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Latest First Amendment News

Free-speech news from the First Amendment Center online.

Federal court finalizes dismissal of MySpace hoax charges

Judge issues written ruling, cites chance that innocent Internet users could become subject to criminal charges if Lori Drew's conviction was allowed to stand.

Cigarette makers try to extinguish new marketing limits

R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, others file lawsuit, contending provisions in Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act violate their free-speech rights.

Supporters of gay partnerships sue to stop Wash. referendum

Lawsuit claims officials have accepted thousands of signatures that aren't in compliance with state law; meanwhile, campaign-finance panel rejects bid to keep initiative donors' names secret.

Conn. public-financing law violates minor parties' free speech

Federal judge acknowledges 'good motives' behind effort, but says it puts unconstitutional burden on third-party candidates.

Government tightens oversight of laptop searches at borders

Move comes amid concerns that federal agents have been rummaging through travelers' personal info and that practice could chill activities protected by First Amendment.

Ill. governor vetoes campaign-finance bill

Gov. Pat Quinn, who once had praised measure, says Republican, Democratic lawmakers, reform groups and average people around state persuaded him to scrap bill and start over.

FTC to muzzle 'robocalls' further

Starting Sept. 1, telemarketers will need written permission from customers in order to make many types of pre-recorded calls.

No joke: Mother-in-law sues comedian

Lawsuit accuses Sunda Croonquist, who is half-black, half-Swedish, of spreading false, defamatory and racist lies about her Jewish in-laws.

R.I. town agrees not to enforce limits on political signs

West Warwick officials also will pay $30,000 in damages, attorneys fees as part of settlement in free-speech lawsuit.

N.M. education chief won't alter Pledge of Allegiance rule

Veronica García says amending regulation to say students can opt out of daily recitation could create mistaken impression that oath isn't important in state's classrooms.

A rapper, a blogger and ‘true threats’

By Gene Policinski When does saying someone deserves to be killed cross the First Amendment line between harsh speech and actual threat?

Federal court tosses challenge to overseas wiretap law

Judge rejects claims from journalists, other plaintiffs that statute chills protected speech, saying fears that their conversations would be monitored were 'purely subjective.'

Model unmasks anonymous blogger, says she forgives her

New York judge had ordered Google to tell Liskula Cohen who was behind verbal taunts on

FBI trained N.J. blogger to provoke others, attorney says

Hal Turner faces charges in Connecticut, Illinois for allegedly making threats against legislators, federal judges.

Federal court nixes S.C. law restricting adult-business billboards

Judge sides with attorneys for erotic bookstore, who argued statute was 'unconstitutional prior restraint on the dissemination of constitutionally protected expression.'

Mo. woman faces felony cyberbullying charge

Prosecutors say 40-year-old Elizabeth Thrasher posted 17-year-old girl's picture, e-mail address and cell phone number in Craigslist posting that suggested girl was seeking sexual encounter.

White House blames outside groups for unsolicited e-mails

Online director says some political organizations may have signed up their members without their knowledge to receive regular updates about president's projects, priorities and speeches.

Atheist bus ads spark free-speech debate in Iowa

Des Moines transit officials — who tore down, then re-posted group's 'Don’t believe in God?' signs — say they are revising their advertising policy in wake of dust-up.

ACLU, Tenn. schools settle case over gay-issues Web sites

Group says Knoxville, Nashville school systems have agreed to stop using filtering software that blocks educational sites about gay, lesbian and transgender issues.

Rapper's 'Kill Me A Cop' lyrics land him in prison

Antavio Johnson gets two-year sentence after rapping about killing two Lakeland, Fla., police officers; civil libertarians say case raises free-speech concerns.