Monday, March 12, 2018
#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: MARCH 12, 2018
As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.
1.) President Trump should mute critics on Twitter instead of blocking them, Judge says
A federal judge has recommended President Donald Trump should mute, rather than block, users on Twitter in order to not impose on users’ first amendment right to free speech.
The recommendation stems from a lawsuit filed by seven people and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. The seven had been blocked after criticizing the president, which the White House asserts in a personal platform and not a public forum.
Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald suggested a settlement to resolve the lawsuit, and the lawyers involved run the risk of creating a new law if the lawsuit isn’t settled.
2.)Lawsuitclaims Sibley violated web designer's free speech rights
A resident of Sibley, Iowa, is fighting back after the city threatened to take legal action against his website. A civil rights group has filed a lawsuit on Joshua Harms’ behalf, citing his right to free speech.
The website, shouldyoumovetosibleyia.com was created by Harms in 2015. The site is critical of city officials and questions their handling of emissions from a local plant. The site also petitioned users and residents to file official complaints with thecity,and to hold and attend regular public hearings to denounce the plant.
Last December, city officials sent a cease and desist letter to Harms asking that he shut down the website. According to the city, the website was interfering with the recruitment of businesses and a doctor refused to open a local practice after reviewing the website. He also says a lawyer for the city also requested that he not speak about the cease and desist letter to the media.
3.) A Florida teacher’s racist podcast was uncovered. Can she argue it was free speech?
A Florida middle school history teacher who admitted to running a racist podcast may not be able to use free speech as the basis for her defense.
Dayanna Volitich, 25, has been pulled from her classroom at Crystal River Middle School in Western Florida after she was operating the white nationalist podcast Unapologetic under the pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov.” In an episode on February 26, she admits to teaching racist views to her class and lying to her principal about it after a parent expressed concern.
Volitich says she never actually taught her students racist rhetoric, and she was expressing her views outside of the classroom. However, a parent has spoken out saying she expressed that segregation was acceptable during a civil rights lesson.
A constitutional law professor says while Volitich has the right to have and express her views, she does not have the right to teach them as fact in a public school. In teaching her views, a court would likely rule doing so impedes the school’s ability to function efficiently and effectively.