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Tag: First Amendment

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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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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