Blog of Rights

Gabe
Rottman

Gabe Rottman is a legislative counsel/policy advisor in the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office, focusing on the First Amendment. In that role, Rottman advocates in Congress and the federal agencies for the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petition, including issues related to intellectual property, telecommunications regulation, media law, criminal speech restrictions and the rights of protesters.  Prior to this position, he served as an attorney in private practice and as a senior writer and communications specialist for the ACLU.

English as a First Language

English as a First Language

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:40pm
Sigh. As if we don’t have enough divisiveness in this country, a familiar subset of Congressional Republicans are trotting out yet another discriminatory bill papered over with hollow rhetoric about “unity,” “commonality” and shared national vision, which will be the subject of a hearing in the House Constitution Subcommittee today. (Here’s the ACLU’s statement, which focuses mainly on the civil rights and immigration issues in the bill; I’m just covering the First Amendment in this post.)
Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:46pm

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a revamped version of the so-called Stolen Valor Act. The revamp responded to a Supreme Court decision that declared an earlier version of the legislation—which made it a crime to falsely claim to have a…

“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:29pm

“Lying was his habit.”

That’s the first line from Justice Kennedy’s plurality opinion in United States v. Alvarez, last month’s Supreme Court decision striking down the “Stolen Valor Act,” which made…

Do Androids Dream of Electric Speech?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Speech?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:23am

Professor Tim Wu at Columbia had an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday arguing against First Amendment protections for “automated” speech. Here’s the argument distilled:

As a matter of legal logic, there is some similarity…

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:21pm

As the election summer heats up, Republicans in Congress are making hay with what they claim are selective leaks by the Obama administration, designed to bolster the president’s national security cred. At a Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday,…

New Government “Propaganda” Bill a Positive Step for First Amendment

New Government “Propaganda” Bill a Positive Step for First Amendment

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:58am
Throughout the country, many of us have rightly been long concerned about the danger of the government using taxpayer funds to covertly influence public opinion.  This issue came up again recently as part of this year’s defense authorization bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Friday.  Reps.

DOJ Defends Your Right to Record

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:24pm

We haven’t pulled punches in our criticism of the Holder Justice Department, so it’s especially important that we give credit where credit is due. In support of an important case brought by the ACLU of Maryland defending the right to record, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division forcefully and unequivocally endorsed our view in an unusual (but welcome!) 11-page letter to the Baltimore Police Department.

Buddhists, “True Threats” and Twitter

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:55pm

One of the very few pleasant things about being an attorney is that even some of the most boring cases have wacky backstories. This post is about one of the wackiest--though the issues raised illustrate certain constitutional concerns with a very short…

Protesting NATO: What to Know About the Secret Service and H.R. 347

Protesting NATO: What to Know About the Secret Service and H.R. 347

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:58pm

Know before you go: what the newly passed H.R. 347 means for NATO protestors' rights.

Police and Photography: Can’t Stop the Signal

Police and Photography: Can’t Stop the Signal

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:05pm

There’s been an uptick in protest activity this month around the country–May Day saw a resurgence in the Occupy movement, and further protests are expected around the NATO summit in Chicago, set for May 20th. It’s a safe bet that…

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