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Tag Archives: Free Speech

Public schools and abortion are new battleground in student free-speech movement (access required)


Students with deep religious convictions are fast turning public schools into the newest battleground over abortion — much to the dismay of beleaguered school officials. The most recent controversy involves Annie Zinos, a sixth-grade student in Minnesota, who was prohibited by her school from sharing pro-life literature with her classmates. Last week, Annie and her family filed suit against school officials for violating her First Amendment rights.

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Constitutional – Free Speech – Pregnancy Center – Limited Services – Municipal Ordinance – Sign Posting – No Licensed Medical Staff (access required)

Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County, Md. A Maryland limited-services pregnancy services center wins an injunction against enforcement of a local ordinance that would require it to post a sign saying it did not have a “licensed medical professional on staff”; the 4th Circuit reverses the district court’s denial of an injunction to the center.

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Constitutional -Free Speech – Pregnancy Center – Municipal Ordinance – No Referrals – Abortion & Birth Control (access required)

Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns Inc. v. St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Congregation Inc. The 4th Circuit upholds summary judgment for a Baltimore “Pregnancy Center” on its challenge to a local ordinance the Center said violated its free speech rights by compelling it to post signs saying the Center did not provide or make referral for abortion or birth control services.

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Labor & Employment – Constitutional – Free Speech – Unlawful Firing Claim – Public Employees (access required)

Brooks v. Arthur Two Virginia correctional officers cannot sue for alleged unlawful firing for exercise of their First Amendment free-speech rights; the 4th Circuit says complaints about an employee’s own duties pursued through an internal grievance procedure do not relate to a matter of public concern.

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Criminal Practice – Solicitation of a Minor & Attempted Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – Constitutional – Free Speech – Legal Impossibility – Fictitious Internet Persona (access required)

State v. Green Where S.C. Code Ann. § 16-15-342 includes the term “knowingly,” it affects only those individuals who intentionally target minors for the purpose of engaging or participating in sexual activity or a violent crime. The statute does not criminalize protected speech and is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest. The statute is not unconstitutionally overbroad as any alleged overbreadth is unsubstantial when considered in relation to its plainly legitimate sweep.

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Civil Rights – Constitutional – First Amendment – Free Speech – Abortion Protest – Qualified Immunity (access required)

Lefemine, d/b/a Columbia Christians for Life v. Wideman The 4th Circuit upholds a judgment that a local sheriff’s department violated a pro-life group’s First Amendment rights when officers asked group members not to display “large, graphic signs” with aborted fetuses as part of a roadside demonstration, but the appellate court also upholds qualified immunity for defendants.

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Constitutional – Free Speech – Civil Practice – Preliminary Injunction – Occupy Columbia – Camping – State House Grounds (access required)

Occupy Columbia v. Haley Plaintiffs are likely to establish that Occupy Columbia’s camping on the State House grounds is expressive conduct, and defendants’ unwritten and ever-changing “conditions” for such an encampment are not valid time, place and manner restrictions. Defendants are preliminarily enjoined from interfering with plaintiffs’ 24-hour occupation of the State House grounds, including sleeping on the grounds and the use of sleeping bags and tents.

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Civil Rights – Constitutional – Free Speech – High School Student — MySpace Page — Discipline (access required)

Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools A high school could suspend a student for five days for using a MySpace page to target another student with ugly accusations about herpes, on the ground that the out-of-school speech caused an in-school disruption; the 4th Circuit upholds a district court decision that the discipline did not violate the student’s First Amendment free speech rights.

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