Blog Posts: Freedom of Speech

Abortion Ambiguities Remain Post-FACE Act

When people think about the abortion debate, they think  Roe v. Wade . However, the Supreme Court’s decision in  Roe  was only the beginning of legislation and controversy surrounding abortion rights. The  Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act , signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, has sparked years of debate and discussion surrounding the First Amendment  right to peaceably assemble  and protest at—or near—abortion clinics. Namely, some argue that the language of the FACE Act is vague, ambiguous, and infringes upon First Amendment rights. The FACE Act’s failure to define the scope of certain concepts such as “threat,” “intimidation,” and “harassment” makes it difficult to determine what form of language or conduct falls within the right to peaceably assemble.  Through examining the current law, remaining ambiguities within that law, as well as pending legislation, this blog post argues that clarity issues stemming from the FACE Act still exist today. These ambiguities should be resolved by crystallizing the language used in legislation surrounding protests at or near abortion clinics, and by specifying what constitutes “peaceful assembly” under the First Amendment.
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No Comments | Posted by Elizabeth C. Nye on Wed. April 6, 2016 11:33 AM
Categories: Freedom of Association, Freedom of Speech, Public Health

Protecting Domestic Violence Victims or Depriving the World of the Next Eminem?: A Brief Examination of Elonis v. United States

Picture this, you marry someone you love and start creating a life together. Eventually, you have two children together, whom you adore, but eventually, your marital relationship begins to suffer and the two of you are arguing more often and decide to divorce.

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No Comments | Posted by Jenica D. Hughes on Wed. March 30, 2016 12:10 PM
Categories: Court Rulings, Freedom of Speech, Social Media


With the advent of the Internet, an entirely new realm of libel law has emerged in the courts, forcing judges to examine entirely new questions of Internet vigilantism and how to deal with crimes in a digital world.   Defamation, 20 N.C. Index 4 th  Libel and Slander  §  1, includes the two separate torts of libel and slander. This blog will focus specifically on the libel associated with Walter Palmer and Cecil the Lion.
No Comments | Posted by Elizabeth A. Kapopoulos on Mon. February 29, 2016 3:26 PM
Categories: Court Rulings, Freedom of Speech, Social Media

Unlicensed and Unheard: Stifling Segway Speech

Do tour guide licensing requirements violate the Free Speech Clause? In the past year, tour guides in two major tourist-destination cities challenged licensing schemes to two different results.  For guides in the city of New Orleans, the Fifth Circuit held that the enforcement of tour guide regulations served an important governmental purpose and was within the confines of its police power to implement.  Kagan v. City of New Orleans, La. , 753 F.3d 560 (5th Cir. 2014),  cert. denied,  135 S. Ct. 1403, 191 L. Ed. 2d 361 (2015). The D.C. Circuit struck down a similar Washington D.C. regulation on the grounds that the government interest was not great enough, nor was the regulation sufficiently tailored to pass an intermediate scrutiny test.  Edwards v. D.C. , 755 F.3d 996 (D.C. Cir. 2014). The D.C. Circuit opinion concluded that while content-neutral, the licensing scheme was not implemented in the least restrictive way possible, a requirement for even facially-neutral laws.  Id.  
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No Comments | Posted by Mia B. Ragent on Mon. February 22, 2016 12:18 PM
Categories: Court Rulings, Freedom of Speech

Firearm “Gag Order” Bound to Miss its Mark

“The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.” – Daniel Webster

In June 2015, the Department of State proposed several changes to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which regulate the manner in which items on the United States Munitions List (USML) may be exported. 80 Fed. Reg. 106 (proposed Jun. 3, 2015). In addition to the physical armaments themselves, the ITAR regulates the export of USML items’ technical specifications. The key component of the ITAR, and the reason it concerns First Amendment scholars, is that it requires authorization from the State Department prior to the export of any items falling within its purview. The prior authorization requirement, combined with a creative definition of “export,” creates a real danger of speech suppression through prior restraint.

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No Comments | Posted by Jonathan C. Jakubowski on Mon. November 30, 2015 1:49 PM
Categories: Freedom of Speech

“Chilling” Campaign Finance Law Upheld

Political silence, the inability to have one’s voice heard, is an issue that marginalizes many citizens and residents. In an effort to remedy this pervasive issue, some citizens choose to give money to public policy think tanks that help foster discussion about important public policy topics. However, this important tool for political mobility seems to be under siege, as issue-focused organizations face costly litigation arising from burdensome reporting requirements.

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No Comments | Posted by Joseph M. Swindle (Max) on Fri. November 6, 2015 6:15 PM
Categories: Court Rulings, Freedom of Speech

Occupational Speech: The New Hazard?

Since 2002 Texas-licensed veterinarian and Ph.D. Microbiologist, Dr. Ron Hines, has been helping pets and pet owners by giving online advice. Hines offered his advice for a $58 flat fee— or for free to those who could not pay— to pet owners around the world, often helping those who otherwise are without access to veterinary advice. After suffering from a debilitating injury that left him unable to practice, Hines began posting pet-care advice online. Pet owners responded by seeking advice from Hines, where he estimates he has helped more than 700 pet owners.

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No Comments | Posted by Kathryn H. Van Wie on Sun. April 14, 2013 8:52 AM
Categories: Freedom of Speech

Lawyers and Advertisements

There are few Americans who would not recognize the advertisement by the class action lawyers involving Mesothelioma. In fact, at this point it is very likely that while reading over the word Mesothelioma, we instinctively pronounce it like the commercial we have all probably seen at least a half dozen times. The Supreme Court in Florida recently reached a decision that loosened the regulations on lawyers’ advertising rules.

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No Comments | Posted by Daniel N. Mullins on Sun. February 17, 2013 8:10 AM
Categories: Freedom of Speech

How Far Should Protection for Photoshop Images Extend?

The concept of altering and retouching images on magazine covers, advertisements, and television, is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, it is over a century old. However, with technological advancements and digitization of photographs, it has become so prevalent that there seldom is an image in the media that has not been retouched. As a result, what ends up in the media is a completely exaggerated version of reality where the end result depicts a woman’s head to be bigger than her waist size. Though the desire to imitate the look of such models is not limited to women, the issue affects women the most and has caused them to develop many psychological problems as a result. After looking at these manipulated images, women and young girls feel worse about their own body images and decide to try to achieve the “model look” they see, and develop eating disorders as a result.

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No Comments | Posted by Minisha B. Patel on Sun. January 27, 2013 11:53 AM
Categories: Freedom of Speech

Can a Bar Association Violate First Amendment Rights Through Its Dues Collection Process?

In October 2012, Nebraska State Senator and Attorney, Scott Lautenbaugh, filed a class action suit against the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA). The suit seeks to have the NSBA’s lobbying and dues procedures deemed unconstitutional. Among the claims for relief are claims that: the collection of the dues constitute compelled speech and association, violating the First Amendment; and that the procedures implemented by the NSBA are inadequate as they do not allow members to object or affirmatively consent to the collection of dues to be used for lobbying purposes.

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No Comments | Posted by Porsha M. Robinson on Sun. November 18, 2012 6:38 PM
Categories: Freedom of Association, Freedom of Speech
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