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First Amendment
Category archives for: First Amendment

Lillian Gobitas Klose, Who Defied Mandatory Pledge of Allegiance, Is Dead at 90

| September 7, 2014

Lillian Gobitas Klose was 12 when she was expelled from school for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Eight years later, in the midst of World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court vindicated her decision.

Ex-Florida County Judge Candidate Wants U.S. Supremes to Overturn Ban on Campaign Cash

| September 3, 2014

Lanell Williams-Yulee had thought personal contributions when she ran for county judge in Hillsborough. Now she could spur the U.S. Supreme Court to wade into a First Amendment debate about whether it is constitutional for Florida and other states to bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions.

The Phony War Over Campaign Signs

| August 17, 2014

The problem isn’t the county’s ban on campaign signs at the public library, it’s the dismal slate of candidates on this year’s primary ballots, but Flagler’s Ronald Reagan Assembly candidates and Supervisor of Elections Weeks have teamed up to play up a bogus controversy.

County Forcefully Rejects Elections Supervisor’s Claims That Campaign Sign Restrictions Hurt Turnout

| August 5, 2014

Aided by a political candidate, Flagler Supervisor of Elections criticized county rules barring election signs on public property, claiming it lowers turnout and interferes with elections, promoting forceful rebuttals from the county administration.

Hobby Lobby and Religion’s
Assassination of Common Sense

| July 11, 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision granting some companies authority to deny contraception to employees is a reminder that women-hating, science-bashing and religiously-based bigotry veiled as “faith” are alive and well in America.

Birth Control Coverage: Hobby Lobby Decision May Not Be The Last Word

| July 1, 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision Monday saying that “closely held corporations” do not have to abide by the contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act may not give those firms the ability to stop providing that coverage after all.

Corporate Religious Liberty: The Supreme Court’s Misguided Decision

| June 30, 2014

When companies have clear policies on religious discrimination, their employees are less likely to be looking for a new job. The Hobby Lobby decision may undercut such successes when companies opt to follow its dictates, writes Joyce S. Dubensky.

Florida Prisons Want To Slash Kosher Offerings; Justice Department Says It Would Be Illegal

| May 22, 2014

In a brief filed Monday, lawyers for the Department of Corrections argued that the law allows Florida to scrap the kosher meals because of the financial burden placed on the “cash-strapped agency.” The state has spent more than $200,000 on the lawsuit so far.

Satanic Temple, Come On Down: Florida Eases Holiday Display Bids at State Capitol

| May 14, 2014

Rather than institute a new policy that would limit displays as some expected, the state Department of Management Services is trying to make the application process easier for groups seeking to put up temporary displays in the Capitol complex. The Satanic Temple will give Florida another chance after being blocked from putting up a holiday display last year.

Supreme Court’s Decision Allowing Prayers at Government Meetings Reverberates Locally

| May 5, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision today allowing explicitly religious prayers at local government meetings had two direct connections to Palm Coast and Bunnell. So the ruling had particular resonance locally—happily for some, not so happily for others.

Denying Service to Gays and Lesbians: Right of Conscience Vigilantism Meets Stand Your Ground

| February 28, 2014

Bills in four states that would let businesses deny service to gays and lesbians on religious-freedom grounds are based on the same faulty justification of Stand Your Ground laws on self-defense grounds. In both cases, the 1st and 2nd Amendments are perverted into defenses of vigilantism rather than protection of rights.

As State Mulls Review, Christians and Atheists Agree: Keep Florida Capitol a Free Speech Zone

| January 7, 2014

The threat of a lawsuit is hovering over the state’s rejection of a satanic display, and the rotunda exhibit policy is set to undergo a staff review. But the prevailing view among those who have recently jumped at the chance to use the public floor space to express their beliefs is to simply let everyone have their say.

Before Florida Made an Ass of Christmas, Philadelphia Gave Us a Founding Nativity Scene

| December 20, 2013

The Rick Scott administration’s illiterate interpretation of the Bible and the first amendment turned the Florida Capitol rotunda into a comedy of absurd Christmas displays and discrimination, all of which could have been avoided with a reason and respect–for the holidays and the Constitution.

In Defense of Net Neutrality: How To Keep Biggest Internet Providers From Running Amok

| December 17, 2013

Without net neutrality, the Web would look a lot like cable, with the most popular content available only on certain tiers or with certain providers: Imagine AT&T as the exclusive home of Netflix and Comcast as the sole source of YouTube.

Satanists Now Want to Join Beer Pole and Nativity Scene at Florida Capitol

| December 10, 2013

The state Department of Management Services has received three more applications, including two from atheist groups and one from satanists, to put up displays after approving a banner for the Freedom From Religion Foundation and an aluminum pole — made of empty beer cans– – to mark the parody festival Festivus.

Nativity Scene in Florida Capitol Will Share Space With Beer-Can Pole Celebrating Festivus

| December 9, 2013

A nearly 6-foot-tall pole made from emptied Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans, marking the Festivus holiday once parodied on Seinfeld, will be put up in the Florida Capitol this week as a not-so-subtle protest to the recent placement of a Christian nativity scene by the Florida Prayer Network.

Obama’s Free Press Problem: Why Reporters in the U.S. Now Need Protection

| November 29, 2013

The Obama administration has made the most concerted effort since the Nixon years to intimidate officials from talking to a reporter. Paul Steiger, Paul Steiger recipient of this year’s the Burton Benjamin Memorial award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, argues for a response.

Should Jacksonville’s Nathan Bedford Forrest High Be Named for KKK’s Grand Wizard?

| September 24, 2013

Never apologize for what? Secession? Slavery? How about white supremacy and the KKK? The fight to rename Jacksonville’s Nathan Bedford Forrest High School raises the question, argues Julie Delegal.

FDLE Lays Down Florida Capitol Garrison Rule to Avoid Repeat of Summer Protests

| September 21, 2013

Under the proposal by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, members of the public would be expected to leave the Capitol building by 5 p.m. each weekday or within 30 minutes of the end of public meetings. Capitol police could arrest for trespassing anyone who didn’t leave when they were told.

Not So Fast Missy: How a Protester Exposed an Undercover Cop

| August 21, 2013

When the author first met her four years ago, she couldn’t have known that the small-framed woman with spiky brown hair and intense eyes was anything but a fellow activist showing up for a protest in Washington, D.C. She turned out to be an undercover cop ordered to secretly spy on peaceful protesters, violate their freedom of speech and assembly, and disregard their right to privacy.

The Painting You Will Not See in Hollingsworth Gallery’s ‘Monster of Bigotry’ Show, and Why

| August 10, 2013

Constance Payne’s “Will You Take Me Seriously Now” was top be part of the new “Monster of Bigotry” show at Palm Coast’s Hollingsworth Gallery, but only if Payne agreed to have it draped, because of its explicit content. She refused, calling it censorship. Gallery owner JJ Graham defends the decision on several grounds.

Gun Rights Advocates and Church Join in Suit Against NSA as Companies Petition White House

| July 18, 2013

Sixty-three companies are asking the federal government to allow companies that receive foreign-intelligence surveillance requests to publicly discuss those requests in basic terms, while gun rights advocates have joined the Unitarian Church and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a lawsuit against NSA spying on First Amendment grounds.

U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide Legality of Bunnell’s Government Prayers, Via Greece

| June 24, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case from Greece, N.Y., where government meetings are started with distinctly Christian prayers, as they are at Bunnell City Commission meetings. The case is being taken to the court by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Florida Government’s DCF Looks to Religious Organizations to Recruit Foster Parents

| June 3, 2013

Looking for foster parents, DCF Director of Faith Based Development Erik Braun told child welfare professionals at a conference that Florida has 12 million residents affiliated with a Catholic or Protestant church, 1 million Jews and 400,000 to 600,000 Muslims.

Church-State Separation Be Damned: Bunnell Sponsors 3rd Prayer Day, Invoking “God’s City”

| May 2, 2013

Bunnell marked the national Day of Prayer for the third year with its own sponsored religious event, a distinctly Christian, evangelical-like service that features commissioners and the mayor offering prayers and pastors invoking Jesus’s name and god’s law above all others.

Revenge Porn: Florida Lawmakers Take National Lead in Battling Bullying’s New Virus

| April 16, 2013

In a more lurid consequence of sexting, Florida women and girls have been targeted by revenge porn–the online posting of nude images without the victim’s consent–in several documented instances, leading the Legislature to seek to criminalize the practice as a second or third-degree felony.

Florida Voter Group Argues for a Free Speech Right to Secrecy and Unregulated PACs

| April 15, 2013

The state says it is justified in requiring disclosures of information about political action committee contributions and expenditures. Plaintiffs, arguing their case before a federal appeals court Tuesday, say they should be free to express themselves on political issues without registering as a committee and filling out campaign documents.

Facebook Effect: For Workers On or Off the Job, Individual Rights Are Dead

| April 7, 2013

Employers’ presumptions on workers’ behavior on and off the job have more in common with the inquisition or police states than with the bill of rights. Transgressors are routinely humiliated, silenced, censured or fired over speech or behavior companies should have no right to police.

FAU Stomps on Academic Freedom Over Jesus Controversy as Scott Fans Fanaticism

| March 28, 2013

Florida Atlantic University Professor Deandre Poole’s assignment involving the word “Jesus” on the floor drew in a politically motivated protest from Gov. Rick Scott while the university gave in to his demand that the lesson not be taught anymore.

Friend of the Court: How Anthony Lewis Influenced the Justices He Covered

| March 27, 2013

To a remarkable degree, Anthony Lewis, who covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times, set the agenda, and established the arguments for all that was to follow during the constitutional revolution of the Earl Warren court.

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