Trolling for the new and noteworthy

Monday, July 31, 2006

NEW ON THE WEB SITE: New information and material posted on the First Amendment Center Online includes:

By Tony Mauro …

  • In his report on the First Amendment issues and decisions from the 2005-2006 term of the U.S. Supreme Court, Mauro notes that after several years of playing a starring role on the Supreme Court’s docket, the First Amendment largely stayed out of the spotlight in the term just ended — the first term of the Roberts Court …

  • Analyses of the Garcetti v. Ceballos public-employee speech case, and of Randall v. Sorrell, a campaign-finance case.

    By Douglas Lee …

  • In the Randall case, Justice Clarence Thomas again makes a powerful First Amendment argument but fails to topple Buckley.

    By David L. Hudson Jr. …

  • Analysis of Beard v. Banks, a prisoner reading-material case from the Supreme Court …

  • Updated “Horizon” article on video games and violence for the Arts section.

    ALSO: State-by-state summaries of statutes governing reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and so-called “Son of Sam” restrictions on criminals publishing for profit.

    SHIELD LAW — CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said recently at a National Press Club lunch that their proposed “Free Flow of Information Act” remains a possibility this term, but time is short. Critics of the legislation, or of the general concept of providing such protection for journalists, say the flap over The New York Times report on U.S. surveillance of international banking transactions has caused negative fallout in Congress among lawmakers undecided about the proposal.

    BLOGS: NEW FORMS, NEW CHALLENGES. David Hudson explores a number of crucial First Amendment-related questions about this relatively new — and burgeoning — world of blogs:

  • Are bloggers journalists? Should bloggers who gather and report news be protected by reporter-privilege laws?
  • Should bloggers who post messages anonymously that others consider defamatory be able to keep their identities unknown?
  • Can public employers discipline their employees for making critical or off-color comments on their blogs about their workplace or fellow employees?
  • Should bloggers be subject to campaign-finance laws?
  • Do some bloggers take First Amendment freedoms too far?

    INSIDE THE FIRST AMENDMENT: New columns by First Amendment Center staffers include:

  • By Charles C. Haynes: Even something as innocuous as the 50th anniversary of “In God We Trust” is an occasion for culture warring.

  • By Paul K. McMasters: Objections to a PG rating for Christian-themed film prompt calls for a universal rating system — but that could cause problems as entertainment changes.

  • By David L. Hudson Jr.: A law-review article co-authored by First Amendment Center scholar Ronald K.L. Collins explores why Justice Brandeis lauded free speech yet voted to uphold a dubious conviction against socialist activist in Whitney v. California (1927).
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