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    1st Amendment Tag

    Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann sued The Washington Post for defamation related to its coverage of the incident in which Sandmann was portrayed as the perpetrator of the harassment of a Native American 'elder' after the March for Life in D.C. Sandmann also sued CNN in a separate lawsuit, and other lawsuits may follow.

    A few weeks ago, a viral article by Think Progress accused Chick-fil-A's foundation of actively supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations. The article was cited and reposted by news networks and individual blogs alike, and for the gazillionth time, calls to boycott the world's best chicken sandwich bounced around progressive spheres of the web.

    The second attempt by the State of Colorado to punish Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop has come to an end, once again, with a victory for the baker. Round 1 was the baker's refusal to create a custom cake for a same-sex marriage, on the ground that it violated the baker's Christian faith to create a message celebrating same-sex marriage.

    You know the story of the Covington Catholic High School kids who were maligned by the media when Native American activist Nathan Phillips, accompanied by a phalanx of videographers, approached them to create a confrontation. Nicholas Sandmann did nothing other than stand there as Phillips invaded his personal space and banged a drum inches from Sandmann's face. The fact that Sandmann was wearing a MAGA hat infuriated liberal media and social media. That Sandmann smiled during the encounter was called a "white privileged" smirk, and led to taunts from some famous people that he should be punched in the face.

    The U.S. has had a federal anti-Boycott law on the books since the 1970s, to counter the Arab League Boycott of Israel. There is under consideration in Congress, and many states have passed, laws to modernize the anti-Boycott laws to take into account the new form of the boycott, the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. As I have proven, BDS is a new form not only of the anti-Jewish boycotts of the 1920s and 1930s, but also of the Arab League Boycott, The REAL history of the BDS movement.

    In Fleck v. Wetsh, review by the Supreme Court was sought of an 8th Circuit decision denying a challenge to North Dakota's mandatory Bar Association dues, some of which went to political activities not directly related to Bar membership. Note that this has nothing to do with licensing of attorney, as such. Rather, a majority of states require that in addition to registering with the state licensing authority (often the state Supreme Court), bar members also must register with the private Bar Associations. That's the way it is in Rhode Island, I'm required to pay my annual dues both to the state Supreme Court and separately to the Rhode Island Bar Association.

    Jim Acosta and CNN were granted a Temporary Restraining Order on Friday, November 16, 2018, restoring Acosta's White House "hard pass," to allow him privileged access to the White House grounds for press briefings and other events, pending further court action. The White House promptly announced that it would promulgate rules governing press conduct and discipline, to address the court's concern that Acosta was not afforded due process.

    On Friday, November 16, 2018, the federal District Court in D.C. granted a temporary restraining order compelling the White House to reinstate CNN's Jim Acosta's "hard pass," that gives him privileged access to the White House for press briefings and events. As described in our coverage of the decision, there is no written opinion or transcript as of now that can be reviewed to understand the precise parameters and reasoning of the judge. As of this writing, we only have media reports as to the judge's stated reasons.

    Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee, has just ruled on the motion of Jim Acosta and CNN for a temporary restraining order restoring Acosta's White House “hard pass”. Based on reports from reporters in the media room, it appears that the Judge ruled that while the White House doesn't have to allow any reporters into the White House, by setting up a credentialing process it owes people like Acosta due process, and that it confers a First Amendment interest entitled to protection. The Court appears to have ruled that Acosta's First Amendment rights supercede the White House interest in orderly press conferences, and that Acosta was not given due process in the revocation process.

    The Judge will rule today on the motion for a temporary restraining order filed by Jim Acosta and CNN. While most of the media supports Acosta, One American News Network filed late on November 15, 2018, for permission to file an amicus brief (pdf.) (full embed at bottom of post) opposing the motion.

    "Bad facts make bad law" is a common saying. What that means is that bad facts in a specific case can create legal precedent that is damaging to others, not just the bad actor in the case. Nowhere is that more clear than in the pending motion by Jim Acosta and CNN, publicly supported by over a dozen major media outlets, requesting a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction forcing the White House to restore Acosta's press "hard pass." The court is scheduled to rule Friday, November 16, at 10 a.m.

    UPDATE: The Judge has postponed the decision from 3 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday. A federal District Court Judge in D.C., Timothy Kelly, heard two hours of argument today on the motion for a temporary restraining order requested by CNN and Jim Acosta regarding his White House "hard pass". The hard pass was revoked after an incident on November 7, 2018, when Acosta refused to yield the microphone when Trump wanted to move on to other reporters. Acosta physically blocked a White House intern from retrieving the microphone.

    On November 13, 2008, CNN and Jim Acosta filed in federal court in D.C. for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction seeking a court order overruling the White House decision to revoke Acosta's "hard pass" -- the press pass that provides Acosta with "regular and unescorted access to the White House and White House briefings.”
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