Tickets and Tirades

Two octogenarian residents of the Village of Melrose Park, Illinois, and their adult son say in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that the Chicago suburb’s mayor and other officials harassed and retaliated against them with tickets, surveillance and threats because of their lawn chairs, flags, political signs and decorations. The mayor called the son a “jag off,” a “piece of shit,” and a “hillbilly,” during a recorded public meeting and also used a racial slur during the tirade.

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Panel Hears Case of Citizen Journalist Charged for Publishing Names of Dead

A panel of Fifth Circuit judges heard arguments related to the First Amendment on Wednesday in the case of a popular citizen journalist in Texas who was arrested for putting the names of two deceased people on social media before they were made public by authorities.

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Judge’s Comments

The Fifth Circuit reassigned a professor’s cases, in which she alleges that Sam Houston State University retaliated against her for making discrimination complaints, to a different judge in the Southern District of Texas. The judge presiding over her cases in the federal district court made prejudicial comments, saying he would “crush” the professor’s counsel in response to their opposition to consolidating her two cases.

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Protected Speech

The Ninth Circuit ruled a lower court improperly denied an immigrant’s habeas petition, which argued that his arrest and re-detention was “retaliation for his protected speech.” The immigrant was re-arrested less than 36 hours after he read a poem that criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement practices. The government has the burden to show that it “would have taken the same action even in the absence of the protected conduct.”

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Covid Amplifies Appeal Over Speech Rights of Health Care Workers

A hospital worker who was fired for complaining to a newspaper about staffing practices got a sympathetic ear at the First Circuit Wednesday, in a case that has drawn national attention due to the large number of health care workers who have recently been terminated for speaking out about inadequate protection during the pandemic.

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