British Writer Wins Vital Appeal In Libel Case

LONDON – (AP) A British science writer chipped away at the country's harsh libel laws Thursday with an appeals court victory in a case that has become a rallying point for free speech advocates. The decision for Simon Singh was hailed by his backers as an important step in a country. . . ....

Mass. Man Sues School Official Over Bullying Case

BOSTON - (AP) A Massachusetts man claims in a lawsuit that his free speech rights were violated when he was removed from a public meeting for criticizing school officials in the case of a teenager who committed suicide after allegedly being bullied relentlessly. Full version available to lexis.com subscribers...

High Court Looks At Military Funeral Protests

YORK, Pa. - (AP) One thing Al Snyder wants to make clear: His boy fought and died for freedom in Iraq, but not for the right of some "wackos" to spew hate at soldiers' funerals under the protection of the Constitution. "It's an insult to myself, my family and the veterans. . ....

Free Speech Cases At Top Of Supreme Court's Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) First Amendment cases top the Supreme Court's docket as it begins a new term with a new justice and three women on the bench for the first time. The court will look at provocative anti-gay protests at military funerals and a California law banning the sale of violent. . ....

Supreme Court To Hear Military Funeral Protest Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) The father of a Marine killed in Iraq is asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a $5 million verdict against members of a fundamentalist church who picketed his son's funeral with signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates the USA." The court...

U.S. Supreme Court Struggles With Funeral Protest Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) Supreme Court justices on Wednesday pondered the vexing question of whether the father of a dead Marine should win his lawsuit against a fundamentalist church group that picketed his son's funeral. The complexity and weightiness of the First Amendment issue were palpable in...

U.S. High Court Hears Oral Arguments In Funeral Protest Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) A man who was trying to bury his dead son, a member of the U.S. military, in a "private, dignified manner" was entitled to call upon Maryland's tort law when he was prevented from doing so, the attorney representing Albert Snyder argued Oct. 6 before the...

Law Punishing Fake Heroes May Go To Supreme Court

DENVER - (AP) The Justice Department is battling to save a federal law that makes it illegal to lie about being a war hero, appealing two court rulings that the statute is an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech. The fight could be carried all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. . . . Full version available...

Vermont, GOP Governors Association Trade Lawsuits

MONTPELIER, Vt. - (AP) Vermont's attorney general and the Republican Governors Association filed lawsuits against one another Monday the state accusing the RGA of campaign finance law violations, the RGA calling Vermont's attorney general a partisan Democrat trying to muzzle its free speech....

Vince McMahon Sues Over WWE Garb At Connecticut Polls

HARTFORD, Conn. - (AP) World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon, the husband of U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop local election workers from asking WWE fans to cover up their wrestling garb at the polls. Vince McMahon, also president of the...

Supreme Court To Hear Violent Video Game Case

LONG BEACH, Calif. - (AP) Before picking up any Wii games or downloading apps on her iPhone for her two daughters, Lillian Quintero does her homework. She'll first read reviews online and in magazines, then try them out for herself. If she thinks the games are engaging and educational enough. . ...

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal On Virginia Alcohol Ad Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) The Supreme Court is leaving in place a ban on alcohol advertising in Virginia's college newspapers. The court on Monday rejected an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the newspapers. The appeal argued that the ban is an unconstitutional restraint...

Pennsylvania Girls Fight 'Boobies' Bracelet Ban in U.S. Court

PHILADELPHIA - (AP) In a test case of whether breast cancer fundraising bracelets that proclaim "I (heart) boobies!" can be banned in public schools, one district is calling the slogan a sexually charged double entendre. The free-speech case involves Easton Area Middle School, whose principals...

Alito Is Supreme Court's Lonely Voice On 1st Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) Alone among his colleagues, Justice Samuel Alito chose privacy over free speech Wednesday in the Supreme Court's consideration of protests at military funerals. The picketers who showed up at the March 2006 funeral for Matthew Snyder deprived his father, Albert Snyder, of...

'Bigfoot' Lawsuit: N.H. Is Stomping On Civil Liberties

CONCORD, N.H. - (AP) First there was a Bigfoot sighting. Now, there's a Bigfoot suing. A performance artist and amateur filmmaker who dressed as the mythical beast says New Hampshire park rangers didn't have the right to kick him off a mountain where he had been scaring, or at least amusing,...

Lawsuit Challenges Discretion In Issuing Gun Permits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - (AP) The nationwide debate over liberalizing gun laws spilled into a federal courtroom in Sacramento on Thursday as gun-rights groups challenged how much discretion California's law enforcement officials have in issuing concealed weapons permits. Gun-rights advocates argued that...

3rd Circuit Finds 1st Amendment Violations In School Discipline For Online Postings

PHILADELPHIA - (Mealey's) In rulings issued June 13 in two cases that it reheard en banc, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that schools do not have the authority to regulate students' speech that occurs off school grounds if the speech does not pose a significant threat of substantial...

Pennsylvania Teens Can't Be Suspended For MySpace Parodies

PHILADELPHIA - (AP) Two Pennsylvania teens cannot be disciplined at school for MySpace parodies of their principals created on home computers, a federal appeals court ruled Monday in a high-profile case involving students and free speech. The postings, however lewd or offensive, were not likely to cause...

Supreme Court Says Vermont Law Restricting Prescribing Data Is Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Vermont's law restricting the sale of doctors' drug-prescribing information to data miners for use in marketing drugs to doctors is an unconstitutional, impermissible restriction on free speech content and on speakers with which the state disagrees, the U.S....

Vermont Prescription Drug Data Mining Law Struck Down

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) States cannot stop drug manufacturers and data-mining companies from using information about the prescription drugs individual doctors like to prescribe, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The court voted 6-3 to strike down a Vermont data-mining law aimed at controlling health...

Supreme Court Limits State Rules On Campaign Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) The Supreme Court imposed new limits Monday on states trying to restrain the influence of money in politics, striking down a law that tied the amount of public funds a candidate receives to how much privately funded rivals spend. The 5-4 ruling was the latest in a series of decisions...

High Court Rules Against Banning Violent Video Sales To Kids

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) States cannot ban the sale or rental of ultraviolent video games to children, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting such limits as a violation of young people's First Amendment rights and leaving it up to parents and the multibillion-dollar gaming industry to decide what...

Veteran Supreme Court Reporter Analyzes Roberts Court's Form Of 'Judicial Activism'

PHILADELPHIA - Does the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. engage in judicial activism? Yes, according to a reporter who has covered the high court for more than 50 years. But, he says, that's not a negative quality, or unusual. And he has a pretty narrow definition of "activism...

Tobacco Firms Sue FDA Over New Graphic Warnings

COLUMBIA, S.C. - (AP) Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday over new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights and will cost millions of dollars...

How Your Elected Legislators Have Chiseled Away Your Legal Rights

By Keith Ecker, a reporter for Lawyers.com, www.lawyers.com/our-blog There is a battle being fought at the highest levels of government over your right to file a medical malpractice or defective drug lawsuit. On the one hand are pro-business groups that seek protection from crippling multi-million...