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freedom of speech

Prominent Supporters of Terrorist Organization MEK May Not Be Protected by First Amendment

March 16, 2012

Dozens of prominent American political figures from both political parties may have violated the federal anti-terrorism law by advocating that the MEK should be removed from the list of designated terrorist organizations. Because of the Supreme Court's decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (2010), what they said may not be not protected by the [...]

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Rush Limbaugh, Hate Speech, and the First Amendment

March 15, 2012

Rush Limbaugh has a long history of demeaning people based upon their gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. His record is a perfect demonstration of the fact that in the context of a public address hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. That does not mean that other people have to put up with [...]

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Oral Argument in FCC v. Fox, continued

March 5, 2012

Two days ago I summarized the issues in this case.  Yesterday's post described the Solicitor General's presentation to the Supreme Court in oral argument.  Today I describe the television broadcasters' arguments to the Court, through their attorneys Carter G. Phillips and Seth P. Waxman.  The transcript of oral argument is available here.

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Rush Limbaugh, Larry Flynt, and the Westboro Baptist Church: Is Limbaugh Protected by the First Amendment?

March 5, 2012

Over the course of three days conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh repeatedly defamed Sandra Fluke, a third-year Georgetown law student, calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute."  If found guilty of slander or intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), Limbaugh would be liable to Ms. Fluke for millions of dollars in actual damages, and his potential [...]

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Oral Argument in Fox v. F.C.C.

March 4, 2012

I described the First Amendment issues that are at stake in this case in yesterday's post. Today's post summarizes what occurred during the government's presentation at oral argument in FCC v. Fox on January 10, 2012. The transcript of oral argument is available here.

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: FCC v. Fox Television Stations, No., 10-1293 (Vagueness, Freedom of Expression)

March 3, 2012

The last time this case came before the Supreme Court in 2009 it was for âfleeting expletivesâ uttered by Cher at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards broadcast by Fox and by Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton at the same event in 2003.  The Supreme Court decided that case not on constitutional grounds but rather under principles of [...]

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Reichle v. Howards, No. 11-362 (First Amendment)

February 28, 2012

On June 16, 2006, Stephen Howards was arrested by the Secret Service after he said something to Vice-President Richard Cheney and touched or pushed his shoulder, and then lied to them about whether he had done that.  As a result Howards sued several of the Secret Service agents for violating his rights under the First [...]

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: The Respondent's Attack on the Stolen Valor Act at Oral Argument in United States v. Alvarez

February 27, 2012

Yesterday's post described the government's presentation at oral argument in United States v. Alvarez, where the Solicitor General defended the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act.  Today's post summarizes the respondent's argument.  Here is a link to the transcript of the oral argument.

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: The Government's Defense of the Stolen Valor Act at Oral Argument in United States v. Alvarez

February 26, 2012

The principal doctrinal division in this case is whether "false statements of fact" are a "historically unprotected category of speech.  The principal practical division arises from the attempt to identify the "harm" that the government is seeking to prevent by prohibiting people from lying about earning military honors.  Oral argument exposed those divisions.  Today I describe [...]

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Summary of United States v. Alvarez (The Stolen Valor Act case)

February 25, 2012

This case involves the constitutionality of the âStolen Valor Act,â 18 U.S.C. 704(b), the federal law that makes it a crime to falsely claim that one has been awarded military honors.

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Hazma Kashgari Faces Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia for Apostasy

February 12, 2012

Hazma Kashgari, a 23-year-old Saudi journalist, faces the death penalty for tweeting his doubts about the divinity of the Prophet Mohammed.  This is a reminder of our own struggles to establish freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

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2010-2011 Supreme Court Term: Decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association

June 28, 2011

Yesterday the Supreme Court released its decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.  The Court struck down a California law that made it illegal for merchants to sell violent video games to children.  The Court found that this law violates the First Amendment.

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