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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Monday, November 26, 2018


Bliss Davis, Content Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland


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.) Free-speech protects Wisconsin students who appear to give Nazi salute in photo, school district says

Officials with the Baraboo School District said the First Amendment right to free-speech protects those high school students who were photographed giving what appears to be a Nazi salute.

In a letter that was sent out to parents on Wednesday, The State Journal reports Superintendent Lori Mueller stated that part of the investigation into the photo is complete.

In the letter, Mueller wrote, “Moreover, because of students’ First Amendment rights, the district is not in a position to punish the students for their actions.” According to The State Journal, the letter also noted the intention of the photo is still unclear.

2.) GOP proposal would ban 'free speech zones' on Ohio campuses

The creation of so-called "free speech zones" designated for protests and demonstrations would be prohibited at Ohio's public college campuses under legislation introduced by Reps. Niraj Antani, of Miamisburg, and Andrew Brenner, of Powell, who say it's aimed at protecting free speech.

Antani argues that the use of "free speech zones" actually restricts speech and unfairly limits students expressing views that are conservative and anti-abortion.

Conservative advocacy groups have challenged the use of such zones, citing First Amendment rights. Similar proposals to block campuses from designating such areas have popped up at legislatures around the nation, including this year in Florida and Kansas.

3.) Judge rules restaurants, clubs can advertise BYOB status

In a win for their right to free speech, New Jersey's restaurants and clubs can advertise that they let patrons bring their own wine and beer without fear of running afoul of state law, after a federal judge's ruling this week found the law unconstitutional.

An Atlantic City strip club had filed suit against the state, the city and its police department last year and claimed the statute violated its First Amendment right to free speech.

New Jersey's law states that restaurants that don't have liquor licenses can't advertise inside or outside their establishments that they are B.Y.O.B., even if patrons are permitted to bring wine and beer and drink them inside the establishment.

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