Washington Markup

Selling Drugs and the First Amendment

Selling Drugs and the First Amendment

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:46pm
A few folks have asked me about the recent Second Circuit decision in United States v. Caronia, in which the court found that criminalizing the promotion of “off-label” pharmaceutical uses by a drug company sales representative violated the First Amendment. I cover a lot of commercial speech issues in the legislative context, so let me try to explain why I think the decision is probably right (“probably” being the operative term), and significant.
Blocked Leaks Bill More About Message Discipline Than National Security

Blocked Leaks Bill More About Message Discipline Than National Security

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:36pm

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) deserves significant credit for placing a hold today on a draft intelligence spending bill that would place enormous new obstacles in the path of journalists trying to report on government illegality, fraud and waste in the intelligence…

Get Ready for A Scintillating Discussion on the Finer Points of IP and Foreign Trade Policy

Get Ready for A Scintillating Discussion on the Finer Points of IP and Foreign Trade Policy

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:34pm

So, Wednesday, I’ll be participating in an “Ask Me Anything,” or AMA, discussion on Reddit.  It amazes me that folks are even interested, but the topic will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”). 

ACLU Backs Strong Speech Stance After “Muslims” Video Backlash

ACLU Backs Strong Speech Stance After “Muslims” Video Backlash

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:08pm

UPDATE: The State Department's response to the ACLU is posted here.

The ACLU sent a letter yesterday to the State Department thanking Secretary Clinton for the department’s unwavering defense of basic free speech principles in the backlash…

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:35pm

Last week, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report criticizing the Department of Homeland Security for its failure to ensure proper oversight over state and local “fusion centers.” …

A "Foreign Policy Exception" to the First Amendment?

A "Foreign Policy Exception" to the First Amendment?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:07pm

At a time when the anger abroad over the Innocence of Muslims video shows no signs of abating, President Obama gave an impassioned speech Tuesday at the United Nations that was a full-throated, unqualified defense of the American tradition of free…

Stolen Valor Vote in House Today

Stolen Valor Vote in House Today

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:22pm

The second coming of the “Stolen Valor” Act (the Supreme Court struck down the first iteration on First Amendment grounds last term) is on the House’s “suspension” calendar today, meaning it will pass with a two-thirds…

The Biggest Threat to Free Speech and Intellectual Property That You’ve Never Heard Of

The Biggest Threat to Free Speech and Intellectual Property That You’ve Never Heard Of

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:22pm

As we have seen in the failed attempts of SOPA/PIPA, and the floundering Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, intellectual property (“IP”) laws are often poorly constructed, hastily proposed and ultimately both ineffective and potentially…

Government’s “Anti-leak” Measures Attack Privacy and the Press

Government’s “Anti-leak” Measures Attack Privacy and the Press

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:16pm

Although the conflict between government classification rules and practices and the First Amendment rights necessary to promote a free and open society is nothing new, recent developments may indicate an alarming shift away from basic First Amendment…

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”…