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The morning of Monday, October 2, 2017, Windfern High School Principal Martha Strother witnessed senior student India Landry sitting during the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance over the school's intercom. Landry had allegedly been sitting through the pledge since her freshman year, "around 200 times in class through six or more teachers without incident." But Principal Strother's response on this occasion was curt and definitive: "Well you're kicked outta here."

Landry was expelled from Windfern High, told she would only be allowed to return if she "was going to stand for the pledge like the other African-American [sic] in her class," and finally readmitted after negative coverage of the expulsion from local news. All of which, and Landry's mother's lawsuit against the school district, begs the question: can public schools discipline students for peaceful protests?

In America, we pride ourselves on our freedom of speech, and readily point to how much we support the First Amendment, even when it protects speech we don't like, like racist, sexist, or fascist ideas.

But the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are American creations, and their protections don't follow us as we travel. And Europe isn't so welcoming to hate speech. Therefore the First Amendment may not apply to our social media speech, if that speech is appearing on platforms in the European Union.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services, claiming the agency allows state-contracted and taxpayer-funded child placement agencies to use religious objections as a way to discriminate against qualified families based on their sexual orientation. The suit was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied the opportunity to adopt or foster children because of agencies' religious objections, as well as one woman who was in Michigan's foster care system as a teenager.

All are objecting to Michigan allocating taxpayer funds to adoption and foster services that discriminate against qualified parents and homes.

Over the course of three tweets last month, President Donald Trump expressed his intent to ban transgender people from serving in the military. The White House made that intent official on Friday, issuing a Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security "prohibit[ing] openly transgender individuals from accession into the United States military and authoriz[ing] the discharge of such individuals.

And it didn't take long for the lawsuits to follow. Both the ACLU and Lambda Legal have sued Donald Trump and his Secretary of Defense James Mattis, claiming the ban is unconstitutional and "compromises the safety and security of our country."

According to an internal Justice Department document obtained by the New York Times, the DOJ is looking for lawyers interested in working for a new project on "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions." The Times also reports that the project will likely be run by the Trump administration's political appointees in the DOJ's front office, rather than career civil servants in the Educational Opportunities Section, and will examine and possibly sue schools over admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.

The move is unlikely to alter race-based college or university admissions policies, which the Supreme Court confirmed were constitutional last year.

Under federal and most state civil rights laws, protected classes can extend beyond the protected class to those individuals who are associated with the individuals in those classes. The association can be clear and obvious, such as between spouses, or family members, but can even be applied to friends, co-workers, and attorneys.

For instance, when a person in a wheelchair and a companion are denied access to a restaurant because the restaurant does not have a wheelchair accessible entry, both will have valid discrimination claims against the business under the ADA. Clearly the wheelchair user suffered the adverse effects of the discrimination directly, but their companion also was independently harmed by the discrimination as well, as they were denied the ability to enter the business with their companion. 

When you have to go, the last thing you want to hear is "no." Depending on the circumstances, it's possible you could have a legal claim for discrimination. 

For one South Carolina man in need of relief, 5 different gas stations and convenience stores allegedly denied him access to their restrooms, despite the man being a paying customer. Adding insult to injury, Daniel Woodward, the man denied bathroom access, believes the denial was on account of him being an African American.

After an investigation by his attorneys reportedly confirmed discriminatory bathroom policies, Mr. Woodward filed a lawsuit to fight back. He is seeking $5 million from the El Cheapo, Pops, and City gas stations, as well as the Obama Convenience Store and the Cheapway (presumably another store).

What Is HIV Discrimination?

Individuals who have HIV or AIDS will generally be protected under the law from discrimination. However, recognizing HIV or AIDS discrimination may be difficult.

Individuals with HIV or AIDS can face discrimination in nearly every facet of life. Sadly, even children have been shunned by schools, daycares, after school programs, and their peers and other parents. Adults can suffer discrimination at work, in businesses, at hospitals, and also among their peers and colleagues. A recent case was settled where an Iraqi war veteran was denied aquatic physical therapy due to a policy prohibiting HIV positive individuals in the pool.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice appealed the Fourth Circuit's injunction against President Trump's Executive Order on immigration to the Supreme Court, asking the Court to reinstate the travel ban on immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries. And the president himself has of course taken his thoughts on the case to Twitter.

So what will be the government's argument in defending the travel ban? What can the Supreme Court do? And did Trump just sabotage the appeal before it even got started?

The First Amendment ensures that the government cannot pass any laws preventing the dissemination of news. However, reporters, journalists, and other members of the press corps, are not considered any differently than regular citizens despite the freedom of the press. This means that when a reporter is assaulted while trying to get the scoop, the perpetrators are not going to be charged with a hate crime.

Regardless of the criminal charges an attacker could face for assaulting a reporter, there are several civil actions, including potential civil rights claims, a reporter, or even just a blogger, can pursue against an attacker. When pursuing a civil action, however, the First Amendment can play a significant role, depending on the attackers identity.