Jun 17, 2020

Protests, Free Speech and Press Freedom

From a First Amendment perspective, the direst events of the past few weeks were the numerous instances of police, law enforcement officers and (in Washington, D.C.) national guard soldiers (in Washington, D.C.) using aggressive tactics and violence against protesters who were peacefully—although sometimes angrily and loudly—utilizing their First Amendment rights to speak, assemble and air their grievances to the government. It was especially troubling when these aggressive tactics and violence were used against journalists covering the protests.

My latest column for the South Carolina Press Association....

Jun 2, 2020

The First Amendment and the Right to Protest

In the past two days I've been interviewed by the Charleston Post & Courier and WLTX, channel 19 in Columbia, about the First Amendment rights to free speech and protest, and the limited circumstances in which the government can step in:
In both interviews, I emphasized the importance of the rights of peaceful free speech and to petition the government under the First Amendment, and the essential need to protect and honor these rights, particularly during difficult and contentious times.

Apr 15, 2020

Is There a Legal Remedy for Coronavirus “Fake News”?

A lawsuit claims that Fox News Channel violated Washington state’s consumer protection laws by “willfully and maliciously engag[ing] in a campaign of deception and omission regarding the danger of the international proliferation of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.” Can such a lawsuit succeed?

Mar 9, 2020

My Terms of Service Study is Published

My study on whether rewriting web sites' terms of service in "plain English" is effective in making them more understandable to users has been published in the academic journal Social Media + Society. It is available at

Feb 19, 2020

Sealed Mulvaney case shows rules for sealing court documents

On the surface, a legal case with an appeal currently pending before the South Carolina Court of Appeals looks like a technical business case resulting from a real estate deal. But as originally reported by the Washington Post, the case involves White House acting chief of staff John Michael (“Mick”) Mulvaney.  More...

Jan 17, 2020

In test of revised FOIA, judge rules against last-minute agenda additions

My January column for the South Carolina Press Association:

A recent common pleas court decision appears to be the first application of recent changes to South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Law, and requirements for public notice of agenda items at public meetings. And since an appeal is planned, it may establish an important precedent on this issue.
Changes to South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act in 2015 added a requirement that public bodies subject to the law publicly release an agenda at least 24 hours in advance of any regularly scheduled meeting, and that any additions to the agenda similarly be announced publicly at least 24 hours before the meeting.

Jan 15, 2020

I'm featured in a story posted today to the college's web page.