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Tag: First Amendment

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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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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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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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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Nation needs First Amendment refresher course

Nation needs First Amendment refresher course

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: We, the people, don’t know the first thing about the First Amendment. Well, some of us do. But according to a new survey by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, 37 percent of Americans can’t name any of the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment – not a single one….

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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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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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