First Amendment

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1-Star Review for Overfed Betta Fish Nets $1M Lawsuit

Never fear, Gordy recovered; common sense, not so much

(Newser) - In what amounts to much ado about a Betta fish, Ars Technica picks up the case of a Texas couple who went on vacation last year, and did what many traveling pet owners do: They hired a pet-sitting service, a simple act that has now resulted in "numerous death... More »

Why the FBI Wants to Collect 100K Images of Tattoos

Opponents are concerned about profiling

(Newser) - The FBI plans to compile a database of some 100,000 tattoo images, sourced from the Michigan State Police, Tennessee Department of Correction, and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Florida—and the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes the effort is "so fraught with problems" and such a threat to... More »

Gawker Just Got Its Own Billionaire Backer in Hulk Hogan Trial

Hogan vs. Gawker is essentially now PayPal vs. eBay

(Newser) - Hulk Hogan's ongoing lawsuit against Gawker is starting to look a lot like a game of Rock'em Sock'em Robots with two tech billionaires at the controls. On Thursday, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel admitted to secretly funding Hogan's lawsuit to the tune of $10 million. Reuters reports... More »

Ryan Reynolds Gives Theater $5K in Fight Over Booze and Sex

Brewvies Cinema Pub was cited last week

(Newser) - A Utah movie theater is in trouble for showing Deadpool while serving booze, and actor Ryan Reynolds—or a person using his name—has added $5,000 to the theater's legal defense fund, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports. Salt Lake City's Brewvies Cinema Pub was cited last... More »

Court: Filming Cops Isn't First Amendment Right

If you're not making your grievances known, no recording allowed, says ruling

(Newser) - Unless you're actively challenging or criticizing the police, don't whip out your cellphone to record them. That's the ruling of a US District Court in Pennsylvania in a joint lawsuit covering two cases in Philadelphia, the PhillyVoice reports. The complaint—which the ACLU of Pennsylvania says is... More »

Guy's Views on Sex Disqualify Him as Teacher

He thinks it's fine for adults to have relationships with minors

(Newser) - The University of Hawaii didn't violate First Amendment rights when it denied a teaching certificate for an aspiring high school teacher who expressed views condoning adults having sex with minors, says a federal court ruling. Mark Oyama enrolled in the secondary education certification program at the University of Hawaii'... More »

Mass-Media Prof Asks for 'Muscle' to Remove Journo

Mizzou activists mob photographer, cameraman, tell them to leave 'safe space'

(Newser) - A University of Missouri photojournalist on freelance assignment for ESPN found himself in a confrontation with student activists Monday as they tried to ban him from the tent city they'd set up on campus in response to recent racial strife there, the New York Times reports. A tense video... More »

Halloween Is 'Night of Horrors' ... for Sex Offenders: Lawsuit

Calif. complaint says child-safety program violates predators' rights

(Newser) - "For them, Halloween truly is a night of horrors," says an activist and attorney who's filed a lawsuit in California. The horror Janice Bellucci is fighting: that of a Chula Vista sex offender whose rights she says are being violated by having to participate in a statewide... More »

Wireless Group: Radiation Warnings Will 'Stoke Fear'

Industry association says Berkeley's cellphone warning violates First Amendment

(Newser) - Last month, the city council in Berkeley, Calif., unanimously approved a measure that would require all cellphones sold within the city to come with a warning notice that informs consumers about radiation exposure. But a wireless industry trade group is now suing the city, saying that the warning violates sellers'... More »

College Suspends Rugby Team for Necrophilia Song

UMW team also ordered to take classes on sexual assault for party chant

(Newser) - The University of Mary Washington's entire rugby team has been suspended after video surfaced of several of its members singing an obscenity-laced chant describing the sexual assault of a prostitute's corpse. The song was recorded by a student at an off-campus party, per Jezebel ; the student posted the... More »

Confederate Flag on Texas Plates Heads to High Court

Supreme Court to decide if state has right to ban what some see as offensive

(Newser) - The Supreme Court today considers whether Texans should have the right, as folks in nine other states do, to drive around with a license plate bearing the Confederate flag. The Sons of Confederate Veterans—a "heritage organization," as per spokesman Ben Jones, and "not a bunch of... More »

Member of Darren Wilson Grand Jury Wants to Talk

'Grand Juror Doe' sues St. Louis prosecutor

(Newser) - Those wondering what exactly happened behind the scenes of the grand jury that declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown may finally get to hear the inside scoop. A member of that jury, identified as "Grand Juror Doe" in court documents, filed a... More »

Air Force Boots Atheist Who Won't Say 'God' in Oath

Critics say requirement is 'unconstitutional,' secular oath should be allowed

(Newser) - Critics are decrying an "unconstitutional" Air Force decision to refuse an airman's re-enlistment after the unnamed officer crossed out the words "so help me God" in the oath papers he had to sign, reports the Air Force Times . Although the Air Force hasn't confirmed details, a... More »

Court to Town: No, You Can't Outlaw Criticism

Town of Ruidoso banned 'negative' comments about government

(Newser) - Imagine a world where people could say only nice things at your local town meeting—by law. If that world sounds just a wee bit problematic to you, you're on the same page as US District Judge James Browning, who yesterday struck down a rule that the village of... More »

Big Supreme Court Rulings Are Coming

Decisions due on TV, environmental rules

(Newser) - It's a big week for the Supreme Court, which wraps up its term next Monday. We'll be hearing from the justices on a number of key cases that have been argued since January, ranging from ObamaCare to free speech. USA Today outlines the highlights; this week's decisions... More »

Supreme Court OKs Challenge on Law Against Lying

Court also strikes down 'straw man' gun purchases

(Newser) - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that an anti-abortion group can challenge an Ohio law that bars people from making false statements about political candidates during a campaign. The high court said the Susan B. Anthony List does not have to wait until it is prosecuted under the law to... More »

High Court: IQ Test Alone Can't Decide Death Penalty

Plus: Justices favor Secret Service in free-speech ruling

(Newser) - The Supreme Court today ruled that states must look beyond an IQ score in borderline cases of mental disability to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible to be executed. The justices said in a 5-4 decision that Florida and a handful of other states cannot rely solely on... More »

High Court Ruling Already Bad News for Non-Christians

Roanoke supervisor proposes ban on non-Christian prayer

(Newser) - What will the Supreme Court's Greece vs. Galloway decision mean for religious liberty? Well, let's put it this way: Less than 24 hours later, a board of supervisors member in Roanoke, Va., used the ruling to revise his push to ditch the town's nonsectarian prayer policy, adding... More »

Atheist Sues After NJ Rejects Her License Plate

State deems '8THEIST' offensive

(Newser) - New Jersey has a free-speech lawsuit on its hands after a woman's attempt to score an atheist license plate got rejected, reports NJ.com . Shannon Morgan says it was bad enough when she typed in 8THEIST on the state website and learned that it was deemed objectionable. But when... More »

Court Orders YouTube to Yank Anti-Muslim Video

Federal appeals panel sides with actress in 'Innocence of Muslims'

(Newser) - The anti-Muslim video that set off worldwide protests in 2012 can no longer be seen on YouTube. A federal appeals court today ordered Google to take down Innocence of Muslims, reports the San Jose Mercury News . The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to back the request made... More »

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