First Amendment Friday: 04.25.14

This is a feature I started in my time working for the ACLU, that seems worth continuing here. It’s a roundup of news stories about First Amendment rights, not only from the United States but other parts of the world where such rights may not be guaranteed. As with any roundup of news stories, please consider the integrity of the linked source–I try not to link articles that feel bogus, but sometimes stories slip through.

  • Eight rappers who sell CDs of their music in Times Square are suing the NYPD, saying the police violate their free speech and target them unfairly for persecution and arrests. [AllHipHop]
  • Dallin H. Oaks, a leader of the LDS Church, says he believes protections for religious freedom of speech are eroding. [AP]
  • A Pennsylvania student’s family is suing after administrators removed religious notes he inserted into Valentine’s Day cards. [The Express Times]

  • The Pennsylvania Senate held hearings as the state considers expanding legal protections against so-called SLAPP lawsuits, to protect individuals and organizations making statements on public issues. [Philadelphia Tribune]
  • After ordering a police raid to expose a Twitter critic, the mayor of Peoria, IL is coming under more fire from free-speech advocates. [Fox]
  • The mayor’s defense? Those people making fun of him on Twitter were “taking away” his Freedom of Speech. [Fox]
  • Making a somewhat similar argument, the Prime Minister of Turkey is suing his own government, claiming they violated his privacy rights when they refused to shut off nationwide access to Twitter. [The Tower]
  • A British Columbia (Canada) law mandating registration by anyone engaged in political advertising is reasonable, according to a Provincial judge. [Globe and Mail]
  • A woman fired for getting divorced was not the victim of discrimination, because her religious employer is exempt under the “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws. [National Law Review]
  • The FCC is trying to bridge the gap on net neutrality, claiming they can protect free speech while allowing companies to charge premiums for faster delivery. Worth noting: basically everyone who understands Net Neutrality disagrees. [AP]
  • A California judge ruled the television station BET was within its rights telling performer B. Scott, a gender non-conforming androsexual (per Wikipedia), how to dress on the air. [Washington Post]
  • Lifetime also won a free speech victory when a New York appeals judge ruled that a man convicted of murdering his wife could not prevent the network from adapting his story to a made-for-TV movie. [Hollywood Reporter]

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