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All Posts for First Amendment Blog

Trump's order violates bedrock principles of Roger Williams and RI

January 30th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Jared A. Goldstein, RWU professor of law who teaches constitutional law, former U.S. Department of Justice attorney:

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Friday, Jan. 27, that violates the bedrock principles upon which Roger Williams founded Rhode Island. I’ve always been proud to work at a university named for Roger Williams, whose commitment to religious liberty for all peoples formed the basis for our nation’s commitment to separation of church and state and its dedication to the principle that the government should never favor or disfavor any religion. The president’s order, however, prohibits the issuance of visas to anyone from one of seven specified predominately Muslim countries. The order also blocks entry by refugees from any of the seven countries. The order attempts to put into effect Trump’s campaign promise to ban immigration by Muslims and to close the door to Muslim refugees.

The First Amendment and public sector union "dues"

January 9th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Michael J. Yelnosky, dean of the RWU School of Law and professor of law:

In all likelihood, sometime in 2017 a new U.S. Supreme Court justice will take the bench and fill the vacancy created by the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia. Sometime thereafter, I am confident, the court will reverse almost 40 years of precedent and rule that the First Amendment prohibits provisions in public sector collective bargaining agreements requiring all covered employees to compensate the union for the costs associated with the union’s negotiation and administration of that agreement.

Moguls and the media

January 2nd, 2017 by efitzpatrick

David  A. Logan, professor of law and former dean of the RWU School of Law, who has studied and written extensively about First Amendment issues:

Among President-elect Donald Trump's many ill-informed campaign statements was that he was "going to open up libel laws." 

Where to begin? First, libel law was, and remains, state law. Second, while federal legislation does impact pockets of libel law (most notably, the Communications Decency Act protects websites from liability for merely hosting defamatory statements posted by third parties), the primary reason why politicians have trouble winning libel actions is not federal statutes but rather the First Amendment.