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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Court may use First Amendment to end extreme partisan gerrymandering

Court may use First Amendment to end extreme partisan gerrymandering

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 been pressed into action to protect everything from burning the American flag to unleashing corporate cash in campaigns. But now the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to employ the First Amendment to do something we can all feel good about – putting an end to extreme partisan gerrymandering….

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Public records crucial to watchdog role of the press

Public records crucial to watchdog role of the press

Jamie Costa, a RWU senior double-majoring in journalism and Spanish: BOSTON – Surrounded by the tall buildings of the city, the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel welcomed college students and renowned journalists to the 2018 New England First Amendment Awards on Feb. 23. Among those accepting awards was The Boston Globe’s Todd Wallack, who was honored with the Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award. “This was a complete surprise,” Wallack said about winning the award. “I found out when (NEFAC Executive Director)…

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Youth Speak Truth to Power

Youth Speak Truth to Power

Lauren Utecht, a RWU senior journalism major who hopes to work as a multimedia journalist upon graduation: BOSTON – A dream of a new neighborhood ice rink and turf field led two youth volunteers to discover something that the City of Boston had overlooked for 24 years. Mabel Gondes and Shayne Clinton, of Hyde Square in Boston, received the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award at the New England First Amendment Coalition awards luncheon on Feb. 23 in Boston. The teens took turns sharing…

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Latest attacks on free press will fail, New Yorker’s Jane Mayer says

Latest attacks on free press will fail, New Yorker’s Jane Mayer says

Kayla Ebner, a junior journalism major and managing editor of the RWU student newspaper, The Hawks’ Herald: BOSTON – This is all of our fight. Jane Mayer, investigative journalist for The New Yorker, delivered a powerful speech on Feb. 23 at the New England First Amendment Coalition’s awards luncheon in Boston, where she received the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment award for her most recent book, “Dark Money,” and her other journalistic accomplishments. Starting off at the smallest weekly newspaper in Vermont, Mayer worked…

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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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Gerrymandering case may hinge on First Amendment

Gerrymandering case may hinge on First Amendment

June Speakman, RWU political science professor: In a recent Slate.com article, Mark Joseph Stern poses an intriguing question: Does partisan gerrymandering violate the First Amendment? His answer is yes, and I agree. Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing lines around legislative districts for the purposes of influencing electoral outcomes by packing like-minded voters together or dividing them into tiny groups (called “cracking” by political scientists). This task of line-drawing is assigned to state legislatures by the Constitution. It takes place every…

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Free Press Helps Make America Great

Free Press Helps Make America Great

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 needs allies. It needs people like you: Republicans, Democrats and independent Rhode Islanders. It needs people who aren’t going to buy the self-serving “Fake News” narrative being spun by President Trump. It needs people who aren’t going to applaud when the President of the United States uses his bully pulpit…

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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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U.S. must remain beacon as world jails more journalists

U.S. must remain beacon as world jails more journalists

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 bayonet scar on Omar Bah’s left hand reminds him of the dangers faced by journalists worldwide. The scar reminds him of what dictators and other authoritarian leaders think of a free press. The scar reminds him of how crucial it is for the United States to stand as a beacon of press…

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