Volume 24, Number 1
The Silha Center Bulletin
Fall 2018: Volume 24, No. 1
Throughout 2018. Social network platform Facebook was the target of investigations and widespread criticism over allegations that it failed to adequately protect users’ data.
First Amendment: President Trump Continues Anti-Press Rhetoric and Actions
In fall 2018, President Donald Trump and his administration continued to use and promote anti-press rhetoric and actions.
Throughout 2018, several journalists in the United States and abroad faced murder, incarceration, and threats of violence.
In fall 2018, President Donald Trump prevailed in two First Amendment cases in federal court.
On Sept. 19, 2018, the First Amendment Coalition (FAC) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in an effort to force the disclosure of records related to the seizure of New York Times reporter Ali Watkins’ confidential telephone and email records by President Donald Trump’s administration.
Supreme Court News: Brett Kavanaugh Sworn in as the 114th U.S. Supreme Court Justice
On July 9, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court after Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement two weeks earlier.
The repeal of the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules on Dec. 14, 2017 continues to be fraught with legal challenges.
Leak Investigations: Investigations, Prosecutions, and Sentencing Continue in Government Leak Cases
In fall 2018, investigations and prosecutions related to leaks of secret government information and documents continued in different stages around the United States.
On Aug. 28, 2018, President Donald Trump posted a pair of tweets alleging that Google search results were biased against right-wing media outlets and individuals, prompting criticism from some observers.
On Sept. 20, 2018, multiple news outlets reported that following a press conference by Sheriff Don Gudmundson, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office (Stearns County) released a 41,787-page investigative file related to the 27-year investigation into the 1989 abduction and muder of Jacob Wetterling.
In the second half of 2018, a circuit court ruling and a federal lawsuit addressed First and Fourth Amendment concerns prompted by actions by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.
On Aug. 17, 2018, multiple news outlets reported that Judge Richard Seeborg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion by California officials seeking to dismiss a lawsuit challenging state protocols barring the public and the press from viewing portions of an inmate execution, including the preparation and injection of lethal drugs, as well as medical assistance provided to an inmate if an execution fails.
In summer and fall of 2018, several prominent individuals faced or filed defamation lawsuits.
On Aug. 31, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declined to rehear en banc what became known as the “Monkey Selfie” case, which arose after and Indonesian monkey named Naruto took a selfie of himself using photographer David John Slater’s camera in 2011.
In summer and fall 2018, two federal courts ruled on North Carolina’s and Wyoming’s “ag-gag” laws, which generally prohibited individuals or organizations from gaining access to areas restricted to the general public, among other provisions.
On Oct. 17, 2018, First Amendment attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., the global co-chair of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Litigation Group, discussed the interplay between the First Amendment and the #MeToo movement during the 33rd Annual Silha Lecture, “The First Amendment and #MeToo,” at the University of Minnesota’s Cowles Auditorium, with more than 250 people in attendance.