Oct 2, 2020

Article Examines, What's a "True Threat"?

My new journal article, written with my student Morgan Hill, explores that criteria that courts have used to determine whether a statement is a “true threat” under federal law, after the U.S. Supreme Court's failure to clarify the issue. It is in the latest issue of the University of Baltimore School of Law's Journal of Media Law & Ethics:

Jul 22, 2020

ABA's Communications Lawyer Reviews My Book

The Communications Lawyer, published by the American Bar Association's Forum on Communications Law, has published a review of my book, Reckless Disregard: St. Amant v. Thompson and the Transformation of Libel Law. Thanks to Cynthia Counts for writing it.

Here's a highlight:
Robinson has provided a full and complete account of this most important case that played so prominently in the post-Sullivan evolution of libel law. This isn’t just important reading for media law scholars, history buffs, or practicing attorneys.It is required reading.
The review is available here.

Jul 14, 2020

Trump Hits the Wall of Courts' Prior Restraint Precedents

President Trump’s campaign and family have both tried in recent weeks—and earlier in his presidency—to stop publication of books and other things that may be uncomfortable or embarrassing to him. And each time such efforts have failed, with the courts rejecting these attempts based on almost 90 years of legal precedent that allows such prior restraints only under the direst circumstances.

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