free speech

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Teen Punished for Saying 'Bless You' in School: Report

School says Kendra Turner caused disruption

(Newser) - A high school senior in Tennessee says she was placed in in-school suspension because she said "bless you" after a fellow student's sneeze. Kendra Turner tells WMCTV her teacher told her that "bless you" is language for church. "She said that we're not going to... 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 »

Man Sues Cops After Arrest for Cursing

Says his right to free speech was violated

(Newser) - A western Pennsylvania man arrested for cursing in front of police has filed a lawsuit saying his right to free speech was violated. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, Richard Pustovrh was arguing with his employers in September 2012 when they called the police. Pustovrh then repeatedly used an obscenity 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 »

Church Pulls 'Hell' Sign After Police Probe

Attleborough Baptist Church's sign was seen as 'hateful'

(Newser) - A Baptist church has agreed to take down a sign about hell after police investigated the message as a "hate incident," reports the Daily Mail . It all started when a passerby in Norfolk, England, complained about the sign, which suggested non-Christians would burn in hell, showing flames below... More »

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 »

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