First Amendment - Anti-SLAPP - California Constitution - grpub.net

First Amendment

Post-COVID Extremism in Nevada - March 4, 2021 - admin
There’s no doubt that America is divided – now more than ever. The advent of Covid-19 served to divide the nation further. These divisions exploded onto the national scene during the 2020 presidential election. Those favoring President Trump reacted in disbelief when he lost to Joe Biden. Many, fueled by post-Covid isolation, took to the streets to protest the election results. A lot of these protesters were genuinely upset and engaged in their First Amendment right of self-expression. This culminated in the Capitol Hill riot, which started as a massive protest of Trump’s defeat. Rioters and extremists hijacked the rally, and armed with pipe bombs and firearms, occupied and ransacked the Senate chambers. Five people died, and over 140 were injured during this riot. The Aftermath The FBI responded swiftly, charging more than 300 people with federal crimes, including members of the anti-government paramilitary Oath Keepers and neo-fascist Proud Boys.…
From Tom Fitton’s article for Breitbart: We asked Facebook’s Oversight Board to end the censorship of former President Trump and allow him back onto the platform. We told its “Oversight Board” that the decision to suspend Trump is an affront to free speech and transparency. The Oversight Board is empowered by Facebook to review and overturn Facebook’s censorship decisions. Facebook and Big Tech censorship of former President Trump is an attack on the free speech of every American. Simply put: Big Tech must stop censoring conservatives in their effort to help Joe Biden. (The censorship isn’t just about Trump. I’ve been locked out of Twitter for six weeks over a tweet previously found not to be in violation of Twitter’s rules.) Dear Board Members: Judicial Watch is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation, promoting transparency, accountability and integrity in government and fidelity to the…
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it joined with Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) to file an amici curiae (friends of the court) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court that supports overturning a California law that compels the disclosure of tax-exempt organizations’ donors. The brief argues that mandatory disclosure of donors leads to intimidation, harassment and threats or reprisals from government officials and private parties that could chill the exercise of First Amendment rights. The Judicial Watch/AEF brief was filed in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Xavier Becerra, in his official capacity as Attorney General of California (No. 19-251, 19-255), in which Americans for Prosperity asks the high court to reverse the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which upheld the California law, and to affirm the lower court’s ruling, which held that the law violates the First Amendment. The brief argues that the Ninth…
[Brown v. EMA] First Amendment Class #12: "Offensive" Speech II Brown v. EMA (1484-1501) / (756-773) Property I Class #12—Estates IV: Leasehold and Defeasible Estates Leasehold estates, 282-283 Defeasible Estates, 283-286 Mahrenholz v. County Board of School Trustees, 286-292 Notes, 292-294 Review Problems 1-4, 310
Fordham Law Democracy Clinic Reports has published Improving Communication with Public Officials on Social Media: Proposals for Protecting Social Media Users’ First Amendment Rights. Here is the abstract. Government officials undermine a key platform for communication with the public when...
Pittsburgh judge sued over refusal to allow virtual courtroom access - March 3, 2021 - Cassie Maas | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Allegheny County Judge Anthony Mariani, alleging that Mariani violated the public’s First Amendment rights by blocking virtual access to courtroom proceedings. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC). The ALC is a public interest law firm that litigates on behalf of individuals whose human rights are violated in prison. As part of its mission, ALC volunteers observe criminal court proceedings every week and report their observations of those proceedings to the public. Because of COVID-19, court officials in Allegheny County required as many court proceedings as possible to be conducted through virtual technologies. As of February 24, 2021, the Fifth Judicial District President Judge ordered that the courts must make ongoing efforts to “reduce the amount of people present in court…

Anti-SLAPP

Ancestry.com publishes 450,000 old yearbooks in the form of 730M records that contain, at least, “the person’s name, photograph, school name, yearbook year, and city or town (at the time of the yearbook).” Ancestry doesn’t disclose how it acquires the yearbooks (it does ask for donations, but it’s hard to believe it got 450,000 donations). It sells access to yearbook records about specific individuals. Ancestry markets the records by featuring individuals, with their photos, from the database. The plaintiffs allegedly have individual records in the yearbook databases and were allegedly featured in email marketing. The plaintiffs sued Ancestry for California 3344 publicity rights violations, UCL, intrusion into seclusion, and unjust enrichment. An example of an Ancestry record about one of the plaintiffs: Article III. The fact that Ancestry commercializes the yearbooks isn’t an Article III harm by itself. (The court quotes the great Judge…
During the pandemic, a dangerous business has prospered: invading students’ privacy with proctoring software and apps. In the last year, we’ve seen universities compel students to download apps that collect their face images, driver’s license data, and network information. Students who want to move forward with their education are sometimes forced to accept being recorded in their own homes and having the footage reviewed for “suspicious” behavior. Given these invasions, it’s no surprise that students and educators are fighting back against these apps. Last fall, Ian Linkletter, a remote learning specialist at the University of British Columbia, became part of a chorus of critics concerned with this industry. Now, he’s been sued for speaking out. The outrageous lawsuit—which relies on a bizarre legal theory that linking to publicly viewable videos is copyright infringement—will become an important test of a 2019 British…
January 2021 Law Faculty Publications & News - February 23, 2021 - fjhinojosa
Throughout the month of January, the Law Library received alerts for full-time TTU Law Faculty publications and news. Below is a compilation of those daily alerts for January 1st to January 31st, 2021. Articles, Essays, & Books 1. Gerry W. Beyer, Estate Planning & Probate Law, Tex. B.J., Jan. 2021, at 33. 2. Gerry W. Beyer, Marital Property and Homesteads (2020-2021 Supplements to Volumes & 39 of the Texas Practice Series). 3. Brian D. Shannon, Texas Mental Health Legislative Reform: Significant Achievements With More To Come, 53 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 99 (2020). 4. Arnold H. Loewy, The Strange Case of Timothy Hennis: How Should It Be Resolved, 53 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1 (2020). 5. Gerry W. Beyer, A Safe Harbor in the Medicaid Adventure: Lady Bird and Transfer on Death Deeds, 46 ACTEC L.J. 3 (2020). 6. Gerry W. Beyer, Cyber Estate Planning and Administration, Est. Plan., Jan. 2021, at 28. 7. Gerry W. Beyer, ed., Keeping Current—Probate, Prob.…
[Court grants cases that will become moot, denies review in host of election cases, denies stay in tax-return cases, and slaps down Stormy Daniels's anti-SLAPP suit.] On Monday, the Court issued a lengthy order list. This order purged from the docket many Trump-related cases, and set the stage for other Trump-related cases to fall off the docket. First, the Court granted certiorari in challenges to Trump Administration's Title X policy and "public charge" rule. Soon enough, the Biden Administration will ask the Court to take these cases off the calendar, since the policies are being reversed. And, in time, the Court will likely vacate the lower-court decisions. Second, the Court denied review in a handful of election-related cases: Two cases from Pennsylvania raised the independent state legislator doctrine: Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Degraffenreid and Corman v. Pennsylvania Democratic Party. (I will write more about those cases in another…
This is the thirteenth instalment in a regular series from Inforrm highlighting press and case reports of new media and information cases from around the world.  It is intended to complement our United States: Monthly Round Up posts.  Please let us know if there are other cases and jurisdictions which we should be covering. In the Media Australia The contested debate among social media platforms and the Australian Government regarding Australia proposed media regulatory laws which would result in social media companies having to pay publishers for content. Having recently blocked Australian users from accessing news Facebook has resumed talks with the government. The BBC has coverage of the proposed Australia News Code. The Financial Times also has coverage as does the Guardian. The Australia News Media Code has reached the stages of Parliamentary consideration. The Associated Press has compared the responses of Google to Facebook saying the former looks to make…
This is another entry in my decade-long coverage of doctors suing patients for online reviews. The plaintiff is a Botox provider. The defendant-patient wrote a critical review on Yelp. The doctor sued the patient for defamation and related claims. The patient did not appear in court, seemingly setting up the doctor for a slam-dunk win. Yet, the court denied the plaintiff even without the patient mounting any defense. Let’s take a look at the reasons why: As usual, the court adjusts the applicable legal standard to reflect the publication venue of an online consumer review website, which is notoriously filled with grumbly reviews: Because Yelp reviews are used by consumers to provide their positive or negative opinions of businesses, the context strongly signals to readers that the review merely reflects the writer’s opinion….Defendant’s language is full of opinion and hyperbole and, to the extent that any isolated statement within the review might be…

California Constitution

In Valley Baptist Church v. City of San Rafael, (CA App., Feb. 26, 2021), a California state appellate court held that the "property taxation" exemption for property used exclusively for religious worship (California Constitution Art. XII, §3(f)) applies only to ad valorem taxes. Therefore plaintiff church was not exempt from the San Rafael's Paramedic Tax which is assessed on the basis of property square footage, not property value.
An Explanation of California’s Prop 57 - February 24, 2021 - Barhoma Law
For decades, criminal law was seen as a “one-way ratchet” in that, whenever changes were made to the criminal law, they almost always made the laws stricter. Typically, this is a function of high crime rates, and the political pressure lawmakers face from their constituents. Generally, lawmakers do not want to be seen as being “soft” on crime, so they continually propose increasingly strict laws to prove they mean business. However, California constitutional law provides citizens the ability to propose ballot initiatives. If someone can get enough signatures to support a ballot initiative, the entire state will vote on the initiative and, if it passes, it will become law. This is what happened with California’s Proposition 57. Proposition 57, or Prop 57, as it is more commonly known, is a ballot initiative passed in 2016. Prop 57 implements broad criminal justice reform as it pertains to parole consideration and juvenile offenders. Proponents of…
Court Dismisses CCPA Claim Against Google - February 9, 2021 - Rafael Reyneri
Last week, a federal district court in San Francisco dismissed a claim under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”).  The plaintiff alleged that Google had collected personal information without complying with the CCPA’s notice and consent requirements.  The court held that the CCPA’s private right of action does not extend to these provisions of the law.  It appears that this is the first time a court expressly reached this conclusion.  The case is McCoy v. Alphabet, No. 20‑cv‑05427 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 2, 2021). For context, the plaintiff alleged that Google used an internal program called “Android Lockbox” on its Android operating system to monitor and collect data from Android users as they used non-Google apps on their phones.  The alleged data collection included when and how often these third-party apps were used and the amount of time users spent on the third-party apps.  Based on…
Should San Francisco Taxpayers File Protective Claims for Recovery of the Homelessness Tax and the Commercial Rents Tax? - February 4, 2021 - Craig A. Becker, Breann E. Robowski, Richard E. Nielsen, Robert P. Merten III and Connor A. Corbitt
In 2018, San Francisco voters approved, by simple majority vote, two new gross receipts taxes: the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax (SF-HT) and the Commercial Rents Tax (SF-CRT), with both taxes effective as of January 1, 2019.[1] Because these taxes fund specific governmental services, they are designated as special taxes (specifically, the SF-HT funds homelessness services and the SF-CRT funds early childhood education). Since the California Constitution specifies that special taxes imposed by local government need two-thirds voter approval (i.e., a “supermajority”), taxpayer groups have filed lawsuits to invalidate these special taxes, as both were approved by only a majority vote (61% for the SF-HT and 51% for the SF-CRT).[2] As discussed more fully below, the courts have ruled against these taxpayer groups and the California Supreme Court to date has refused review. The pressing question is whether San Francisco taxpayers, who paid the SF-HT and/or the…
The California Supreme Court delivered good news today by swiftly denying a petition to invalidate Proposition 22 as unconstitutional. California voters passed Proposition 22 last November by a 59 percent majority. The Proposition 22 ballot measure classified app-based drivers for companies such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates and DoorDash as independent contractors and mandated that those companies provide certain benefits including guaranteeing at least 120 percent minimum wage during engaged time, payment per mile, health care coverage for those who work a certain number of hours and the development of anti-harassment policies. On January 12, 2021, a group of drivers and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) filed a petition for writ of mandate with the California Supreme Court seeking to invalidate Proposition 22 as unconstitutional. The petitioners presented a myriad of different arguments, including that Proposition 22’s title misled voters and the…
Can a state require that all health plans offered to its residents cover elective abortions? The federal government thinks not, and the state of California is poised to lose at least $200 million in Medicaid dollars because it insists that health plans in its state cover abortion services. In early 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump Administration issued a notice to California that the state’s abortion coverage mandate violated federal law. According to a December press release from the HHS Office for Civil Rights, the federal government may enforce its decision by withholding $200 million in federal Medicaid funds each quarter until the state comes into compliance. California implemented its abortion coverage mandate in August 2014 with an order from the state’s Department of Managed Health Care. The department explained that a state statute and the California Constitution prohibit health plans from discriminating against…