Is discrimination against gays and atheists protected speech?

Sometimes the First Amendment just makes your head hurt.Such is the case, at least for some, in a student speech/discrimination case currently before the Supreme Court that the parties argue pits some of the important guarantees of the First Amendment against the important societal goal of prohibiting discrimination based solely on who a person is or what he believes.In a nutshell, the case involves a Christian student group at Hastings Law School in San Francisco denied “official student group” status because of its refusal to comply with the public law school’s policy that forbids discrimination on various grounds, including religion and sexual orientation.

Supreme Court reaffirms: Trials must be open to the public

In a rarely used procedural maneuver, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide -- and then, decided right on the spot -- the issue of whether excluding the public from watching jury selection violates the accused's right to a fair trial.The Court's 7-2 answer: Yes, unless the judge shows that she has considered less drastic alternatives -- even if the accused fails to suggest any.The Court's ruling in Presley v.

Important questions need to be answered about Sotomayor’s position on student speech rights

When Judge Sonia Sotomayor takes her seat for her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, she will have the opportunity to set right a terrible mistake that threatens to undermine the safety of student journalists.Last year, Judge Sotomayor signed her name to an ill-considered ruling that significantly expanded high schools’ authority to punish students’ speech – even off-campus speech on personal time.

Web site operator liable for encouraging third-party publication of illicit content to its site

Federal law has been interpreted as protecting the operators of Web sites from liability for content posted by unrelated third parties – like commenters on Web site bulletin boards – but even that broad grant of immunity has its outer limits.Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that a company offering access to people’s private telephone records could not hide behind the liability shield of the Communications Decency Act (a/k/a Section 230) by claiming to be no more than a conduit for information gathered by third parties.