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Category: RWU Law School

Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling: No Constitutional Right to Discriminate (For Now)

Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling: No Constitutional Right to Discriminate (For Now)

Jared A. Goldstein, RWU law professor who teaches constitutional law and former U.S. Department of Justice attorney: By cutting a narrow slice of the wedding cake case, the U.S. Supreme Court has created little new law, meaning there remains no constitutional right to discriminate – at least for now. On June 4, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission – the case of a cake shop owner who refused to bake a…

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Farce and tragedy of 38 Studios warrants full disclosure

Farce and tragedy of 38 Studios warrants full disclosure

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: It is our Watergate. The 38 Studios debacle might not have produced a constitutional crisis or a legal battle (over the Nixon White House tapes) that went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. But Curt Schilling’s ill-fated video-game venture certainly produced a monumental crisis here in Rhode…

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Sinclair script unintentionally undermines trust, underscores dangers

Sinclair script unintentionally undermines trust, underscores dangers

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: The bad news is that local TV news anchors from coast to coast stared into the camera and read from a script, parroting the “fake” news mantra of a press-bashing president. The good news, such as it is, is that perhaps there was no better way to vividly illustrate a largely academic debate…

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Media centralization imperils marketplace of ideas

Media centralization imperils marketplace of ideas

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: Our country loves its myths, and one is that our newspapers exist to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” This romantic notion of the independent commentator may never have been accurate, as for many years the political bent of media outlets was transparent (indeed, sometimes even paid for!). And you don’t need to have a degree…

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Weather Forecast for March 25: Stormy on 60 Minutes?

Weather Forecast for March 25: Stormy on 60 Minutes?

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: While CBS’ 60 Minutes is apparently deciding whether to use its March 25 broadcast to air an interview with “adult film star” Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Donald Trump and was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about it, the legal threats raised by Trump-affiliated lawyers are undoubtedly causing the network to…

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Ruling could destroy labor unions as we know them

Ruling could destroy labor unions as we know them

Michael J. Yelnosky, dean of the RWU School of Law and professor of law: On Feb. 26, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in Janus v. AFSCME. A ruling in favor of the petitioner could destroy America’s public sector labor unions as we know them. It may come as a surprise that this existential threat comes not from labor law but from the First Amendment. The high court is poised to rule that state laws authorizing unions…

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How Will Supreme Court Slice Wedding Cake Case?

How Will Supreme Court Slice Wedding Cake Case?

Diana Hassel, law professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the RWU School of Law: The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that pits the First Amendment right of expression of a cake maker against the right not be discriminated against based on sexual orientation. The high court must determine whether the right to be free from discrimination takes priority over religious objections. As part of its growing solicitude…

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R.I. First Amendment case informs Trump/NFL clash

R.I. First Amendment case informs Trump/NFL clash

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: The First Amendment has become a political football. Conservatives pile on when liberals try to shut down conservative speakers on campus, and liberals lash out when President Trump calls for sacking those who take a knee during NFL national anthems or dare to call him a bigot. So will Little Rhody come into…

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Is the Wall Between Church and State Crumbling?

Is the Wall Between Church and State Crumbling?

Diana Hassel, law professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the RWU School of Law: The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  This clause has been understood to both keep religion out of government and to keep the government out of religion. That is, to erect a wall of separation between church in state. In recent years, this prohibition against the mingling of government and…

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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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