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45 Words, 5 Freedoms, 1st Amendment

The following blog post can also be read at Roger Williams University’s First Amendment Blog.  By Edward Fitzpatrick Absolutely! The 45 words in the First Amendment guarantee five freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble and freedom to petition the government. But those constitutional guarantees are paper thin […]

Roger Williams University Launches First Amendment Blog

By Edward Fitzpatrick First Amendment advocates will be glad to know that Roger Williams University this week launched a First Amendment blog, providing a timely new venue for debating, discussing and defending the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. The New England First Amendment Coalition will also be publishing many of the posts. The blog draws […]

Loeb School Recognizes New Hampshire First Amendment Advocates

By David Tirrell-Wysocki There’s a reason why the protections articulated in the First Amendment were chosen to be the first words added to the Constitution in 1791. The amendment establishes five freedoms that define the essence of our democracy. It affects every American, every day, by prohibiting the government from interfering with our religion, speech, […]

Secrecy Remains R.I.’s Problem

Below is an op/ed co-written for The Providence Journal by Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition; Linda Lotridge Levin, president of Access/RI; Steven Brown, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island; John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island; and Jane W. Koster, president of […]

Vermont Public Records are the Cornerstone of Government Transparency

By Jim Condos Records management is not exactly an exciting topic, but when a particular record is the focus of a request or controversy, it becomes critically important in that moment. Those records are owned by the state of Vermont and are incredibly valuable for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are […]

With New Threats to First Amendment, Journalists Need to Find New Ways to Fund Court Cases

By Mollie Heintzelman Throughout the last century, newspapers played a pivotal role in defending press freedoms and shaping First Amendment jurisprudence. Think New York Times v. Sullivan or Miami Herald v. Tornillo. Cases such as these helped reinforce the rights news organizations now enjoy. But with technology changing the legal landscape and challenging the First […]

A Threat to Vermont Transparency

By Michael Donoghue The Vermont legislature is about to finalize how long government boards have to post drafts of meeting minutes on their websites. For about 40 years, the law has required that such drafts be available to the public within five calendar days. Last year, the legislature adopted without any objections the same standard for posting them on […]

Keeping it All Secret in Connecticut

By James H. Smith What is it now that we can’t find out in the land of the free, in this cradle of democracy we call Connecticut? Too much stays secret. Our collective memory of Ella Grasso is fading. In a state college classroom recently, not one student knew who she was. You may remember she […]

There’s No Judicial Recourse for ‘Crooked Hillary’ and ‘Lyin’ Ted’

By Robert A. Bertsche In the midst of a presidential campaign season that is notable for its uncivil discourse, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last month issued a ruling confirming what we already knew: that “crooked Hillary” and “lyin’ Ted” don’t have a legal claim against Donald Trump for name-calling.  No, Clinton and Cruz did not […]