Black history museum sued for blocking free speech
The American Freedom Law Center, a non-profit law firm whose advisory board includes former CIA director James Woolsey and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, filed a federal lawsuit that accuses the National Museum of African American History of blocking the free speech rights of anti-abortion protestors. The suit claims that guards prevented the distribution of literature on a public sidewalk in front of the museum, and moved them across the street where tourist buses blocked museum visitors from seeing them.
Trump case jeopardizes political speech
The Center for Competitive Politics, in a friend-of-the-court brief, said remarks made when Donald Trump was a candidate would invite a First Amendment disaster if applied to determining the validity of a Trump-signed executive order. CCP reminded that the Supreme Court has consistently given the highest degree of protection to political speech, and claimed that removing protection for campaign speech would make future candidates reticent to talk freely. CCP cited the high court’s 1976 New York Times Co. v. Sullivan holding that “in spite of the probability of excesses and abuses, these (First Amendment) liberties are, in the long view, essential to enlightened opinion and right conduct on the part of the citizens of a democracy.”
Missouri sued for sabotaging voter ID law
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to block a new voter ID law from taking effect when absentee balloting begins today (June 12) in Missouri. The suit argues that the state sabotaged its law by failing to make promised funds available for voter education, free voter IDs and birth certificates, and poll worker training. “It is beyond unacceptable that Missouri has launched a photo ID requirement while not even being prepared, trained, or properly funded for it,” said Denise Lieberman of the Advancement Project.
High school prayer blocked by First Amendment
A federal judge upheld a Florida High School Athletic Association decision to deny use of a stadium loudspeaker to amplify a Christian prayer prior to a football game. Tampa-based Cambridge Christian School claimed the state association’s action violated the school’s First Amendment speech rights, but U.S. District Judge Charlene Honeywell ruled that denying use of the loudspeaker complied with the First Amendment’s “establishment of religion” clause, the Freedom From Religion Foundation said.
Gangster who couldn’t shoot straight gets 10 years
Julio Cartagena Jr., 22, of East Chicago, Ind., was given a 10-year prison sentence for firing shots that struck the finger of a rival gang member and accidentally penetrated the house of a Hammond police officer, the Department of Justice said. The shooting incident began when Cartagena’s stepbrother called for help because the rival gang wouldn’t let him attend a party.
Boeing beats subsidy complaint at trade court
The World Trade Organization rejected 28 of 29 claims lodged against Chicago-based airplane manufacturer Boeing Co. by the European Union, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. The lone surviving claim related to Boeing’s use of a research and development tax credit to reduce the company’s federal tax liabilities and its ancillary creation of an unfair trade advantage. The EU complaint retaliated against a 2004 U.S. complaint that led to last September’s WTO ruling that French airplane manufacturer Airbus received $22 billion worth of subsidies dating back to 1968. Relatedly, the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that Boeing was harmed by imports of large-size aircraft from Canada. The case goes to the Department of Commerce to impose antidumping and countervailing duties.
Local cops indicted for assault, obstructing justice
Four members of the Boynton Beach, Fla., police department were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they assaulted a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation, and filing a false report about the incident, the Department of Justice said. Three officers—Michael Brown, Justin Harris and Ronald Ryan Jr.—are accused of beating and using a Taser to electroshock the passenger; and a fourth officer, Justin Harris, is accused of filing a false report that didn’t mention he struck the passenger when he was lying on the ground and restrained by handcuffs.
Las Vegas strip club owner faces tax evasion charges
Frederick Rizzolo, 58, of Las Vegas, Nev., the former owner of the Crazy Horse Too strip club, faces up to two years in prison and a $2.6 million restitution order after pleading guilty to evading payment of more than $1.7 million in employment taxes, the Department of Justice said. Rizzolo was accused of failing to keep records for cash payments made to employees, and the filing of false tax returns with the IRS. Rizzolo admitted guilt to the charges 10 years ago, but concealed his assets from the IRS by selling the strip club and directing the $900,000 payment to an account in the Cook Islands.
273 Americans died on an average day in 2015
On an average day in 2015, 273 Americans died in automobile accidents, suicides and homicides, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. It worked out to 103 motor vehicle deaths per day (37,595 per year), 121 suicides per day (44,165 per year) and 49 homicides per day (17,885 per year). CDC said the highest number of suicides occurred on Mondays and Tuesdays and the lowest on Saturdays; and, homicides peaked on Saturdays and Sundays.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Friday, June 9