NEWS ABOUT: free speech

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Michigan: We're Protecting Kids From 'WAR SUX' Plate

State defends rejection of personalized license plate

(Newser) - Michigan rejected a Washtenaw County man's request for a personalized license plate reading "WAR SUX," and the state says it's all about protecting the children. David DeVarti, with the help of the ACLU, sued over the rejection, accusing officials of violating the First Amendment, but lawyers... More »

American Gets Prison Sentence for Comedy Video

Verdict for Shezanne Cassim and friends not actually read

(Newser) - The UAE is very bad at taking a joke. The state security court in Abu Dhabi today sentenced three men—including American citizen Shezanne Cassim—to a year in prison for a goofy video they put online last year. The video, titled "Satwa G" is a mockumentary poking fun... More »

Fla. Busts Guy for Protesting Traffic Light Cameras

He's been arrested for handing out fliers before

(Newser) - Don't like cameras enforcing traffic lights? Well, if you live in Apopka, Florida, you might want to keep that pet peeve to yourself. Mark Schmidter, 66, was out protesting the city's use of cameras on Saturday, handing out fliers to passing motorists with a petition on one side... More »

High Court Won't Hear Prof's Suit Over 9/11 Essay

State courts backed firing by University of Colorado

(Newser) - A former professor's lawsuit following his firing from the University of Colorado has been stopped in its tracks. The Supreme Court won't hear Ward Churchill's case against the school, Reuters reports. He was fired after an investigation cited problems with his academic work, but the probe was... More »

Supreme Court Upholds Corporate Donation Ban

Meanwhile, it lets man whose IQ is too low to execute go

(Newser) - The Supreme Court has been notoriously friendly to corporate speech rights, but it today rejected two Hillary Clinton donors' attempt to argue that corporations should be able to donate directly to candidates. William Danielczyk and Eugene Biagi, who are accused of illegally funneling $150,000 of corporate cash into Clinton'... More »

Griping About Work Online Is (Mostly) Protected

Employees have a right to band together, say recent rulings

(Newser) - Companies have been overstepping their authority by restricting workers' online comments, say federal officials who are moving to fix the issue. Labor regulators have deemed some firings over social-network discussions illegal, arguing that companies' rules regarding online speech are far too broad, the New York Times reports. A lot of... More »

Georgia Sued for Banning 'GAYGUY' Vanity Plate

James Cyrus Gilbert wants to force state to OK plate

(Newser) - Apparently, Georgia wants people to drive straight. Two free-speech lawyers have filed a lawsuit against the commissioner of the state's Department of Driver Services, after the department rejected a series of vanity plates including "4GAYLIB," "GAYPWR," and "GAYGUY," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "... More »

Want to Deport Piers? You're Un-American

Tommy Christopher: What's patriotic about having the government silence people?

(Newser) - In theory, the White House's "We the People" petition site is a great way to let Americans interact with their government. In practice, it lets a small number of morons "shame the entire nation before the world," writes Tommy Christopher at Mediaite . The latest example: The... More »

Woman Busted in Scuffle Over NYC 'Savages' Ad

Tries to spray-paint over anti-Islam ad, as another defends it with her body

(Newser) - New York City's controversial subway ads equating jihadists to "savages" did not take long to incite a scuffle: The New York Post has gotten its hands on footage of an intense encounter between two women. The video shows a woman who proudly identifies herself as Egyptian-American journalist Mona... More »

Ahead of RNC, Tampa Bans ... Puppets?

Protesters outraged

(Newser) - Political puppets are a time-honored tradition, and protesters gearing up for the Republican National Convention are dutifully creating some. There's just one problem: The city of Tampa has effectively banned puppets inside the event area. Well, technically, they've banned sticks, strings, and masks, the Tampa Bay Times reports,... More »

Dear Fellow Liberals, Citizens United Is Right

Michael Kinsley: Accept the free-speech principle, even if you hate the ruling

(Newser) - John Roberts is suddenly a darling of liberals because he upheld ObamaCare even though it's clear he personally hates the idea of it. It's time for liberals to apply the same kind of "intellectual honesty" to a court decision they abhor, writes Michael Kinsley at Bloomberg . That... More »

Judge to Twitter: Turn Over Writer's Protest Tweets

Malcolm Harris' tweets not protected speech, judge rules

(Newser) - Freewheeling speech on Twitter isn't the same as protected speech, a judge has ruled. In a decision with major repercussions for social media communication, a Manhattan criminal court judge has ordered Twitter to turn over tweets sent by a New York writer during Occupy Wall Street protests last fall.... More »

KKK Asks ACLU for Help in Highway Case

Civil rights group considering protecting Klan's free speech

(Newser) - The Ku Klux Klan is turning to a surprise choice for help in its fight to sponsor a highway cleanup: the ACLU. And the civil rights group is considering taking the case, representatives tell the Guardian . Georgia refused the KKK's request to sponsor a portion of highway where members... More »

'Obscene' Zuma Painting Case Heads to Court

It 'presents me as a womanizer, philanderer,' says South African president

(Newser) - The ruling South African party is heading to court today to support President Jacob Zuma's demand that an "obscene" painting of him be censored. The painting, which was vandalized earlier this week at a Johannesburg gallery, features Zuma with his genitals exposed. It's "rude, crude, and... More »

ACLU Backs Girls Expelled for Facebook 'Death Threats'

Chat was just 'teenage banter,' says lawyer

(Newser) - Genuine death threats don't tend to come with "LOL" and a smiley face attached, notes the ACLU, which has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three expelled eighth-graders in Indiana. The 14-year-old girls were kicked out of school for a Facebook conversation in which they talked about which... More »

Board: Ax Marine Who Put Obama on Jackass Poster

General will make final decision on Sgt. Gary Stein

(Newser) - A military board has determined that a Marine sergeant committed misconduct and should be dismissed because he posted derogatory comments and Facebook photos of President Obama. Marine Sgt. Gary Stein launched a Facebook page called the Armed Forces Tea Party , in which he slammed Obama, violating Pentagon rules banning criticism... More »

School Caves, Lets Gay Kid Wear Banned T-Shirt for Day

Maverick Couch can proclaim 'Jesus Is Not a Homophobe'

(Newser) - Maverick Couch fought the man, and the man caved: The 16-year-old gay student, who sued his Ohio school for the right to wear a T-shirt emblazoned with "Jesus Is Not a Homophobe," will be allowed to wear it for a day. But it's a big day: The... More »

Student Sues to Wear 'Jesus No Homophobe' Shirt

Lambda argues Maverick Couch, 16, has constitutional shirt rights

(Newser) - A gay student is suing his Ohio high school for the right to wear a T-shirt saying "Jesus is not a homophobe." The Lambda legal organization filed the suit on behalf of Maverick Couch, 16, arguing the ban on the shirt violates his right to free speech, and... More »

PayPal Tells Publishers to Pull 'Obscene' E-Books

Remove controversial titles or else, booksellers told

(Newser) - PayPal is overstepping the bounds of its role as a payment processor by trying to ban e-books it deems obscene, publishers and free speech groups complain. At least three online publishers and booksellers received emails warning them that their accounts will be "limited" unless they pull titles "containing... More »

Should Fake Military Boasts Be a Crime?

They currently can be, and the Supreme Court will weigh in on the subject

(Newser) - Since 2006, lying about military valor—claiming to have received a prestigious medal, for instance—could result in prosecution. But that could change after this Wednesday, when the Supreme Court reviews the Stolen Valor Act. Proponents of the law, which include the Obama administration, say it prevents fraud. Such liars... More »

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