Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


Supreme Court Sign Decision May Point to More Freedom

Will a recent Supreme Court decision involving signs unleash more speech than Americans can handle? In a recent New York Times article on what reporter Adam Liptak (rightly) refers to as “the sleeper case of the last Supreme Court term,” Liptak spoke with Robert Post, First Amendment scholar and dean of Yale Law School, and Floyd Abrams, constitutional lawyer and free-speech advocate, about Reed v. Town of Gilbert. In Reed, the Court invalidated a town sign code that treated signs promoting church services more harshly than signs promoting other messages, and made plain that such content-based restrictions on speech must undergo strict judicial scrutiny. Abrams praised the decision; Dean Post, according to Liptak, predicted that it will “endanger “all sorts of laws,” “roll consumer protection back to the 19th century,” and “destabilize First Amendment law.”


EU ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Law is Idiotic

Google has been ordered by European authorities to remove links to news stories about the fact that Google was ordered by European authorities to remove links to news stories.


Appeals court upholds ruling against Michigan State

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s ruling that compels the Michigan State University Police Department to release public records involving MSU athletes to ESPN.

ESPN filed a public records request in September 2014 seeking incident reports involving Spartan football and men’s basketball players from 2009-2014. The university released certain records but removed the names and identifying information about suspects, victims and witnesses, citing privacy laws.


NSA Surveillance Programs Face Challenges in Court

The federal government’s once-secret telephone and Internet surveillance programs face crucial court hearings in Washington and New York, but the Supreme Court won’t reconsider the decisions of a secret federal court.

The challenges, brought by liberal, conservative and privacy watchdog groups, raise the prospect that a federal judge could order at least a temporary halt to the National Security Agency’s snooping on millions of Americans.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon will hear former Reagan administration lawyer Larry Klayman’s request for preliminary injunctions against both of the government’s major surveillance programs. One sweeps up telephone companies’ data from domestic call records, even though the targets are foreign terrorists. The other goes after cellphone and computer data from major wireless companies and Internet service providers.


Facebook ‘Like’ Is Protected By the First Amendment

“Liking” something on Facebook is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, reviving a closely watched case over the extent to which the Constitution shields what we do online.

In doing so, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a former deputy sheriff in Hampton, Va., who said he was sacked for “liking” the Facebook page of a man running against his boss for city sheriff.

“Liking” the campaign page, the court said, was the “Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one’s front yard, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech.”


FISA Court Sides With Yahoo in Data Collection Case

Yahoo has won a court fight that could help the public learn more about the government’s efforts to obtain data from Internet users.

The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews government requests to spy on individuals, ruled that information should be made public about a 2008 case that ordered Yahoo Inc. to turn over customer data.

The order requires the government to review which portions of the opinion, briefs and arguments can be declassified and report back to the court by July 29.

The government sought the information from Yahoo under the National Security Agency’s PRISM data-gathering program. Details of the secret program were disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has fled the U.S.


Federal Court Allows Videotaping of Barry Bonds’ Hearing

A federal appeals court is allowing video cameras into a hearing next week for Barry Bonds’ appeal of his felony obstruction of justice conviction.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday granted permission to Fox News and local television station KRON-4 to videotape the proceedings.


Bill Introduced to Allow Cameras in Supreme Court

Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) has introduced bipartisan legislation to permit television coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court to give the public more access to the high court’s deliberations. Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) is the original cosponsor.

Connolly’s Cameras in the Courtroom Act – H.R. 96 — would permit television coverage of all open sessions of the U.S. Supreme Court unless a majority of justices decided that allowing coverage of a particular case would violate the due process rights of a party appearing before the court.


Court to Decide if States Can Bar Out-of-State FOIA Applicants

The Supreme Court decided it would hear arguments over whether states can keep out-of-staters from using their Freedom of Information Act laws to get government documents.

The high court agreed to hear an appeal from Mark J. McBurney of Rhode Island and Roger W. Hurlbert of California, two men who wanted to use the Virginia law to request public documents from state officials. Both were both denied because they are not Virginia citizens. Hurlbert was trying to get property assessment information for his business, Sage Information Services, and McBurney was trying to information from the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement in a child support enforcement case against his ex-wife.


Defense attorney seeks identity of Crime Stoppers tipster

Lawyers for the two men charged with kidnapping and killing University of North Carolina student body president Eve Carson want to know who called in the tip to Crime Stoppers that lead to the pairs arrest. Crime Stoppers is a nationwide law enforcement program that promises anonymity to members of the public who share information about crimes. If the courts rule that the identity must be revealed, it could undermine one of law enforcement’s most effective investigative tools.

October 2020