Facebook Bans Virginia Senator Amanda Chase from Posting for 30 Days

State Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) said Friday that she has been banned from posting to her public Facebook page for 30 days, with an additional ban on posting live video for another 30 days. In addition to the ban, Facebook removed some of her posts, including a video showing a woman being shot in the U.S. Capitol and flagged as false Chase’s claims of Antifa involvement in the Wednesday Capitol riot.

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Federal Court Preliminarily Sides with Nine Ohio Christian Schools Claiming Toledo-Lucas Co. Health Dept Resolution Unconstitutional

The United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request made by nine Ohio parochial schools to stop a resolution issued by the Toledo-Lucas County Department of Health that shut down in-person learning in the plaintiff schools.

The court issued a temporary order halting the health department from enforcing the resolution in the schools based on the likelihood the order violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.

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Out-of-Court Settlement Reached to Provide Space for Virginia Legislators to Meet With Constituents

On New Years Eve, Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) struck a deal with leaders of the Virginia General Assembly that will provide space for constituents to meet with legislators near the Capitol grounds even though the Pocahontas Building and Capitol Building remain closed to outsiders due to COVID-19.

DeSteph said the out-of-court settlement was a win. “This will allow citizens, subject matter experts, and other professional staff to meet face-to-face with legislators during the upcoming regular session. This is a huge victory for the First Amendment and for open access to government for all Virginians,” the press release states.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Announces Health Dept Curfew Order Which Contains Several Exceptions

Today Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Director’s Second Amended Order that All Persons Stay at Home During Specified Hours Unless Engaged in Work or Essential Activity.

Sources inside the state government told The Star in November that the original curfew order came as a reaction to significant backlash from Ohioans as information leaked that Governor DeWine was going to push for another shutdown.
One source said, “people in the room when the decision was made agreed that a curfew wouldn’t do anything significant,” but would be an acceptable compromise the DeWine team would accept.

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Ohio AG Yost Files Brief in Favor of Religious Schools, Says Health Department Orders Unconstitutional

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals backing three Ohio Christian Schools and a community organization who brought a lawsuit against the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.  The department issued an order barring in-person learning for all students in grades 7-12 from December 4 to January 11.

Monclova Christian Academy, Emmanuel Christian, St John’s Jesuit and Citizens for Community Values (CCV) are the plaintiffs.    The Court demanded a response from Toledo-Lucas County Health Department on Tuesday, December 29.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Signs Bill That Protects Students’ Free Speech

When Ohio college students return to campus after the holidays, they will be able to speak their mind freely.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act that protects individuals’ First Amendment rights and prohibits “free speech zones” on public college and university campuses in the state.

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Injunction Filed Against Democratic State Legislators for Shutting Out Public from General Assembly

State Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) and attorney Tim Anderson filed a petition for injunction against Democratic legislators to preserve constituents’ in-person access to General Assembly members. State Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), Chair of Senate Rules, and Speaker Eileen Filler Corn (D-Fairfax) decided to close the Pocahontas building to the public, which hosts office appointments for both the House of Delegates and State Senate.

“The closure of the legislative office building to the public is contrary to the explicit historical purpose of the building to allow the public access to its elected legislative members, especially during the General Assembly Session,” read the lawsuit. “Most importantly, the right to assemble and address lawmakers at the state and federal levels is fundamentally protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution: a. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'”

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Ohio Lawmakers Require Free Speech Protection at Colleges, Universities

The Ohio House of Representatives made voices on the state’s college campus a little louder this week, if Gov. Mike DeWine approves.

The House passed the “Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act,” which would prevent colleges and universities from limiting political speech on campuses or moving that speech into “free speech zones.”

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Facebook Demands Academics Disable Ad-Targeting Data Tool

Academics, journalists and First Amendment lawyers are rallying behind New York University researchers in a showdown with Facebook over its demand that they halt the collection of data showing who is being micro-targeted by political ads on the world’s dominant social media platform.

The researchers say the disputed tool is vital to understanding how Facebook has been used as a conduit for disinformation and manipulation.

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Loudoun County School Board Backpedals on Policy Limiting Free Speech Indefinitely After Public Outcry

Loudoun County School Board voted this week to revise their “Professional Conduct” policy governing employee speech off of school property. Up until the latest meeting, members recommended to approve and accept the policy.
Apparently, public outcry from teachers unions and community members led to this decision.

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More Madness in Virginia’s School Systems: Free Speech… Unless We Disagree

The Loudoun County School Board will vote on a policy silencing employees who disagree with racial equity practices. The proposal would extend the school’s jurisdiction over off-campus speech, including social media, speeches, and any written forms of communication.
The new policy would govern employee speech “during and after school or work hours, whether on or off school board property, including the property of any school, office, or facility.”

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Los Angeles Ordered to Pay NRA Six Figures After Losing First Amendment Case

The Washington Free Beacon reports, a federal court ordered the city of Los Angeles to pay the NRA’s lawyer fees of approximately $150,000, just months after he ruled a city ordinance violated the gun-rights group’s First Amendment rights.

The City of Los Angeles tried to penalize any contractor with ties to the NRA. The NRA sued over the ordinance and federal district court judge Stephen Wilson ruled it was an unconstitutional violation of the NRA’s First Amendment rights. The city eventually repealed it and on Tuesday, the judge ordered city officials to pay the NRA’s attorney fees totaling about $150,000.

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Campus Survey: 42 Percent of Students Say Their College Doesn’t Empower Free Speech

Conservative students on college campuses across the U.S. are more likely to self-censor than their more liberal classmates out of fear of backlash or retribution, according to a first-of-its-kind student survey commissioned by RealClearEducation and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

The survey is the largest of its kind – canvasing 20,000 students at 55 U.S. colleges and universities about their experiences with free speech on campuses. Conducted by College Pulse, the survey ranks schools according to how open and tolerant students say they are, among several other criteria, and includes numerous student comments about their experiences.

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Free Speech Group Warns University After it Allowed Black Lives Matter Protest but Banned Other Gatherings

A free speech advocacy group has sent two letters to East Carolina University after the public college banned gatherings of more than 50 students, but allowed a Black Lives Matter protest on campus.

Southeastern Legal Foundation sent a letter to the North Carolina public university on September 16 seeking information on its enforcement of its coronavirus policies. After receiving no response, the public interest law group sent a follow-up letter on September 24.

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Professor Alan Dershowitz Joins the Tennessee Star Report to Explain His Lawsuit Against CNN

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Professor Alan Dershowitz to the show to explain his lawsuit against CNN.

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Metro School Board Member and Plaintiff Fran Bush Says Constitutional Lawsuit Against Former Superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph is Still Pending

The lawsuit against former Metro Nashville Public Schools superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph and the Metro government is still pending, one of the plaintiffs, a school board member, says.

Fran Bush is one of three MNPS school board members who are suing Joseph and the Metro government. The other plaintiffs are board members Jill Speering and Amy Frogge.

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Churches Sue Governor Walz, State Attorney General and County Attorneys for Violating Religious Liberties

Three churches are suing the governor and his constituents for executive orders that violate their religious liberties. Defendants in the case are Governor Tim Walz, State Attorney General Keith Ellison, and county attorneys Chad Larson, Tom Kelly, and Donald Ryan. The Thomas More Society filed on behalf of the churches.

The lawsuit cites Article I, Section 16 of Minnesota’s Constitution as state precedent protecting the right to worship: “the right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed.” The lawsuit also cites Christian adherence to the Bible’s commandment for believers to worship together.

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Commentary: Is Free Speech at Stake in November?

The phenomenon of “cancel culture” is a real and growing threat to free speech in America. This rapidly rising threat has caught many Americans off guard.

Since the rise of the nation-state, almost all the serious threats to freedom of speech have come from government or government sponsored agencies. However, this current threat is not from the government – at least not yet.

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Commentary: Reagan’s Farewell Warning Was Ignored (And Now We Are Paying the Price)

In his 1989 farewell address, President Reagan asked the rhetorical question, “Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?”

He followed up with the answer: 

Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise – and freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.

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US Supreme Court Denies Nevada Church’s Appeal of Virus Rule

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court denied a rural Nevada church’s request late Friday to strike down as unconstitutional a 50-person cap on worship services as part of the state’s ongoing response to the coronavirus.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court refused to grant the request from the Christian church east of Reno to be subjected to the same COVID-19 restrictions in Nevada that allow casinos, restaurants and other businesses to operate at 50% of capacity with proper social distancing.

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‘Walking on Eggshells’: 62 Percent of Americans Are Afraid to Express Political Views, Survey Finds

Self-censorship is on the rise according to a new Cato Institute survey that reports nearly two-thirds of Americans are afraid to share their political views.

A new CATO Institute/YouGov national survey found 62% of Americans say the political climate today prevents them from saying what they believe. This is up several points from 2017 when 58% of Americans said they were afraid to share their political beliefs.

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Columbus City Council to Consider Police Hate-Group Screening Legislation

The Columbus City Council is working on legislation to screen the police for affiliations with hate groups or for harboring beliefs consistent with these groups. Last Monday, Shayla Favor, a councilmember and chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, held a meeting at which she presented the outlines of her legislative initiative. There will be another hearing at Wednesday, July 20, at 3 p.m. Favor will then finish drafting police-screening legislation and include it in a larger piece of public safety legislation that will be presented to the city council on July 27, the last meeting before the August recess.

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Caller Bernadette Reports on Woke White Neighbor’s Anonymous Cancel Culture Note Claiming Her Confederate Flag Is Offensive

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Caller Bernadette to the show who reported to the duo about her recent anonymous note that was signed “White Neighbor” regarding the offensiveness of her confederate flag she has displayed on the door of her private property.

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Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs in on the Navy’s Demand that Personnel Cease Attendance of Religious Services

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, McCabe talked about the Navy’s recent call for military personnel to sign a waiver acknowledging that they will not attend indoor religious services. He later discussed whether this was an infringement on the First Amendment rights and how COVID-19 is being used as a tool by those that oppose the Catholic religion.

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Conservatives Praise Supreme Court for Ruling States Can’t Discriminate Against Religious Schools

The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that states can’t cut religious schools out of programs that send public money to private education in a 5-4 ruling. 

Hailed as a victory for religious freedom, the justices upheld a Montana scholarship program that allows state tax credits for private schooling in which almost all the recipients attend religious schools.

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DeWine Signs Student Religious Liberties Act Into Law

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Student Religious Liberties Act into law Friday, a bill that protects prayer and religious expression in public schools.

“No student should have to hide their faith just because they enter a public school. The Student Religious Liberties Act is carefully crafted to ensure school administrators can’t unfairly penalize students of all faiths, or no faith,” said Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values, one of twelve groups that testified in support of the bill.

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Trump Activists Mobbed on Ohio University Campus While Officers Watched

Two conservative activists were mobbed and harassed Monday on Ohio University’s Athens campus while multiple police officers watched.

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit of Ohio Professor Who Refuses to Use Transgender Pronouns

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit last week filed against Shawnee State University by a professor who claims he was retaliated against for refusing to address a transgender student by the student’s preferred pronouns.

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Michigan Bill Responds to Student Facing Up to 20 Years in Prison for Posting Picture of Gun Online

A bill making its way through the Michigan House seeks to tighten the state’s definition of terrorism after a Lake Superior State University student was charged for posting a picture of his AR-15 on Snapchat.

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Buckeye Institute Fights for Lawyers’ Rights to Not Join Bar Associations that Lobby

The Buckeye Institute announced on Monday it filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support lawyers’ First Amendment rights — by ensuring they are not compelled to join bar associations that lobby for political and ideological issues that they oppose.

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Michigan Governor Compares Tackling ‘Hate Speech’ to Fighting in World War II in Letter to Zuckerberg

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer compared fighting “hate speech” to Detroit’s industrial efforts during World War II in a letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week.

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Cleveland Agrees to $225,000 Settlement With Communist Who Believes ‘America Was Never Great’

  Cleveland has agreed to pay $225,000 in a settlement with a second protester who was arrested outside of the 2016 Republican National Convention for burning the American flag. As The Ohio Star reported in April, the city agreed to a $50,000 settlement with Steven Fridley, who was also arrested…

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Tennessee Republicans Fight To Protect Faith-Based Adoption Agencies From Discrimination

Republicans continue to shepherd legislation through the Tennessee General Assembly to protect faith-based child placement agencies against discrimination for exercising their religious liberties provided by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. State Rep. Tim Rudd (R-TN-34) and Sen. Mark Pody (R-TN-17) are the sponsors. The bills are HB 836 and SB…

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House Democrats Derail Rep. Green’s Attempt to Protect Free Speech By Voting Down His Amendment to Bill That Would Give Feds Control of Elections

House Democrats on Thursday voted down an amendment by U.S. Rep. Dr. Mark Green (R-TN-07) to protect free speech in House Resolution 1, which seeks to change campaign finance, election and lobbying laws. Tracking information on H.R.1 is here. “Free speech should be protected,” Green said in a hearing at…

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Union Power, Email Privacy in the Balance at New Supreme Court Sitting

by Kevin Daley   The Supreme Court will convene Tuesday for its February sitting, in which the justices will consider major cases involving the First Amendment, union power, and email privacy. The cases raise the prospect of serious political and diplomatic repercussions, placing the justices at the center of a…

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Iowa Employee Fired for Signing Emails ‘In Christ’ Loses Court Battle

An Iowa state employee who sued his former employer after being fired for signing his emails “In Christ” lost his court battle Wednesday. According to the Sioux City Journal, a federal jury found Wednesday that Michael Mial, a former employee of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute’s Civil Commitment Unit for…

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Trump Administration Urges Supreme Court To Protect Cross-Shaped War Memorial

by Kevin Daley   The Trump administration filed an amicus (or “friend of the court”) brief Wednesday urging the Supreme Court to protect a 93-year-old war memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, that is shaped like a Latin cross. The court will soon decide whether the cross-shaped World War I memorial violates…

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DOJ Says University of Iowa Violated First Amendment By De-Registering a Christian Group

by Neetu Chandak   The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday the University of Iowa violated First Amendment rights after deregistering a student Christian group. Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) stopped receiving recognition from the public university in November 2017 due to the organization’s statement of faith, which the university…

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Federal Employees Ordered Not to Discuss the ‘Resistance’ on Work Time

by Tristan Justice   Federal employees received warning on Wednesday not to discuss the “resistance” or the impeachment of President Donald Trump while on the job under new guidance issued by the Office of Special Counsel, the independent agency that enforces the Hatch Act. The guidance, according to The New York…

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Commentary: A Profile in Absurdity as Jim Acosta the First Amendment Hero

by Mark Pulliam   The latest theatrics involving Jim Acosta, the left-wing political activist posing as a CNN reporter, perfectly illustrate the reasons why ordinary Americans despise the Beltway swamp: anti-Trump propaganda masquerading as journalism, rude and arrogant “reporters” engaged in 24/7 “resistance,” a federal judiciary so thoroughly dominated by…

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Tennessee Star Report-Knoxville Edition: According to CNN, ‘Everyone Get’s a Pass’ as MSM Bands Together Claiming First Amendment Rights to White House Press Corp

On Wednesday’s Tennessee Star Report: Knoxville Edition – broadcast on WETR 92.3 FM in Knoxville – Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill talked about Megyn Kelly’s inability to create a base and keep it, CNN’s lawsuit against the White House, and how the usual ‘liberal’ suspects are joining the MSM band wagon…

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