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.
Latest in First Amendment
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ongoing publicity tour by former senior White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman, once designated as one of the “nastiest TV villains of all time,” is the culmination of the questionable hiring choices made during the early days of the Trump White House.
President Trump’s alleged blocking of members of the public on Twitter on what appear to be viewpoint-based considerations, preventing them from reading his tweets and responding to them, raises serious constitutional issues.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court may soon decide whether the First Amendment requires it to release its major opinions and orders dating back to the September 11 attacks.
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