Clinic advocates for repeal of Augusta panhandling ordinance

In July 2021 the Clinic, in partnership with the National Homelessness Law Center, wrote to Augusta-Richmond County officials urging them to reject a proposed expansion of the County’s panhandling ordinance and to repeal the existing ordinance due to its unconstitutional targeting of protected speech. By prohibiting “begging,” the ordinance targets only a particular subject matter…

Norins comments on student free speech post-Mahanoy

The following guest column by Clinic director Clare R. Norins was published in  the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 28, 2021: On June 23, 2021, the Supreme Court issued an 8-to-1 decision in Mahanoy v. B.L., ruling for the first time on whether public schools can constitutionally regulate off-campus student speech. The court held that Pennsylvania…

Brechner Center highlights Clinic’s analysis of state agency “gag policies”

A June 2021 Report by the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information highlighted the Clinic’s analysis finding that more than 20 Georgia state agencies have formal policies that restrain their employees’ speech in constitutionally questionable ways. Twelve agencies categorically forbid anyone but a public-relations spokesperson from speaking to news media and nine…

Norins presents on “Police & the Press: News Coverage of Protests”

On May 6, 2021, the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, in partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists, Georgia Chapter and the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, hosted a virtual panel discussion on Police & the Press: News Coverage of Protests (video). The panel featured Clinic director Clare R. Norins who spoke about the take-aways from journalists…

Clinic receives national CLEA award for excellence

Photo: First Amendment Clinic director Clare R. Norins and law fellow Samantha Hamilton (right) with Community HeLP Clinic staff attorney Kristen Shepherd and director Jason A. Cade (left) UGA Law School’s First Amendment Clinic, along with UGA’s Community HeLP Clinic and four other clinics from Harvard, Columbia, Texas A&M, and Boston University, were chosen as…

Clinic urges Georgia Supreme Court to correctly apply the state’s anti-SLAPP statute

On April 29, 2021, the First Amendment Clinic filed an amicus brief in the matter of ACLU v. Zeh urging the Georgia Supreme Court to correct a ruling by the state Court of Appeals that weakens free speech protections under Georgia’s anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“anti-SLAPP”) statute. ACLU v. Zeh Amicus Brief 4.29.21 Georgia’s…

Clinic’s “Rap on Trial” team presents to public defenders

Spring 2021 – The Clinic’s “Rap on Trial” team presented to the Hall County Public Defenders on arguments for challenging the admission of rap lyrics and music videos as evidence in criminal prosecutions. Delivered by students Janay Alexander (3L) and Navroz Tharani (2L) under the supervision of Clinic Fellow Samantha C. Hamilton, the presentation featured…

Clinic authors legal scholars’ amicus brief challenging overly broad N.C. Property Protection Act

On March 1, 2021, the First Amendment Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of 18 legal scholars challenging North Carolina’s Property Protection Act, which the brief noted “prohibits vast swaths of protected speech based on information obtained from the nonpublic premises of a property owner.” Filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the…

Clinic co-counsels in class action filed on behalf of immigrant women retaliated against for speaking out

MAY 2021 UPDATE & Press Statement: The Biden administration announced it will sever ties with the Irwin County Detention Center and no longer use it as an ICE detention facility. JANUARY 2021 UPDATE: A month after filing the lawsuit below, all named plaintiffs who were still in ICE custody have been released from the Irwin…

Clinic achieves amicus victory in Open Records Act appeal

The Clinic achieved an amicus victory in Love v. Atlanta Falcons Stadium Co., LLC where the defendant company voluntarily handed over 1,500 pages of documents sought by the plaintiffs under Georgia’s Open Records Act (ORA) rather than wait for the Georgia Court of Appeals to likely order the documents to be produced. The Clinic’s brief…