1. As a general rule, US courts are more likely to punish speech after the fact than to bar it with
2. In Branzburg v. Hayes, the Supreme Court held that journalists can invoke a constitutional
privilege to avoid identifying confidential sources.
3. Because the flag is a sacred national symbol, the Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson upheld
Gregory Lee Johnson’s conviction for desecration of a venerated object.
4. In Keyishian v. Board of Regents, the Supreme Court held that a state university could not,
consistent with the First Amendment, require professors to swear that they were not members of
the Communist Party.
5. Cases such as Elektra Records vs. Gem Electronic Distributors demonstrate that a business
could be responsible for copyright infringement committed by a third party.
6. Government documents that must be kept secret in the interest of foreign policy or national
security are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
7. Journalists have a constitutional right to access most government facilities and information.
8. The Supreme Court has generally held that streets, parks, and similar public places must be
open for purposes of communication but that these places may be regulated in a
nondiscriminatory manner to ensure public convenience and good order.
9. The US government is able to charge Julian Assange because they do not classify him as a
journalist or Wikileaks as a legitimate news source.
10. In Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, the Supreme Court upheld a “gag order,” imposed
by a state judge, that prohibited the publication of any facts about a notorious murder.
1. In New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court Held:
a. The government had justified the imposition of a prior restraint against the further
publication of the “Pentagon Papers.”
b. The “Pentagon Papers” were illegally obtained and hence the New York Times could
never legally publish them.
c. The Freedom of Information Act does not extend to classified government documents.
d. The “Pentagon Papers” could not be published because the author had signed a binding
secrecy agreement with the government.
e. The government had not satisfied the presumption against prior restraint.
2. Near v. Minnesota was an important decision because:
a. It permitted prior restraint to protect local politicians accused of scandal
b. It established prior restraint as only permissible in exceptional circumstances such as
national security, public decency, or to prevent a breach of the peace.
c. It permitted prior restraint of specific articles connecting local politicians to scandal but
prohibited blocking the publication of a newspaper in its entirety.
d. It permitted government censorship of news articles connecting local politicians to
scandal but prohibited banning those news stories entirely.
e. It permitted prior restraint for news stories connecting private citizens to scandal.
3. Which of the following best summarizes the Supreme Court’s decision in Richmond
Newspapers v. Virginia?
a. The Constitution does not guarantee access to a criminal trial to the public; its guarantee
is personal to the accused.
b. Restrictive orders on the press must be supported with evidence to show that they are
essential to a fair trial.
c. Pervasive prejudicial publicity can constitute grounds for awarding a criminal defendant a
d. Courtrooms are presumed open to the public and press unless the judge presents
compelling evidence proving closure is essential to justice.
e. A newspaper reporter can refuse to appear before a grand jury if they are investigating
and have published about the individual being investigated.
4. Which of the following best summarizes the Supreme Court’s decision in Hague v. Congress
of Industrial Organizations (CIO)?
a. A public protest outside a school building is incompatible with the educational mission of
b. The Constitution requires that streets, parks, and similar public places be open for
communicating thought between citizens and for discussing public questions.
c. The state has a legitimate interest in maintaining clean streets and, therefore, can
restrict distribution of flyers and handbills.
d. Forbidding public speaking in a public park is akin to the owner of a home forbidding it in
e. Parade permits are unconstitutional if they restrict time, place, and manner of
5. In Perry Education Association v. Perry Local Educators Association, the Supreme Court held
that teachers’ mailboxes at a public high school were:
a. A limited-purpose public forum
b. A non-public forum.
c. A quintessential public forum.
d. An open forum.
e. None of the above.
6. Which of the following statements best describes the Tinker standard for regulating student
a. School officials can exercise control over the style and content of student speech in
school-sponsored activities as long as their actions are related to legitimate pedagogical
b. School officials can prohibit the use of vulgar and offensive terms in public discourse.
c. School officials can regulate student speech in any forum that is school-sponsored
d. School officials can regulate student speech if they believe the student expression would
lead to substantial disruption of the school environment.
e. School officials can suppress any student speech advocating illegal or immoral activity.
7. Which of the following forms of intellectual property is not eligible for copyright protection?
a. Choreographic works
b. Dramatic works
c. Literary works
d. Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
e. Short phrases and slogans.
8. Which of the following factors is the most important in a fair use consideration?
a. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
b. The nature of the copyrighted work
c. The purpose and character of the use
d. The date the work was originally published
e. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the work as a whole
9. In Branzburg v. Hayes, the Supreme Court ruled:
a. The Constitution imposes an affirmative duty on government to make information
available to journalists.
b. The First Amendment does not guarantee the press a constitutional right of special
access to information not generally available to the public.
c. Congress does not have the power to ensure journalists have access to private
d. The First Amendment guarantees the press a limited constitutional right of special
access to information generally unavailable to the public.
e. The First Amendment guarantees the press a constitutional right of special access to
information generally unavailable to the public.
10. Net neutrality refers to:
a. The idea that all websites should present neutral views
b. The idea that Internet users should be able access any website they want
c. The idea that Internet providers should be able to charge extra for users that access
websites that require significant amounts of data transfer, like streaming services.
d. The idea that Internet providers should be able to “throttle” data when users exceed
certain data caps on their home Internet service.
e. The idea that Internet service providers must treat all Internet usage equally and not
charge users different rates based on content, data usage, website, or other arbitrary
In this section, you are to read each scenario and then write a brief argument (1-2
paragraphs maximum) defending one side of the scenario. You will need to analyze that
situation and assess the probable outcome. You will need to use the legal principles
related to the scenario to justify your assessment. I strongly urge you to cite the most
relevant Supreme Court case to defend. Your answer.
You will be evaluated on the comprehensiveness of your answers as well as the
correctness. Novel arguments are always possible but you are on the strongest footing
by relying on existing case law.
Answer EACH of the scenarios listed below:
Rowan Ruderson has a bad habit of wearing profanity on his shirts, blasting music with vulgar
lyrics when driving around town, and flipping off virtually everyone he sees. He also loves to
smoke marijuana, leading many to think he is always “high.” One day, after particularly gnarly
session of skateboarding on a 22 foot half pipe in which he pulled off several 360’s while
flashing the “bird” at his buddies, Rowan popped over to the local Stop ‘N Go for some
refreshment. After purchasing a 64 oz bottle of Mountain Blue Gatorade, he saw one of his
teachers, Mr. Paul Pruderson pull into the parking lot in his 1998 Champagne Grey Prius.
Laughing at the ugly car, Rowan waited until Mr. Pruderson got out of his car before dropping a
string of non-funny jokes that involved multiple “f-bombs” as well as other forms of vulgarity. Mr.
Pruderson, who was definitely not amused, replied, “Mr. Ruderson, so glad to see high school
has increased your vocabulary. Good day.” Rowan, now peeved that his trashy jokes had fallen
flat, flipped his teacher off and replied, “Well, F-you too very much, Mr. Ruderson. And F your
dumbass trash mobile too, you flesh eating zombie of a man!”
Mr. Pruderson was so offended by this exchange that he immediately called the school principal.
After brief deliberations, they decided to suspend Rowan from school for one week so that he
could “ponder his choice of words and gestures.” Rowan sued, claiming his First Amendment
rights had been violated. As the judge, who do you rule for and why?
Terry Travelalot decided to write a book detailing her strategy for avoiding disgusting food items
like mayonnaise when traveling abroad. As a frequent traveler in Europe, South America, and
Southeast Asia, she secured a book contract and embarked on her quest to help Americans
travel without risk of expanding their narrow, limited, and underwhelming palate. Snapping high
definition photos of the most generic street food and Americanized options across all three
regions, she completed the project and launched the book. Two months later, Dave Derivative
published a similar book that mimicked the layout and format of Terry’s book and also offered
strategies for tongue sensitive travelers who prefer travel they see on Instagram rather than real
life. Terry, realizing that Dave’s book might cut into her profits, sues, claiming that Dave had
violated her copyrights to the idea and angle of her book.
As the judge, you have to sort out this mess. Who do you rule for and why? Be sure to
reference at least TWO Supreme Court decisions.
To answer this question, you should rely on the discussion we held in class about this
issue. I expect the best answers will be between 1-2 paragraphs and will discuss the case
law as well as the nature of the actual law passed by Florida.
Question: The state of Florida recently passed a “don’t say gay” bill that prohibits public
elementary school teachers from discussing “gender” in grades K-3 and potentially more if the
state deems the topic too “mature” for students. Does this law violate the free speech rights of
teachers and students? Defend your answer with reference to at least ONE Supreme Court
For this section, you must answer each section below about the case Tinker v. Des
Moines Independent School District (1969).
Title and Citation: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969)
Background: Provide a BRIEF backstory to the case:
Facts: Provide the basic facts of the case:
Issue(s): Identify the key legal questions or issues discussed by the Court:
Holding: For whom did the Court decide?
Opinion/Reasoning: Explain the Court’s justification for the decision:
Your Opinion: Do you agree with this decision? Why or why not?