In the News

Rap as a medium of speech is back in front of the Supreme Court for the second consecutive term.  This time the Supreme Court will look at rap as a part of off-campus student speech, and whether defamatory statements made in the rap are constitutionally protected speech.  Huffington Post

Twitter is warning individual users that it believes their accounts may have been hacked by a government agency.  Even messages a 140 characters in length may have enough value to warrant possible unconstitutional searches.  Telegraph

An Asian-American band called “The Slants” is allowed to trademark its name because it qualifies as protected private free speech.  The Court ruled the Lanham Act’s provision giving the government the power to deny a trademark application if it “disparages” persons, institutions or symbols is invalid as amounting to viewpoint discrimination.  NPR

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is determining if the FBI can be held liable for indiscriminately targeting Muslims for surveillance through secretly videotaping and audio recordings.  LA Times

Seattle’s “Gun Violence Tax” at least for now is constitutional, according to a Washington state trial court.  The tax of $25 per gun and 2-5 cents per ammunition sold will be used for programs to prevent gun violence.  Seattle Times

In the News

Here is some of the news that may have constitutional implications:

Presidential hopeful and current U.S. Senator Rand Paul says that shutting down part of the internet, even parts of the internet that help or facilitate terrorism, would be unconstitutional and violate the First Amendment. CNN

At least a dozen states have laws which permit them to criminally prosecute motorists for refusing to submit to an invasive test for alcohol levels without a warrant.  In other words, can a state try to prosecute an individual who refuses to submit to a breathalyzer without the police obtaining a warrant? This could possibly be a Fourth Amendment violation.  LA Times

The United States government is urging the Supreme Court to decline to hear a case where Nebraska and Oklahoma want to end Colorado’s decriminalization of marijuana because it is essentially a state issue.  The federal government urges that the law breakers are in Nebraska and Oklahoma and there is not any indication the state of Colorado urges or endorses the transportation of marijuana across state lines.  USA Today

Critics are again questioning whether the United States Supreme Court can effectively police its own potential ethics violations.  It is alleged Supreme Court Justices have financial investments in companies who appear before the Court.  It is also alleged that family members of the justices may work in industries that appear before the Court.  Can the public trust the court to police itself? Forbes

Football coaches are being scrutinized for on the field praying.  Some school officials and parents argue when the coaches pray on the field before or after a game it can pressure the student athletes to follow suit.  Others say it is a protected religious activity under the First Amendment.  CBS News