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Tag: Free speech

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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RI’s Conversion Therapy Ban Protects LGBTQ Youth and it’s Constitutional

RI’s Conversion Therapy Ban Protects LGBTQ Youth and it’s Constitutional

Jared A. Goldstein, RWU law professor who teaches constitutional law and former U.S. Department of Justice attorney: This year, Rhode Island joined eight other states in prohibiting “conversion therapy” — attempts to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity through therapeutic techniques. Some organizations have argued that such bans might violate protections for freedom of speech and religion. As I testified before committees of the Rhode Island House and Senate, the ban protects Rhode Island youth from a harmful practice…

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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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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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