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Tag: First Amendment

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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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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Exercising First Amendment rights is a team sport

Exercising First Amendment rights is a team sport

Rachel Bimonte, junior journalism major at Roger Williams University: At a New England First Amendment Coalition event on Feb. 24, Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan began her keynote address by thanking the many journalism students in attendance, including eight students from Roger Williams University. “I admire the fact that you are making the foray into our somewhat treacherous waters at this particular time,” Sullivan said. “We need you more than ever.” Sullivan received the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award during…

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Trademark law clashes with the First Amendment

Trademark law clashes with the First Amendment

Niki Kuckes, RWU professor of law who had a Washington, D.C, litigation practice encompassing copyright, First Amendment, legal malpractice and white-collar criminal matters: Should a term like “the slants,” which is deeply offensive to many Asian-Americans, be granted the benefits of heightened legal protection afforded to federally registered trademarks? Or should the Trademark Office have the power to refuse to register such a “disparaging” trademark? This question was posed at the U.S. Supreme Court in January, when trademark law collided with the…

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Trump’s order violates bedrock principles of Roger Williams and RI

Trump’s order violates bedrock principles of Roger Williams and RI

Jared A. Goldstein, RWU professor of law who teaches constitutional law, former U.S. Department of Justice attorney: President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Friday, Jan. 27, that violates the bedrock principles upon which Roger Williams founded Rhode Island. I’ve always been proud to work at a university named for Roger Williams, whose commitment to religious liberty for all peoples formed the basis for our nation’s commitment to separation of church and state and its dedication to the principle…

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Moguls and the media

Moguls and the media

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: Among President-elect Donald Trump’s many ill-informed campaign statements was that he was “going to open up libel laws.” Where to begin? First, libel law was, and remains, state law. Second, while federal legislation does impact pockets of libel law (most notably, the Communications Decency Act protects websites from liability for merely hosting defamatory statements posted by…

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Roger Williams has much yet to teach us

Roger Williams has much yet to teach us

Taylor Stoermer, professor who teaches the history and modern practice of democracy at RWU and public history at Harvard University: Roger Williams’ 413th birthday gives us the perfect opportunity to step back and ask “so what?” about his past and his present. It’s an especially appropriate occasion given the fractious nature of modern American politics, and something of a drift in our collective memory. But the perfect opportunity presented itself this semester when 75 undergraduate students at Roger Williams University…

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Blocking Women’s March from key D.C. sites risks infringing on First Amendment rights

Blocking Women’s March from key D.C. sites risks infringing on First Amendment rights

Jenna Wims Hashway, professor of legal practice at the RWU School of Law: The president-elect’s respect for (and indeed, grasp of) First Amendment rights has been a source of concern for many.  Now, with the announcement that the National Park Service (on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee) has issued a massive omnibus block permit — barring access to the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial for days or weeks before, during and after the inauguration — the right of peaceful assembly…

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45 Words, 5 Freedoms, 1st Amendment: Add your voice

45 Words, 5 Freedoms, 1st Amendment: Add your voice

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, New England First Amendment Coalition board member and former Providence Journal columnist: Absolutely! The 45 words in the First Amendment guarantee five freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble and freedom to petition the government. But those constitutional guarantees are paper thin if not defended and championed by each generation. In his book “Freedom for the Thought We Hate,” Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Lewis noted…

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