Posted: at 10:39 am
Posted: January 27, 2024 at 3:53 am
A renegade federal appeals court one dominated by MAGA-aligned judges who routinely read the law in ways that even the current, very conservative Supreme Court finds untenable has spent the last half-decade harassing DeRay Mckesson, a prominent civil rights activist and an organizer within the Black Lives Matter movement
As part of this crusade, two of the Fifth Circuits judges effectively eliminated the First Amendment right to organize a protest in a case known as Doe v. Mckesson.
Mckessons case has already been up to the Supreme Court once, and the justices strongly hinted in a 2020 opinion that the Fifth Circuits attacks on Mckessons First Amendment rights should end labeling this case fraught with implications for First Amendment rights. But the Fifth Circuit did not take the hint, issuing a new opinion last July reaffirming its attack on First Amendment-protected political protests.
Now the case is before the Supreme Court again, and Mckessons lawyers want the justices to restore the First Amendment as fast as they possibly can.
In 2016, Mckesson helped organize a protest near Baton Rouges police department building, following the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling in that same Louisiana city. At some point during that protest, an unknown individual threw a rock or some other hard object at a police officer, identified in court documents by the pseudonym Officer John Doe.
Sadly, the object hit Doe and allegedly caused injuries to his teeth, jaw, brain, and head, along with other compensable losses.
There is no excuse for throwing a rock at another human being, and whoever did so should be held responsible for their illegal act, including serious criminal charges. But even Judge Jennifer Elrod, the author of the Fifth Circuits most recent opinion targeting Mckesson, admits that it is clear that Mckesson did not throw the heavy object that injured Doe.
Nevertheless, Doe sued Mckesson, claiming that, as the organizer of the protest where this injury occurred, Mckesson should be liable for the illegal action of an unidentified protest attendee. But that is simply not how the First Amendment works. The Supreme Court held in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware (1982) that civil liability may not be imposed merely because an individual belonged to a group, some members of which committed acts of violence.
It should be obvious why protest leaders must not be held legally responsible for the actions of random protest attendees. No one will ever organize a political protest if they know that they could face financially devastating liability if a reckless or violent individual happens to show up.
Indeed, as Judge Don Willett, a Fifth Circuit judge who dissented from Elrods opinion, pointed out, Elrods approach could potentially force protest organizers to pay for the unlawful acts of counter-protesters and agitators who show up for the very purpose of undermining the protest organizers political goals. Under Elrods opinion, Mckesson could be held liable if the unknown rock-thrower turns out to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan who showed up for the very purpose of undermining the Black Lives Matter movement by associating them with violence.
In their petition to the Supreme Court, Mckessons attorneys make an audacious ask claiming that Elrods decision is so flatly contrary to this Courts controlling precedent to be appropriate for summary reversal.
A summary reversal is the judicial equivalent of a spanking. It means that the lower courts decision was so erroneous that the justices decided to skip a full briefing or an oral argument in a case, and issue a permanent order overturning that lower courts decision.
This process is rarely used, and it is distinct from the temporary orders the Court frequently hands down on its so-called shadow docket. The Supreme Court typically requires six justices to agree before summarily reversing another courts decision.
Nevertheless, such a spanking is warranted in this case. Elrods opinion flouts exceedingly well-established First Amendment law. And it does so in a way that would make organized mass protests impossible, because anyone who tried to organize one would risk bankruptcy.
To understand just how ridiculous Elrods decision is, and how egregiously she defies the Supreme Courts caselaw, its helpful to start with the facts of the Claiborne case.
Like Mckesson, Claiborne involved a civil rights activist who organized a protest that allegedly included some violent individuals. In 1966, Charles Evers was the field secretary of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP. In that role, he was the principal organizer of a boycott against white merchants in Claiborne County.
The Mississippi Supreme Court claimed that some of the individuals who joined this boycott also engaged in acts of physical force and violence against the persons and property of certain customers and prospective customers of these white businesses. Evers, meanwhile, allegedly did far more to encourage violence than DeRay Mckesson is accused of in his case. He allegedly gave a speech to potential customers at these stores, where he said that if we catch any of you going in any of them racist stores, were gonna break your damn neck.
The Supreme Court nonetheless held that this emotionally charged rhetoric ... did not transcend the bounds of protected speech. Claiborne also warned that courts must show extreme care before imposing liability on a political figure of any kind.
That said, the Courts decision also listed three limited circumstances when a protest leader may be held liable for the violent actions of a protest participant:
There are three separate theories that might justify holding Evers liable for the unlawful conduct of others. First, a finding that he authorized, directed, or ratified specific tortious activity would justify holding him responsible for the consequences of that activity. Second, a finding that his public speeches were likely to incite lawless action could justify holding him liable for unlawful conduct that in fact followed within a reasonable period. Third, the speeches might be taken as evidence that Evers gave other specific instructions to carry out violent acts or threats.
None of these circumstances are present Mckesson. To the contrary, the Fifth Circuit admitted in an earlier decision in this very case that Officer Doe has not pled facts that would allow a jury to conclude that Mckesson colluded with the unknown assailant to attack Officer Doe, knew of the attack and ratified it, or agreed with other named persons that attacking the police was one of the goals of the demonstration.
So how on earth did Elrod arrive at the conclusion that Mckesson could be held liable for the actions of an unknown protest attendee? For starters, she claimed that her court could just add new items to the list of three circumstances that could justify such liability in her Mckesson opinion. According to Elrod, nothing in Claiborne suggests that the three theories identified above are the only proper bases for imposing tort liability on a protest leader.
This is, to put it mildly, a very unusual way to read a Supreme Court opinion that held that threats to break someones neck can be First Amendment-protected speech, which calls for extreme care before targeting protest organizers, and which laid out only three very specific circumstances that might justify an exception. Elrod cites no other court decision that has ever read Claiborne in such a counterintuitive way.
Then, after giving herself the power to invent new exceptions to the First Amendment, Elrod writes that this amendment does not apply where a defendant creates unreasonably dangerous conditions, and where his creation of those conditions causes a plaintiff to sustain injuries.
And what are the dangerous conditions created by Mckesson? Mckesson organized the protest to begin in front of the police station, obstructing access to the building. He did not dissuade protesters who allegedly stole water bottles from a grocery store. And he led the assembled protest onto a public highway, in violation of Louisiana criminal law.
Seriously, she said that the First Amendment begins to fade the minute a protest occupies a street.
Its hard to imagine a more lawless, unpersuasive, and historically ignorant decision than the one Elrod put her name on in the Mckesson case. And if the Supreme Court cant find the votes to reverse that decision, the right to engage in mass protest will become meaningless.
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Here is the original post:
A new Supreme Court case threatens to take away your right to protest - Vox.com
Posted: at 3:52 am
Know Your Rights: Students in Higher Education & the First Amendment – New York Civil Liberties Union
Posted: at 3:52 am
It depends. As with private universities, your public college or university can discipline you for your speech if it determines that the speech violates the university's student conduct rules, or other established rules and guidelines. However, that investigation and determination must adhere,first and foremost, to First Amendment protections (outlined in the general First Amendment section above), as well as to the rules outlined in the universitys student code of conduct so, knowledge of your college or universitys code of conduct and/or policies is essential.
Before a public institution disciplines a student or student group, such as by expelling the student or revoking official recognition from a group on campus, it must provide the student or student group with due process. This includes providing students with the names of witnesses against them, an opportunity to present a defense, and the results and findings of the hearing. Unless otherwise stated in their own rules, public institutions are not required to provide legal representation for students, allow them to bring a legal representative, allow students or student groups to cross-examine witnesses, or record the hearing.
SPJ co-authors legal brief supporting First Amendment right to record and publish livestreamed court hearings – Society of Professional Journalists
Posted: at 3:52 am
Home > SPJ News > SPJ co-authors legal brief supporting First Amendment right to record and publish livestreamed court hearings
SPJ co-authors legal brief supporting First Amendment right to record and publish livestreamed court hearings
CONTACT: Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, SPJ National President, firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Geronimo, Case Western Reserve University School of Law First Amendment Clinic, email@example.com Kim Tsuyuki, SPJ Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS The Society of Professional Journalists is urging a federal appeals court to protect journalists First Amendment right to photograph, record, and redistribute images of court hearings that are livestreamed for remote viewing.
In a legal brief joined by the National Press Photographers Association, SPJ asks the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a federal district court ruling from Michigan, which found that there is no constitutionally protected right to create and publish screenshots of court proceedings even if the courts themselves televise the proceedings.
Although judges have been given latitude to exclude photojournalists from the physical courtroom on the grounds that cameras might be noisy or distracting, the same principle does not apply when a journalist, or other spectator, is recording the hearing in the privacy of a home or workplace, the brief argues: By self-publishing the audio or video of a proceeding, the judge has conceded that there is no harm in letting the public listen and watch.
The brief was filed Jan. 8 by attorneys Andrew Geronimo, Sara E. Coulter and Siobhan Gerber of the Milton and Charlotte Kramer First Amendment Law Clinic at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, who are providing pro-bono counsel to SPJ and NPPA.
The brief was filed in support of a Michigan lawyer, Nicholas Somberg, who is suing prosecutors for seeking sanctions against him after he took a screenshot of a hearing in which he was participating by Zoom and shared the image on Facebook. Prosecutors had initiated contempt proceedings against Somberg under a court rule that restricts the use of cameras inside the courtroom without the judges permission. A U.S. district judge threw out Sombergs lawsuit, agreeing with prosecutors that the rule against cameras inside courtrooms applies equally to a livestreamed remote hearing. Somberg is asking the Sixth Circuit to reinstate his case.
SPJ and NPPA ask the appeals court to overturn the district court, which failed to require the government to demonstrate why it is legitimate to extend the courtroom cameras ban beyond the walls of the courthouse. The organizations argue that the ban is unconstitutionally broad, prohibiting the re-use of any images of courtroom video, even in cases of great public concern that involve no sensitive privacy issues.
News media coverage of the courts serves an essential public-education function, enabling far more people than could ever sit in the courtroom to have the civic benefit of viewing the workings of the justice system for themselves, the brief argues. Video of judicial proceedings, whether broadcast by the news media or streamed directly by the court, provides the most complete record of what took place, rather than leaving the public to rely on second-hand accounts, the accuracy of which might be questioned.
The case is Somberg v. McDonald, No. 23-01872.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.