Call for increased campus dialogue around free speech

The following guest column by Clinic director Clare R. Norins was published by  the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on October 4, 2022: In recent years, debates over safe spaces and cancel culture have put college campuses at the forefront of the polarizing and controversial national discussion around free speech. Last month, the Foundation for Individual Rights and…

First Amendment Clinic receives grant to support local journalism

The UGA First Amendment Clinic is honored to have been awarded a $375,000 grant from The Legal Clinic Fund for Local News to fund a Georgia Journalism & Access Project attorney. Starting in 2023, this position will allow the Clinic to expand its number, depth, and geographic scope of legal services to local media. This…

Clinic defeats motion to dismiss for photojournalist arrested during Summer 2020 protests

CASE UPDATE – On June 1, 2022, Judge Thomas W. Thrash (N.D. Ga.) denied Defendant City of Atlanta’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiff Sharif Hassan proceeds on First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, as well as a claim under Georgia’s Open Records Act. Decision Denying Motion to Dismiss Congratulations to Clinic students Ashley Waterfill (JD ’22)…

Successful negotiation of Juneteenth parade route in Dothan, Alabama

May 2022 – The First Amendment Clinic, in partnership with the ACLU of Alabama, successfully negotiated a permit for Tri-State Expo (TSE)’s 2022 annual Juneteenth Celebration parade in downtown Dothan, Alabama. Read letter to City of Dothan officials Established in 2017, TSE is a community-centered organization that promotes small independent businesses in Alabama, Georgia, and…

Clinic asks Georgia Supreme Court to affirm voters’ right to petition

Photo: Cumberland Island National Seashore In Camden County v. Sweatt, the First Amendment Clinic filed an amicus brief asking the Georgia Supreme Court to affirm Georgians’ constitutional petition-and-referendum power to veto legislative decisions by their county commissioners that go against the will of the people they were elected to represent. This is an issue of…

Clinic goes on the road to conduct 1A trainings

The First Amendment Clinic conducted a record number of trainings during the Spring 2022 semester. Photo: Ruthie Owen (2L) and Lindsey Floyd (fellow) April 2022 Georgia Scholastic Press Association Workshop Partnering with the Georgia Scholastic Press Association and The Red & Black student newspaper at UGA, we spoke on three separate occasions to groups of…

Clinic’s retaliatory prosecution case moves forward: no qualified immunity for sheriff’s officers

Rejecting the Camden County Sheriff Office’s qualified immunity defenses, federal district court Judge Lisa G. Wood ruled on March 11, 2022 that claims of First Amendment retaliation, malicious prosecution, and deliberate indifference in hiring may proceed through discovery. Read the Court’s decision. The case arises from a 2018 phone call that the Clinic’s client Mrs….

Norins and Peters moderate libel law panel for Bar Media & Judiciary Conference

DISINFORMATION AND POLARIZATION: IS LIBEL LAW A CAUSE AND/OR A CURE? On February 25, 2022, Clinic Director Clare Norins and UGA Professor Jonathan Peters moderated a panel discussion with Nora Benavidez (Free Press), Tom Clare (Clare Locke), and Lee Levine (retired from Ballard Spahr) about the benefits and challenges of using libel actions to combat…

Public access to the courts – first of its kind guide in Georgia

The First Amendment Clinic has collaborated with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation to create a first-of-its-kind guide to accessing state and federal court records and proceedings in Georgia. Referred to as the “Yellow Book,” the guide is organized by type of court and type of access. It uses a digestible question-and-answer format that allows readers…

Clinic defends independent journalist in #MeToo defamation case

  Krass v. Obstacle Racing Media, LLC, et al., 19-cv-05785 (N.D. Ga.) The First Amendment Clinic and pro bono counsel from BakerHostetler are fighting to protect the press freedoms of independent journalist Matthew Davis. Davis was sued in late 2019 for defamation after his news website Obstacle Racing Media, LLC (ORM) published a well-sourced article shining…