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The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech... more +
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech or the press, preventing citizens from peacefully assembling, or interfering with citizens' ability to petition the government for redress of their grievances. The First Amendment is one of the most sacred aspects of the American legal tradition and has spawned a vast body of jurisprudence and commentary. less -
News & Analysis as of

Social Media Freedom of Expression Cases Pit the Public Against Public Officials

In perhaps the next battleground for government and education, citizens who comment on social media sites are facing off with local government officials public and school administrators who find their online expression...more

Status Updates - July 2014 #2

..The New York Court of Appeals has struck down that state’s “cyberbullying” law in a 5-2 decision, finding that it is overly broad and chills First Amendment-protected speech. The case arose when a 15-year-old boy pleaded...more

Facebook: Fireable Offense or Free Speech?

The interplay between an employee’s postings on Facebook and the impact of those postings on his or her employment status is an evolving area of the law. Just last month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of...more

Two Circuits Address the First Amendment Status of Facebook Activity

Two recent U.S. appellate court decisions have clarified the extent to which the First Amendment protects the social media activities of government employees. In Gresham v. City of Atlanta, the Court of Appeals for the...more

Disputed Facebook Post Can Justify a Firing And Is Not Pretextual

As this blog illustrated recently, sentiments posted on Facebook, if sufficiently vulgar or offensive, can cause a person to lose his job. The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision analyzing whether a profane and...more

First Amendment Does Not Prevent State From Firing Employee For Derogatory Facebook Comments

Though the First Amendment affords greater free speech protections for government employees relative to those in the private sector, the speakers do not have carte blanche to insult or deride whomever they see fit. Rather,...more

Is the "Like" Button Becoming a Constitutionally Protected Activity?

On September 18, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee's act of clicking the "Like" button on Facebook constitutes speech protected by the First Amendment. This ruling signals an extension of...more

Public Employees’ Facebook “Like” Is The Internet Equivalent Of A Political Yard Sign

The courts are taking steps to protect communications made via social media; e.g., Ehling v. Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp., No. 2:11-cv-03305 (D.N.J. Aug 20, 2013) (holding that private Facebook posts are protected...more

The First Amendment Goes Digital – Clicking “Like” on Facebook is Speech

With around 1.15 billion members, Facebook is a massive, global forum for communicating with friends and the world. For many users, it often feels as if their news feeds are clogged with vapid comments about the weather, meal...more

What's in a "Like"? Precedent-Setting Case Poses New Risk for Employers

The ubiquitous thumbs-up icon in Facebook has gained new prominence for private employers. In a case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that an employee fired for "liking" the campaign...more

Facebook “Like” Is Protected First Amendment Speech

I don’t often make predictions on legal outcomes, so when I do and I get it right, it’s worth sharing. In May, we talked about whether “liking” a candidate would constitute protected speech under the First Amendment. A...more

Court Finds the Simple Click of a Facebook “Like” Button Is Protected Speech

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Facebook “likes” are a form of speech entitled to First Amendment protection. While this ruling has no direct impact on private employers in New York, the...more

Are Facebook “Likes” Protected By The First Amendment?

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has ruled that clicking the “like” button on a Facebook page is a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. The case, Bland v. Roberts, was filed by...more

Week in Review - September 20, 2013

It is so easy to press that “like” button on a Facebook post by your best friend, your coworker, or your favorite company. In that quick second, it is unlikely that a person could contemplate all the potential legal and...more

Firing Employees For Their Social Media Content – First, Stop And Think [Audio]

Much has been written about whether you can fire someone for what they put on Facebook. Your gut reaction may be that surely if someone talks bad about the company, you can fire them. The National Relations Labor Board...more

New Jersey District Dismisses Teacher Who Called Students “Future Criminals” On Facebook

Earlier this month, a New Jersey appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a tenured teacher for comments she made about her students on Facebook. Good summaries of the case, In re O’Brien, can be found through the National...more

Public Entity Deletes Comments From Facebook Page: The Right Choice?

A recent Illinois Attorney General opinion addressed an interesting question: Can a public entity delete comments by community members from its Facebook page? Although the public entity at issue was a municipality, the...more

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