First Amendment

Immigration and Border Patrol issues took center stage at the U.S. Supreme Court in two cases on Tuesday.

A sharply divided court first ruled that the parents of a Mexican boy fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent cannot sue the officer who killed their son. Then, the court heard arguments in a free-speech case that will determine whether people who encourage illegal immigrants to remain in the country can be prosecuted.

Border Patrol shooting

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday defended students who feel they can't pray in their schools — and warned school administrators they risk losing federal funds if they violate their students' rights to religious expression.

Trump held an event in the Oval Office with a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim students and teachers to commemorate National Religious Freedom Day. The students and teachers said they have been discriminated against for practicing their religion at school.

Guns: when and how to regulate them. It's one of the biggest issues across the country. But the U.S. Supreme Court has rarely weighed in on the issue. In modern times, it has ruled decisively just twice. Now it's on the brink of doing so again.

With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, there now are five conservative justices who may be willing to shut down many attempts at regulation, just as the NRA's lock on state legislatures may be waning.

Dave Chappelle grew up near Washington, D.C. So when he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday night at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, it was a family affair.

Chappelle's wife and kids were there. A selection of his favorite musicians — people like Yasiin Bey, Common, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, Frederic Yonnet and John Legend — performed throughout the evening. And his fellow comedians talked about him like he was kin.

For years, American smokers have been spared the unpleasant images of gangrene infected feet, swollen tongues overtaken by cancerous tumors and blackened lungs that are often plastered onto packs of cigarettes sold around the world. But that momentary reprieve before lighting up may only last a few more years.

A feeling of déjà vu washed over me as I sat in the courtroom for Jim Acosta's legal fight over his White House press pass this week. I, too, once got shut down on my beat, though not by a president. I was saved not by a lawsuit but by a Republican lawyer — indeed, one of the lawyers now representing CNN in the Acosta case.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

A yearlong battle over a house that was painted to look like Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night, ended on Tuesday with an apology and an agreement to drop thousands in fees against the homeowners.

Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski had been embroiled in a legal feud with the city of Mount Dora, Fla., to keep their interpretation of the masterpiece on their home and the wall surrounding it, after the city fined them.

The National Park Service has approved an initial request for organizers to hold a second "Unite the Right" rally, this time across the street from the White House in August — one year after white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Va.

Bob Jagendorf / Wikimedia

A Florida-based publisher of a magazine written by inmates lost a federal appeal of a freedom of speech case against the Florida Department of Corrections, which has barred the magazine from state correctional facilities.

Prison Legal News, based in Lake Worth, is distributed and read in state prisons in all 49 other states, leaving its home state as the only exception. The original case against the state was filed in 2004, and has since wound its way through the courts.

Some Florida lawmakers received better grades this year when it came to transparency in government, but erosion of the state's famed "Sunshine Laws" continued with more exemptions passed.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

It's not that uncommon to hear someone complaining that politicians are corrupt. But you wouldn't expect to be thrown in jail for it.

That's exactly what happened to Fane Lozman at a City Council meeting in Florida.

On Tuesday, that arrest got to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it could have implications not just for Lozman but for the limits of First Amendment protections of freedom of speech.

A video of Lozman's arrest can be viewed here:

Broward Health Medical Center building
Broward Health Medical Center / WLRN

Top officials on the Broward Health System’s board have been indicted on counts of violating Florida’s open government law. 

 

Florida’s Sunshine Law, a series of laws put in place to guarantee the public's access to governmental records,  includes an open meetings rule: Public boards have to conduct their business in public and notify people before they do. 

Courtesy of Adam Cohen

During the 2012-2013 school year, some high school students in Broward County started looking into public access to public meetings as part of a class project — “Democracy in Action” — that almost became state law. 

Creative Commons

Florida allows some of the easiest access to government records and meetings of any state in the country under the state's Sunshine Laws. 

People have a right to access state documents like minutes from meetings between government officials, foster care case files and environmental studies. Government meetings for the most part are open to the public for anyone to attend.

Miami Herald

Every 20 years, a 37-person commission comes up with a list of amendments to the Florida Constitution.

The next cohort of the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) met on Monday for the first time,  in the Florida Senate chambers in Tallahassee.

The group will have a year to travel around the state and figure out what kinds of changes need to be made to the constitution. It already scheduled visits to Orange, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

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