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Jan 18, 2017

What Trump can do to thwart the press

My latest column for the South Carolina Press Association discusses actions that Donald Trump and his administration can take unilaterally – without assent from any other branch of government – against the press, or at least the news media’s ability to collect and disseminate information.

Jan 10, 2017

Michigan Case Doesn't Show the Way on Device Bans

Michigan Live reports that a Michigan man has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a policy banning cell phones from courthouses in Saginaw County, Michigan. While I am sympathetic with the plaintiff's case here, it is extremely unlikely that the Supreme Court will take the case. And even if it did, the Court would likely not rule for the plaintiff because of the technicalities of this particular case.

Dec 21, 2016

The Dylann Roof Case, Open and Shut

My latest column for the South Carolina Press Association:

In November, as the prosecution of Dylann Roof for the Emanuel AME Church massacre edged closer to trial, federal judge Richard Gergel decided to grant a defense request that the public and the press be barred from a hearing into Roof’s competency to stand trial, and to represent himself in the case.

Dec 6, 2016

Nov 16, 2016

Oct 31, 2016

Indonesia, Too, Drops Down the Memory Hole

First Belguim, then Italy, now Indonesia. Another country has warped the "right be be forgotten" -- the misguided notion that embarrassing material can be effectively hidden online by removing links from search results -- to justify Orwellian censorship and rewriting of the past.

Oct 19, 2016

Donald Trump and Libel

This is my first column for the South Carolina Press Association's newsletter:

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, it is clear that he does not have much regard for the media.

Sep 27, 2016

Italy Limits History to Two Years

I recently wrote about the highest court in Belgium holding that the European "right to be forgotten" required a newspaper to remove a 22-year-old article from its archive, down George Orwell's memory hole. Now Italy's highest court has limited the retention time for articles subject to "right to be forgotten" complaints to a scant two years.

Thus the "right to be forgotten" is becoming a way of "forgetting" the past, by forcing the removal of evidence of it.

Sep 6, 2016

Court Finds No Actual Malice in Communist Claim

I've written before how courts in California, Minnesota and Washington have held that calling someone a Communist can be the basis of a valid libel claim when the audience is the Vietnamese-American community. One of these cases ended with a $4.5 million jury verdict, which led to the takeover of the newspaper defendant in that case.

Now a Texas appeals court has affirmed the dismissal of a suit by an Assembly candidate against a the editor of a Vietnamese language magazine for accusing the candidate of sympathizing with the communist regime in Vietnam.