Douglas E. Lee

Douglas E. Lee is a partner in the Dixon, Ill., law firm of Ehrmann Gehlbach Badger & Lee, LLC. Lee, who represents clients in litigation, employment and other matters, has been a legal correspondent for the First Amendment Center since 1995. In his First Amendment practice, he has served as Illinois counsel for "America’s Most Wanted" in a subpoena battle, represented author Suzy Spencer in a courtroom-access case in Texas and authored a U.S. Supreme Court amicus curiae brief in the Vanessa Leggett case for the Center for Individual Freedom. Lee also has represented Sauk Valley Media in subpoena and courtroom-access cases.

Lee’s articles concerning efforts to acquire documents from the Illinois Department of Corrections under the state Freedom of Information Act were part of a Sauk Valley Newspapers investigative report that won a second place award in the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association excellence in journalism contest in 2009.

Before joining Ehrmann Gehlbach Badger & Lee, Lee was an associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Baker & Hostetler, where he represented news media clients such as the Delaware State News, the Chicago Sun-Times, many Scripps Howard newspapers and broadcast stations and the Society of Professional Journalists in a variety of libel, privacy, and freedom-of-information matters.

Lee received his undergraduate degrees in history and political science from the University of Illinois and his law degree from the Northwestern University School of Law. He currently is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois, Virginia, the District of Columbia, the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois and the District of Columbia and the United States Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 7th, 10th and District of Columbia Circuits.

Posts by Douglas E. Lee:

Religion Commentary | | December 25, 2012

Pharmacists win religious-freedom victory

Illinois attorney general’s decision not to appeal ruling protecting two pharmacies from punishment for refusing to dispense ‘morning-after’ pills may have national implications.

Press Commentary | | November 13, 2012

Ill. camera coverage of big trials working superbly

Rousing success of state Supreme Court policy is pleasing the news media, converting skeptics who initially opposed allowing broadcast and electronic coverage from courtrooms.

Persistent Ill. newspaper finally gets letter it sought

Compared with other FOIA cases featuring interminable delays and years in court, the decision in Rock River Times is a significant victory for open government.

Press Commentary | | September 7, 2012

Pa. ruling reminds press about truth — the whole truth

Because newspaper’s whistleblowing reports on Philadelphia councilwoman omitted crucial facts, Pennsylvania Superior Court says, a jury might find she was placed in a false light.

Press Commentary | | August 27, 2012

Ill. judge holds his nose, makes right call in leak case

Michael Panter relied on both the state reporter’s privilege law and his ability to disregard ‘odious’ behavior in refusing to force TechnoBuffalo to identify source.

2 Ill. surgeons get go-ahead to pursue free-speech claim

Federal judge follows 7th Circuit trend in which courts have interpreted Garcetti more narrowly, allowing public employees to both participate in public debate and retain their jobs.

Vice principal fired after cooking up protest can get day in court

Ruling allowing West Virginia man’s retaliation suit to proceed is a reaffirmation that public employees can prevail in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Garcetti decision.

Influential judge has cramped view of First Amendment

Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit says in dissent in Illinois audio-recording case that ‘the constitutional right of free speech, as construed nowadays, is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.’

Speech Analysis | | April 25, 2012

7th Circuit: Worker had no 1st Amendment right to job

Saying ‘friendship cannot have greater status than political speech,’ panel rejects woman’s claim that Illinois village violated her freedom of association by firing her because of her ties to the ex-village manager.

Speech Analysis | | April 23, 2012

3rd Circuit: 2 child-porn laws may be unconstitutional

Disagreeing with two other circuit courts, three-judge panel finds that parts of two federal statutes aimed at preventing use of children in sexually explicit videos may violate First Amendment.

Press Commentary | | March 20, 2012

Ruling affirms Ill. campus free-press act

It’s good news for almost everyone as federal judge orders Chicago State University to reinstate adviser fired in dispute over stories that ran in the college newspaper.

Press Analysis | | February 18, 2012

1st Circuit dismisses candidate’s defamation suit

Unless there’s actual malice, ‘more speech, not damages, is the right strike-back against superheated or false rhetoric,’ appeals court rules in case involving 2010 Maine Senate race.

Press Analysis | | February 17, 2012

2nd Circuit agrees: no subpoena for reporter’s notes

Appeals court affirms trial court’s decision that New York’s shield law protects unpublished information.

Speech Analysis | | January 10, 2012

8th Circuit: Woman can challenge law school’s hiring decision

Court finds Teresa Wagner, who applied for positions at the University of Iowa College of Law, presented enough evidence of political discrimination to be allowed to proceed to trial.

Speech Analysis | | January 6, 2012

Official can’t demand apology before letting speaker comment

7th Circuit holds that Waukegan, Ill., mayor violated First Amendment rights of man at public meeting by refusing to let him speak unless he apologized to another city official.

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