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Author: Edward Fitzpatrick

Maintain freedom for the thought we hate, but speak up

Maintain freedom for the thought we hate, but speak up

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: In 1929, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was OK to deny citizenship to a pacifist from Hungary because she refused to swear that she’d take up arms to defend the United States. But Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. dissented. As a former lieutenant colonel who fought in the Civil War, Holmes…

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RI’s Conversion Therapy Ban Protects LGBTQ Youth and it’s Constitutional

RI’s Conversion Therapy Ban Protects LGBTQ Youth and it’s Constitutional

Jared A. Goldstein, RWU law professor who teaches constitutional law and former U.S. Department of Justice attorney: This year, Rhode Island joined eight other states in prohibiting “conversion therapy” — attempts to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity through therapeutic techniques. Some organizations have argued that such bans might violate protections for freedom of speech and religion. As I testified before committees of the Rhode Island House and Senate, the ban protects Rhode Island youth from a harmful practice…

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Free press, open meetings laws survive State House standoff

Free press, open meetings laws survive State House standoff

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: On June 30, an epic impasse between Rhode Island House and Senate leaders left the state’s $9.2-billion budget in limbo along with scores of other pieces of legislation. But amid the State House’s marble maze of power politics and clashing priorities, two bills managed to emerge at the last minute that will…

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Deadline pressure: Rhode Island should pass student press freedom law

Deadline pressure: Rhode Island should pass student press freedom law

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, New England First Amendment Coalition board member and former Providence Journal columnist: Earlier this year, student journalists at a Kansas high school decided to write a profile about their newly hired principal. As they researched the principal’s background, they began unearthing questions about her educational credentials. For example, the young reporters found that she had received master’s and doctoral degrees from a school, Corllins University, that was not currently accredited and…

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First Amendment protects the right to give and to receive

First Amendment protects the right to give and to receive

Andrew Horwitz, professor of law, assistant dean for experiential education and director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at the RWU School of Law: Sadly, Cranston, R.I., has recently joined the ranks of those jurisdictions that have decided that the best way to deal with homelessness is to make it a crime. This national phenomenon, fostered in an environment of ignorance, fear and hatred, is nothing new, but it is suddenly becoming much more pervasive. Jurisdictions around the country have moved…

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Donald Trump vs. Roger Williams

Donald Trump vs. Roger Williams

David A. Logan, professor of law and former dean of the RWU School of Law, who has studied and written extensively about First Amendment issues: One of the many surprises of the 2016 presidential election was the support that the “religious right” or “evangelicals” gave to Donald Trump, a candidate with a well-documented and, indeed, audacious disrespect for traditional family values, especially the sanctity of marriage. Observers ascribe that support to Trump’s often-made promise to appoint conservatives to the Supreme…

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Liberty of conscience alive among Roger Williams University students

Liberty of conscience alive among Roger Williams University students

Taylor Stoermer, professor who teaches the history and modern practice of democracy at RWU and public history at Harvard University: To Roger Williams, liberty of conscience was everything. In one’s conscience lay the very keys to life in this world and the next, as study leads to thought, thought to belief, belief to faith, and faith to salvation. In his case, of course, that study was of the scripture, and the salvation a religious rather than intellectual one, but the…

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“The Press & The President” panel sparks debate about Spicer

“The Press & The President” panel sparks debate about Spicer

Kyle Souza, junior journalism major at Roger Williams University: It’s no secret that President Donald Trump is a fierce critic of the news media. Whether it’s a tweet he sends out at 3 a.m. bashing The New York Times or his verbal attacks on White House reporters during press availability, he has made it clear that he is not a fan of what the news media has to offer. As president, Trump has jettisoned protocol when it comes to working…

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Donald Trump and the full-employment-for-lawyers presidency

Donald Trump and the full-employment-for-lawyers presidency

David A. Logan, professor of law and former dean of the RWU School of Law, who has studied and written extenstively about First Amendment issues: One thing you can say for Donald Trump’s presidency: He sure keeps lawyers busy. Within weeks of taking office, he suddenly rolled out immigration rules that banned entrance to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, creating chaos and great anxiety at many airports. But that action was immediately challenged by state attorneys general and held…

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Attacks on the media only making them stronger

Attacks on the media only making them stronger

Harrison Connery, senior journalism major at Roger Williams University: Jon Keller, political analyst for WBZ-TV, welcomed people to the New England First Amendment Coalition awards ceremony on Feb. 24 in Boston, saying: “Ladies, gentlemen, fellow enemies of the people — glad you could make it out today.” Far from intimidating journalists with his attacks from the bully pulpit, President Donald J. Trump has lit a fire in the belly of the news industry. And ironically, his attempts to weaken the…

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