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Lucille C. Thomas2007 recipient - Past President, Brooklyn Public Library
Judith F. Krug1995 recipient (deceased) - FTRF Executive Director from 1969 founding to 2009

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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issues decision in lawsuit challenging Arizona’s Ethnic Studies ban

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 22, 2015

CHICAGO — On July 7, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in inArce v. Douglas (formerly Arce v. Huppenthal), a lawsuit filed by students in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD).  The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Arizona Revised Statute § 15-112, which prohibits the use of class materials or books that encourage the overthrow of the government, "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," are "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group" and "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Read more HERE

Tags:  Arizona  Court of Appeals  ethnic studies 

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Come to the FTRF annual member reception next month in SF!

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gretchen LeCheminantNext month immediately following the FTRF Board of Trustees meeting in San Francisco, please join the trustees, your fellow members, and the winners of the 2015 Conable Conference Scholarships at the annual FTRF Membership Reception.

Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amy Steinbauer

Location: Moscone Convention Center, 747 Howard St., San Francisco
Outside room 131 N

Time: 4:30-6:30 p.m.

This year's Conable scholars are Amy Steinbauer and Gretchen LeCheminant. Amy (@merbrarian) is a librarian in California while Gretchen (@gretchenalice) is a student at the University of Texas School of Information.

In addition to shmoozing, we'll have appetizers and you'll get a chance to learn more about FTRF's activities.

You can RSVP for the reception on Facebook or just show up! Bring your friends who aren't yet members, and we'll be happy to do the recruiting for you.

Tags:  ALA Annual Conference  Conable Scholarship  member reception  San Francisco  special events 

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Authors Levithan, Mackler & Smith highlight FTRF45 event in NYC

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, May 14, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jeff SmithFTRF is excited to announce that authors David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy, Another Day), Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things) and Jeff Smith (Bone) be appearing at the FTRF45 New York City event on Friday, May 29, in conjunction with BookExpo America. All three have had books subject to significant censorship challenges, and all three are passionate advocates for the freedom to read.

The authors will be signing copies of their books, which will be available on site.

Carolyn MacklerThe event will be held from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the headquarters of Scholastic, 557 Broadway in Manhattan, in their beautiful Greenhouse. Our thanks to Scholastic, as well as co-sponsors New York Public Library and Elsevier, for their support of this event. David Levithan

Tickets for this event are $25 and are on sale now at www.ftrf.org/event/FTRF45_NYC. We hope to see you there! 

Tags:  Carolyn Mackler  David Levithan  FTRF45  Jeff Smith  New York  Scholastic  special events 

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Neal, Bloom win 2015 FTRF Roll of Honor Awards

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Congratulations to FTRF Treasurer Jim Neal and First Amendment attorney Jonathan Bloom on their selection as recipients of the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Awards. The awards will be presented next month at the Opening General Session of the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Click here to read the press release about the awards.

Neal, who recently retired from his position as University Librarian at Columbia University, has been instrumental in building FTRF's membership and fundraising capacity, and has been a strong public voice for the litigation and advocacy work of the Foundation.  Bloom, an attorney at Weil, Gotshal in New York, has been responsible for some of FTRF's key amicus briefs in recent years and, as counsel for the Association of American Publishers Freedom to Read Committee, has built an impressive reputation as a champion of the First Amendment.

The Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor was established in 1987 to recognize and honor those individuals who have contributed substantially through adherence to its principles and/or substantial monetary support.  

Tags:  2015 ALA Annual Conference  James G. Neal  Jonathan Bloom  Roll of Honor Award 

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Federal judge rules Pennsylvania prior restraint law unconstitutional

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, April 30, 2015

On Tuesday, April 28, a federal judge in Pennsylvania struck down the state's "Revictimization Relief Act," agreeing with plaintiffs that it violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution.

The law at issue was passed in October 2014, and permitted crime victims to sue convicted offenders to stop "conduct" - including speech - that cause "mental anguish" to the victims. The law was not limited to prisoners - even those completely out of the justice system could be subject to its restrictions. Much of the press surrounding Tuesday's decision focused on controversial prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, whose commencement address at Goddard College last year took place three days before the bill was introduced and was referenced by then-Governor Tom Corbett when he signed the bill into law.

The case is ​Prison Legal News v. Kane.  (Edited to add: the ruling covered another case as well, ​Mumia Abu Jamal v. Kane​.)

In his decision, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Christopher Conner wrote, “A past criminal offense does not extinguish the offender’s constitutional right to free expression.” Judge Conner dismissed the state’s argument that the law was a mere regulation of conduct with an incidental impact on speech, and noted that even if that had been the case, the law would still be flawed:

Assuming arguendo that the Act or its history revealed a principal intention to regulate behavior and only an incidental regulation of speech, the court‟s holding would remain unaltered. The Supreme Court has held that when a law “generally functions as a regulation of conduct” it is nonetheless subject to strict scrutiny when “as applied to plaintiffs[,] the conduct triggering coverage under the statute consists of communicating a message.” Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U.S. 1, 27-28 (2012). 

As reported in the March edition of FTRF News, the Freedom to Read Foundation filed an amicus brief in the case in February, arguing that allowing judges to issue injunctions in accordance with the law constitutes prior restraint "on a limitless range of speech, including matters of public interest, such as deterring crime, rehabilitation of prisoners, prison conditions, and fundamental issues of justice."

You can find the judge's decision here. For more on the ruling, visit Volokh Conspiracy and Philadelphia City Paper (one of the plaintiffs).

The bill's sponsor has indicated he will ask about an appeal and, if the Attorney General declines, will introduce new legislation.

Tags:  ACLU  litigation  Prison Legal News v. Kane  Revictimization Relief Act 

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