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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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Wednesday, December 09, 2020

#FREESPEECH in the News December 9, 2020

Bliss Davis, Content and Programming Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH in the News December 9, 2020

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.) Judge blocks anti-harassment rule for Pa. lawyers, citing its 'constant threat' to free speech

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the implementation of an American Bar Association-backed professional rule that would have governed the conduct of Pennsylvania lawyers, finding it conflicts with the First Amendment.

In a 43-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Chad Kenney in Philadelphia held that the commonwealth's adoption of the ABA's Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g) would chill an attorney's right to free speech outside of the courtroom or a pending case.

The rule, which was due to take effect on Tuesday, "promotes a government-favored, viewpoint monologue and creates a pathway for its handpicked arbiters to determine, without any concrete standards, who and what offends," Kenney wrote in his ruling, granting plaintiff Zachary Greenberg's request for a preliminary injunction.

2.) Iowa legislators weigh in on College of Dentistry ‘free speech’ concerns

What started as an email thread in the University of Iowa College of Dentistry turned into a battle over free speech on campus, roping in Iowa Republican legislators.

One lawmaker advocated on behalf of a UI College of Dentistry student, after a disciplinary hearing was scheduled for Michael Brase who hit ‘reply all’ on a college-wide email that condemned a White House executive order.

In a letter signed by Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sherry Timmons on Nov. 9, Brase was summoned to a disciplinary hearing to discuss “unprofessional behavior.” Brase then contacted about a dozen Republican state legislators.

3.) Veterinarian Sues Texas for the Free Speech Right to Practice Online

A Texas veterinarian disciplined by a state board for giving animal owners veterinary advice electronically, without first examining an animal, won his bid to reinstate a claim that the board violated his free speech rights, the Fifth Circuit said Wednesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra abrogated the professional speech doctrine relied on by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit when it affirmed the dismissal of Ronald Hines’ original First Amendment claim in 2015, the court said.

For more than 10 years, Ronald Hines, a 75-year-old veterinarian in Brownsville, charged a small fee for diagnosing pets’ ailments through his website

But the Texas veterinary board ordered him to stop practicing online in 2012, suspended his license for a year and fined him $500, based on a state law that bars the practice of veterinary medicine unless the vet has physically examined the animal.

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