First Amendment

Latest in First Amendment

China

Doing Business in China: What the NBA Can Learn from Big Tech

Last week, a controversy in the National Basketball Association (NBA) ignited widespread public conversation about the perils of doing business in China. In a now-deleted post, Daryl Morey, who is the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted a picture of an image that said “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The Rockets’s owner pushed back, tweeting that Morey “does not speak for” Houston’s team.

Aegis

Verified Accountability: Self-Regulation of Content Moderation as an Answer to the Special Problems of Speech Regulation

The “techlash” of the past few years represents a moment of quasi-constitutional upheaval for the internet. The way a few private companies have been “governing” large parts of the digital world has suffered a crisis of legitimacy. Calls to find mechanisms to limit the arbitrary exercise of power online have gained new urgency. This task of “digital constitutionalism” is one of the great projects of the coming decades. It is especially pressing in the context of content moderation – platforms’ practice of designing and enforcing rules for what they allow to be posted on their services.

Israel

Breaking Down the Combating BDS Act of 2019 and First Amendment Challenges to State Anti-BDS Laws

On Feb. 5, the Senate passed a package of Middle East policy bills, including the Combating BDS Act of 2019. The act, which would affect laws on the books in 26 states that prevent state and local governments from doing business with entities that boycott Israel, has reignited debate over whether lawmakers’ efforts to stymie the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel violate the First Amendment.

Aegis

Who Do You Sue? State and Platform Hybrid Power Over Online Speech

This essay closely examines the effect on free-expression rights when platforms such as Facebook or YouTube silence their users’ speech. The first part describes the often messy blend of government and private power behind many content removals, and discusses how the combination undermines users’ rights to challenge state action. The second part explores the legal minefield for users—or potentially, legislators—claiming a right to speak on major platforms.

First Amendment

Document: Fourth Circuit Says Virginia Politician’s Facebook Page is a ‘Public Forum’ and that First Amendment Prohibits Blocking Constituents

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in Davidson v. Randall that a Virginia county official who blocked a constituent's access to the official’s Facebook page had violated the First Amendment. The court held that the official’s Facebook account amounted to a “public forum” and that blocking constituent access based on political viewpoints is unconstitutional. The full ruling is below.

Brief Reviews

The History of Do-It-Yourself Weapons and Explosives Manuals in America

Ann Larabee's 2015 book, The Wrong Hands: Popular Weapons Manuals and Their Historic Challenges to a Democratic Society (Oxford UP 2015), is a history of what Larabee terms "popular weapons manuals" - though the book is more centrally the history of do-it-yourself explosives manuals - when "dissenters move beyond firearm possession into the realm of high explosives." The book documents the history and evolu

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