Tuesday, July 20, 2021

‘An important step forward’ / Posthumous win / ‘Students don’t need a permit’

‘An important step forward.’ Hailing the Justice Department’s new limits for government spying on journalists’ phone records and emails, the director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University nevertheless tells The New York Times it’s “crucial” that Congress write those rules into law.
The new policy includes broad exceptions, including cases when reporters have “used criminal methods … to obtain government information.”

‘We cannot … say everything and anything is protected speech.’ So ruled a municipal judge in New Jersey, ordering a woman to remove “F*** Biden” lawn signs.
But a law professor tells the Times he’ll be “stunned” if that ruling survives appeal.

Posthumous win. A federal appeals court has given a now-deceased documentary filmmaker a First Amendment victory, ruling that a St. Louis police officer who forcefully arrested him during a protest isn’t entitled to qualified immunity.
Ex-employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency and the Director of National Intelligence have lost an appeals court fight contending their First Amendment rights were compromised by requirements that they submit copies of their manuscripts to the government for pre-publication review.

On campus …
‘Students don’t need a permit.’ A conservative group is suing the University of Alabama over an outdoor events policy requiring that students request approval to speak three days in advance, with clearance subject to the university’s approval.
A federal appeals court has declined to grant a Texas high school teacher qualified immunity in a lawsuit alleging he retaliated against a then-student who refused to stand, salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

An ‘assault on democracy’ / ‘Everyone loves my van, except …’ / Which of these events came 1st?

An ‘assault on democracy.’ An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer condemns a new law requiring Florida colleges and universities to survey students and employees about their political beliefs.
 Free Speech Center Director Ken Paulson: “It’s insulting to college-age students.”
 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch: The law echoes “Florida’s shameful, recent past.”
 On First Amendment grounds, a federal judge has blocked a Florida law aimed at punishing social-media companies that ban political candidates.
 An Orlando Sentinel editorial condemns “Florida’s loony laws and the hypocrites who pass them.”

On other campuses …

‘Hey there. How about F___ Juneteenth?’ That Facebook post by a white professor at North Carolina’s East Carolina University has resulted in his resignation.
A University of North Carolina Wilmington professor has apologized for posting—and then deleting—a Facebook call to “Blow up Republicans.”
The University of North Carolina System says it remains committed to upholding First Amendment rights.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether government tuition aid can be used at religious schools.
The ACLU is gearing up to fight state laws across the country limiting the teaching of “critical race theory,” which it has labeled “a nationwide attempt to censor discussions of race in the classroom.”

‘Everyone loves my van, except for Karens.’ A woman with the vanity license plate “TITSOUT” is among those raising First Amendment objections to a new Maine ban on “vulgar” plates.
A Nashville woman who says she’s a fan of astronomy and video games is fighting to keep a vanity plate reading “69PWNDU,” explaining that it references the year of the first moon landing and a gamer’s claim of victory …
 … although the state, for reasons not explained, ruled it “offensive.”
A New Jersey cop disciplined for posts on social media has lost his appeal under the First Amendment.
A Tennessee court says a Knoxville strip-club ordinance outlawing total nudity and touching by patrons doesn’t violate the First Amendment.

Strange First Amendment bedfellows. Groups across the political spectrum are celebrating a Supreme Court order that California stop collecting the names and addresses of charities’ top donors.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting raises a warning flag about the Biden administration’s shutdown of 33 foreign media outlets’ websites.

‘If he could be thrown in jail for desiring to write a critical book of the president …’ A lawyer for Donald Trump’s former “fixer,” Michael Cohen, defends Cohen’s $20 million lawsuit against the government, claiming Cohen was returned to prison for planning to publish his thoughts on Trump.

Which of these events came first? Test your knowledge of the Declaration of Independence with a Free Speech Center quiz.
Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson are among the honorees in the 2021 New England Muzzle Awards, spotlighting those who’ve diminished free speech.
A new Obamas-produced Netflix show inspired by Schoolhouse Rock features folk-rocker Brandi Carlisle singing about the First Amendment.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

F-bomb shelter / Trump vs. ‘SNL’ / ‘An epidemic of censorship and entitlement’

On campus …

F-bomb shelter. The U.S. Supreme Court says a Pennsylvania high school was wrong to suspend a cheerleader over her profane Snapchat post—“F___ school f___ softball f___ cheer f___ everything”—after she failed to make the varsity team.
The 8-1 ruling concluded: “It might be tempting to dismiss [her] words as unworthy of the robust First Amendment protections. … But sometimes it is necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary.”
Free Speech Center Director Ken Paulson: “The case had the potential to either expand the free-speech rights of public school students or limit them. It did neither.”
The one dissenting justice, Clarence Thomas: Lower courts will be “at a loss” in applying the ruling.
CNN commentator Jeffrey Toobin*: The court acknowledges this is just how high schoolers talk.

‘Brave reporting is often being censored by administrators … because the content makes them uncomfortable.’ A coalition of student groups is pressing for passage of a state “Student Journalist Free Speech Act.”

Trump vs. SNL. The Daily Beast says then-President Donald Trump wanted his administration—including the FCC and the Justice Department—to investigate comedy critical of him from Saturday Night Live, “Jimmy Kimmel and other late-night comedy mischief-makers.”
Kimmel: “President Snowflake asked to send the authorities in to stop us from making fun of him. Not only that, he wanted Guillermo to pay for the wall.”
Stephen Colbert was outraged: “If the DOJ thugs are kicking down doors to round up the late-night chuckleheads to drag us off to Mar-a-Gulago to be assassinated, I should get more than ‘and the rest.’
Trump denies it, but he does cop to having said that “Alec Baldwin has no talent, certainly when it comes to imitating me.”
The ACLU’s Washington, D.C., legal director condemns a federal judge’s ruling that Trump can’t be sued over the violent clearing last summer of largely peaceful protesters from a park as “a stunning rejection of … First Amendment rights” that “effectively places federal officials above the law.”

‘A clear warning to anyone who would … censor honest, critical consumer reviews.’ Attorney Daniel Horwitz hails a Tennessee appeals court’s affirmation of the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a neurologist against a patient’s daughter’s complaint on Yelp of “totally unprofessional and unethical” behavior.
North Carolina’s Supreme Court says a company has an absolute right to petition the government by speaking at zoning meetings, and that right insulates it from a lawsuit.

‘An epidemic of censorship and entitlement.’ A Miss New Jersey pageant contestant took the stage to complain about “professors … teaching students to be narcissists.”
On Twitter, where she identified as an “#AntiPCPageantQueen,” she said, “I didn’t even place. But I wouldn’t have changed a single word.”
Bloomberg Opinion’s Andreas Kluth: “Banning Offensive Flags Won’t Get Rid of Hate.”


* Yes, he’s back.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

ACLU in ‘crisis’ / Politicians’ Facebook passes ending? / ‘Ham-handed’

ACLU in ‘crisis.’ The New York Times reports an organization long devoted unwaveringly to the First Amendment has been riven by an internal debate over that commitment’s conflict with other progressive causes.
The New Republic’s Melissa Gira Grant accuses the Times report of creating “a false antagonism.”
Times columnist Michelle Goldberg: “The Left Needs the ACLU to Keep Defending Awful Speech.”
The ACLU’s legal director responds: “We believe the First Amendment has to protect everyone—and … we remain committed to defending even the rights of those with whom we disagree.”

On campus …
A Stanford Law student whose flyer satirizing the reactionary Federalist Society triggered a complaint that prompted the school to threaten his graduation is off the hook …
An ex-University of Oklahoma volleyball player is suing the school, complaining coaches and teammates labeled her a racist and a homophobe and squeezed her off the court for her politically conservative views.
The Forward explains why the Supreme Court case of the cursing cheerleader matters to Jewish students.
Iowa’s public universities are developing plans for systematic campus training on First Amendment and free-speech issues.
The View host Meghan McCain—daughter of the late Republican Sen. John McCain—says “cancel culture” has prompted her to refuse to speak on college campuses: “There’s not enough money on Planet Earth to get me to … be screamed at for being a conservative, pro-life woman.”

‘F*** Biden.’ A New Jersey woman says the First Amendment protects her display of profane banners condemning the president, but the borough’s code enforcement department disagrees.
Police in a Chicago suburb say the First Amendment protects men spotted driving around with cars bearing signs including “Death to Klan” and “Civil Disobedience”—but the cops are also encouraging citizens to file complaints, which could lead to 30 days in jail or fines of up to $1,500.

Politicians’ Facebook passes ending? Now that the company has affirmed its decision to keep Donald Trump off its pages until 2023, it’s reportedly ready to end a policy that has shielded politicians from rules that apply to regular humans.
American Thinker: “Did the Framers ever imagine that a powerful, although private, media outlet would claim the power—worse, the authority—to stifle the free expression of a president?

‘A resounding victory for the First Amendment.’ A spokesman for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz hails a federal appeals court ruling striking down the federal cap on candidates using political contributions to repay personal loans they’ve made to their own campaigns.
A gun-rights group is suing Wyoming’s attorney general, complaining that a law requiring organizations to disclose their donors when they engage in electioneering violates the First Amendment.

‘SEX OFFENDER.’ The State of Louisiana is asking the Supreme Court to uphold a law requiring convicted sex offenders to carry a card that identifies them as such—a law that the state Supreme Court says amounts to unconstitutional compelled speech.
New York’s attorney general is asking a federal court to reject a lawsuit filed by an out-of-state mental health counselor who contends the state’s licensing law infringes on her free-speech rights.

‘Ham-handed.’ Free Speech Center Director Ken Paulson says The Associated Press clumsily handled the firing of a young reporter over her social-media posts,  but he says the AP’s core ethics principles trump any employee’s desire to express herself.
A Penn State professor says the case exemplifies journalism’s “Kryptonite”: Its vulnerability to “partisans who cry bias.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The AP embattled / A Disney loophole / Been vaxxed?

The AP embattled. The Associated Press’ decision to fire a young Jewish journalist, Emily Wilder, over violations of its social media policy that it says took place after she became an employee is drawing fire from its own staffers.
 Reviewing the AP’s history, The Intercept concludes the firing “was clearly in response to a right-wing pressure campaign targeting Wilder for her activism in college supporting Palestinian rights.”
In her first TV interview since the dismissal, Wilder tells interviewer Amy Goodman: “This experience … could have made me question my commitment … to do journalism, but I will not yield.”
  Laura Wagner at The Defector complains that the Wilder case highlights the “hideously stupid expectation that reporters must harbor no strong opinions about the things they care about.”
A federal judge says a Georgia law forbidding the state from doing business with anyone promoting a boycott of Israel runs afoul of the First Amendment.

‘Having racist ideas or sharing racist ideas is something that we actually protect.’ A senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union sounds an alarm about the arrest of a white Connecticut high school student accused of posting racist comments about a Black classmate on Snapchat …
 … but, he says, the ACLU would be OK with discipline for that student on grounds he interfered with the education of the Black student …
 … whose mother says she now fears for her sons’ safety at school.

But it exempts companies that own theme parks—like the Walt Disney Co., owner of Disney World, and Comcast, which operates Universal Orlando.
Encouraged by the conservative Heartland Institute, Georgia lawmakers are mulling a similar proposal.
Maine’s legislature is considering a plan to increase transparency for political websites masquerading as straight news sites.

‘Not unreasonable.’ A federal judge has sided with school administrators whose dress code banned images of guns.
The New York Times podcast The Daily dives into the still-pending Supreme Court case of a high school cheerleader suspended from her squad after posting a critical and expletive-filled video to Snapchat.
An Indiana state appeals court says the First Amendment provides no protection for a woman convicted under the state’s telephone-harassment law after she’d peppered her husband’s former employer with voicemail messages including, “Revenge is best served cold in Jesus’s name.”

Been vaxxed? A Newswise fact-check affirms that businesses can ask that question of their customers without violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Religious Freedom Center Fellow Richard Foltin says courts seem increasingly reluctant to enforce COVID-19 vaccination mandates over religious objections.
A Christian therapist has filed a federal lawsuit alleging Washington State’s ban on sexual-orientation counseling for minors violates his First Amendment rights.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

‘We are deeply troubled’ / Cops and the 1st / With limits

‘We are deeply troubled.’ The Washington Post is demanding the Justice Department explain why it secretly seized the phone records of three Post reporters who covered the federal investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
A member of Congress calls the seizure “authoritarian-style intimidation” and says someone’s head should roll.
The Post’s new executive editor is the first woman to hold that job.
A former Michigan lawmaker and his lawyer have agreed to pay The Detroit News $20,000 to settle an unsuccessful—and in the News’ publisher’s word, “frivolous”—lawsuit they brought against the paper.

‘The First Amendment can’t protect Trump on Facebook or Twitter.’ CNET’s Marguerite Reardon explains: “Companies can and do have their own standards and policies that users must follow. And they can remove users who violate those standards.”
Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe: “Social media platforms like Facebook … have thrived on an opaque business model that weaponizes a fantasy version of the First Amendment.”
George Washington University law prof Jonathan Turley: Democrats’ “current mantra defending Facebook’s corporate speech rights seems strikingly out of sync with years … demanding the curtailment of such rights.”

Cops and the First. Campaigns to rid law enforcement organizations of racists and extremists are running up against officers’ free-speech rights.
A Nevada police officer is suing his city for $1 million, complaining a four-day suspension for “vile and threatening” tweets violated his First Amendment rights.

‘It shouldn’t take a lawsuit.’ But the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas—which filed one—welcomes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s decision to unblock nine users who’d been critical of him on Twitter …
 … but adds: “It remains to be seen, however, whether the attorney general will unblock other Texans whose speech he’s suppressed.”

First Amendment ‘burdens and chills.’ The ACLU’s going after Florida over a new law that would limit contributions to political committees backing ballot initiatives …
 … to $3,000 per individual.

With limits. Two years after the Trump administration refused to join an international campaign against violent online extremism, the Biden administration is in—but only insofar as doing so wouldn’t compromise “the freedoms of speech and association protected by the First Amendment.”
A criminal lawyer explains: “Some people mistakenly think that the First Amendment … protects whatever they say in public. However, this is not the case.”
Contending the First Amendment doesn’t force the state to issue license plates that subject “every child in your neighborhood to a message the government wouldn’t allow them to see in a movie theater,” Maine’s secretary of state is rethinking a decision that let anything go on vanity plates.
News Literacy Project founder Alan Miller says the First Amendment must be taught in schools “as the bedrock of the country’s commitment to individual rights and responsibilities and a core part of civics education.”

‘Ultimately not just about high schools.’ Harvard Law prof Jeannie Suk Gersen reviews what’s on the line for student free speech as Supreme Court justices ponder the matter of a high school student dumped from the cheer squad after Snapchatting a profane comment on the program: “The justices … know the problem needs untangling, on and off campus, and soon.”
Belmont University law professor David L. Hudson Jr.: “Government officials … violate the First Amendment when they attempt to punish student athletes for their peaceful, symbolic expression.”
A Washington Post editorial takes issue with a Rutgers Law School call for a ban on the use of hateful language—even when a faculty member or law student is quoting a published court decision that itself quotes an objectionable word.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Case of the cursing cheerleader / Riot prevention or free-speech suppression? / Not so free

Case of the cursing cheerleader. Teen Vogue says a matter before the Supreme Court this week could reshape U.S. students’ freedom of speech.
At stake: Whether public schools can discipline a high school student over something said off-campus—in this case, a 14-year-old Pennsylvania girl having that kind of day where she just wanted to scream …
 … that got her kicked off the cheerleading team.
She has the ACLU on her side …
  … but not the Biden administration.
 Free Speech Center Director Ken Paulson: “
If instead of four-letter words, she thoughtfully said, ‘I believe there are injustices in the cheerleading program …’ is there anyone who would suggest that the girl had no right to share that opinion?
Hear the arguments live at 10 a.m. Eastern Wednesday.
Nine years ago, the Supreme Court declined to hear another case from the same county—an appeal of a ruling that favored a teenager punished for parodying a school official on MySpace.
But Education Week recalls: In the last school speech case that did make it before the justices, they upheld a district’s authority to suspend a student who unfurled a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner.
On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether school boards and other local governments can constitutionally censure speech by one of their members.

‘F––k Biden.’ A Hammond, Ind., man’s flag expressing disapproval of the president poses First Amendment challenges for the city’s code-enforcement team.
After retweeting a comment that condemned media as “the enemy of the people,” a Chicago newspaper columnist is on the outs with the union representing his coworkers.

Riot prevention or free-speech suppression? Civil libertarians are sounding an alarm about Ohio Republicans’ push for legislation to increase penalties for offenses committed during protests.
Florida’s governor faces a lawsuit after signing a similar bill.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press wants to know: “Why were Minnesota police photographing journalists?

That’s actually pretty scary.’ The president of the United Faculty of Florida union condemns pending legislation that would let public university students record professors’ lectures without permission—to present as evidence of political bias.
A federal judge has cleared a University of Virginia medical student to sue the school over his suspension for asking pointed questions at a panel about microaggressions.


If all Americans understood and appreciated the value of the #FirstAmendment, it would be transformative for our country. With your help, we can reach more Americans. Support the Free Speech Center during the 24-hour online giving event #BigPayback starting Wednesday, May 5, at 6 p.m.


Not so free. Following a 2019 Illinois Supreme Court ruling that “revenge porn” isn’t protected by the First Amendment, a woman who sent sexually explicit photos of another woman to family and friends to explain why her marriage was off has been found guilty of violating a state law against such acts.
A Republican congressman, writing in The Wall Street Journal, champions his bill to “restore the Bill of Rights—rather than the whims of big companies—as the guide for what Americans can say or hear in today’s public square.”
A Harvard legal scholar tells Wired: Social media platforms’ policies aren’t actually inspired by the First Amendment, and that’s a good thing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Trump and Fox’s First conflict / Cheerleader cheered / ‘A potential radical shift’

Trump and Fox’s First conflict. Attorney David Lurie explains in The Daily Beast how Fox News and the ex-president wound up on opposite sides: “First Amendment limitations on defamation liability that Trump and other right-wingers have long railed against well could be the only thing standing in the way of Fox News facing as much as $2.7 billion in damages.”
Montana lawmakers have—at least for now—rejected legislation casting news media as “slander machines.”

‘Religious liberty’ winning streak. A Willamette University law professor reviews the Supreme Court’s increasing sympathy for religious conservatives’ claims that nondiscrimination laws violate their ability to practice their beliefs.
The court has blocked California’s enforcement of pandemic restrictions that limited home-based Bible studies and prayer meetings.
Intellectual-property lawyers ponder the question, “Was Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoe’ an exercise of free speech or a trademark violation?

Cheerleader cheered. A brother and sister who won a landmark free-speech ruling in the Supreme Court half a century ago have filed a brief supporting a high school cheerleader disciplined for posting “F— cheer, f— everything” off-campus but on Snapchat.
Education Week: The court’s ruling in her case “could reshape the status of student free-speech rights.”
In a victory for academic freedom, a federal appeals court says a Supreme Court ruling that limited public employees’ First Amendment rights has no application in university classrooms.
Virginia Tech faces a federal lawsuit filed by a conservative group contending university policy on harassment and discrimination infringes on students’ free speech.

‘The complete disregard for First Amendment rights … is shocking and saddening.’ Journalism professors writing in the Houston Chronicle condemn Texas legislation that would force pro sports teams to play the national anthem.
A Confederate flag-waving group has won a default judgment in federal court in its fight against a merchant group that banned the flag from a Christmas parade.

‘We lost … because a judge … thinks revenge porn is free speech.’ Ex-Congresswoman Katie Hill, who sued a British tabloid that ran naked photos of her—provided by her ex-husband—plans to appeal the dismissal of her case.
Hill, who was once defended by since-scandalized scandal-scarred Rep. Matt Gaetz, calls his invocation of her name in an op-ed piece “gross”—but acknowledges that “my judgment when it comes to men has clearly not been the best.”
National Review commentary by Wesley J. Smith: “Are undercover videos constitutionally protected free speech … or properly subject to legal restraints? I guess it depends on whose ox—or fetus—is being gored.”

‘A potential radical shift in thinking around the First Amendment.’ CNET analyzes Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ “warning shot at social media giants Facebook and Twitter that could signal the possibility of stricter regulation.”
Time commentary by David French: “Thomas fed unnecessary fuel to a fire that could consume key constitutional freedoms.”
Texans are suing their attorney general, accusing him of violating their First Amendment rights by blocking them on Twitter.
 A Muslim civil rights group is suing Facebook, alleging the company failed to remove hate speech and anti-Muslim networks even after it’d been notified of their existence.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Parler pummeled / Pronoun provocation / Free speech and the foul-mouthed cheerleader

Parler pummeled. The Twitter alternative that bills itself as a place where people can “speak freely … without fear of being ‘deplatformed,’” is under fire from its users for bragging to Congress that it told the FBI about “violent content and incitement” on its platform “over 50 times” before the insurrection of Jan. 6.
One user wrote, “Snitches get stitches or end up in ditches” …
 … putting Parler in the position of having to explain the First Amendment.
The A.V. Club snarks: “Nobody could have predicted that a business built on inviting the worst people on the internet … would inevitably result in those same people turning on their hosts, right?

‘A picture is worth a thousand words … and governments know it well.’ Associated Press reporter David Bauder explains why you should care about the Biden administration’s limits on journalist access to government-run facilities housing young immigrants on the U.S. border with Mexico.
The White House press secretary says the administration aims to raise the curtain “as soon as we can.”

Pronoun provocation. A professor reprimanded for refusing to use the pronoun preferred by a transgender student has won an appeals court’s permission to sue the university under the First Amendment.
Ed Whelan, writing for the National Review, calls it “an important victory for Free Speech and Free Exercise rights.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern calls the decision no surprise: “It was heard by a panel … made up of two Donald Trump nominees … plus a George W. Bush nominee.”

‘Christians certainly don’t need Tennessee’s imprimatur in order to treasure the Bible.’ Middle Tennessee State University political science professor John Vile takes a dim view of a bill that would make the Bible the official state book.

‘Police would be wise to up their First Amendment game.’ A Los Angeles Times editorial condemns officers who arrested reporters and others at a protest over the city’s clearing of more than 200 homeless people from an Echo Park Lake encampment.
A TV reporter’s video tweet: “This is the moment three LAPD officers pulled me from a crowd of protestors and zip-tied my hands.”
Critics warn that Arizona legislation purporting to give protesters “a moment of pause” would chill people’s freedom of speech.
An attorney advising a New Hampshire town cautions lawmakers considering a crackdown on street performers he’s “hard-pressed to find a case where somebody sues the government on one of these cases and they don’t prevail.”

Free speech and the foul-mouthed cheerleader. University of Florida law prof Frank LoMonte looks ahead to a Supreme Court case that could determine just how much the First Amendment protects students.
Oregon State University is suing The Associated Press to block the release of details about an investigation of abuse in its volleyball program.

GRInCh clinch. A Pennsylvania lawmaker is pushing the GRInCh Act (for “Guarding Readers’ Independence and Choice”), to cut taxpayer funding for schools that ban books—including those by Dr. Seuss.
Daily Kos notes: “Seuss’ estate made a free-market decision to pull a handful of books [not including How the Grinch Stole Christmas!] from its catalog.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Happy Sunshine Week / Comics snip / ‘Feeling really powerful’

Happy Sunshine Week. Welcome to the annual national celebration of your access to public information.
The Associated Press: “Public records have become harder to get since the world was upended by the pandemic.”
Michigan’s health department is getting sued over its refusal to share information about COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes.
A Minnesota publisher: Communities that lose their local papers risk a descent into darkness.
Free Speech Center Director Ken Paulson suggests ways to hold your government accountable.

An insult to free speech? Critics are condemning a bill Kentucky’s Senate is sending the House—to make a crime of insulting “a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words.”
Critics are sounding First Amendment alarms about a Florida bill that would keep Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon from banning political candidates on their platforms.

Comics snip. Ken Paulson views “cancel culture” history through the lens of Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury …
 … which he says was there long before Mallard Fillmore got the ax.

‘Under existing law, Trump can’t do anything about it.’ But Harvard Law prof Noah Feldman says the ex-president’s futile attempts to keep the Republican National Committee from using his image “should help us realize that we need an overhaul of how we think of money in politics.”
Despite that tension, the party seems to have made its peace with Trump.

‘Some of what gets characterized as cancel culture poses a threat to a free society tolerant of dissent.’ A coalition of U.S. scholars has launched the Academic Freedom Alliance to defend free speech on campus.
Columnist George Will: “Students are being harmed by speech-restriction regimes that chill the free flowing of intellectual differences” …
 … and he cites the case of an evangelical Georgia student who won a round before the U.S. Supreme Court.
NPR: The case of a UCLA student charged in the Capitol insurrection highlights tension between the First Amendment and attempts to restrain campus extremism.

‘Feeling really powerful.’ Des Moines Register journalist Andrea Sahouri reflects on her acquittal after her arrest while covering a protest last year …
 … a trial her defenders, including Amnesty International, see as an attack on press freedom and human rights.
Commentary in The Daily Iowan: A bill that passed Iowa’s Senate would compromise the right to protest by letting one bad actor render a whole gathering unlawful.

First Amendment doesn’t apply. An American Bar Association fact-check concludes social media platforms are free of such regulation.
Wonkette ridicules one of the founders of The Federalist for threatening to sue people who share a tweet mocking him: “Unlike conservatives like Sean Davis, we love free speech and the First Amendment.”