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What Is Prior Restraint?

If Michael Wolff'sTrump tell-all book, Fire and Fury, reminds you of Shakespeare, it's probably the bard's take on life from Macbeth: "it is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing." The same might be true of the bluster around the book, with Trump's lawyers (as usual) sending a threatening cease and desist letter, and publishers responding in kind.

Trump clearly didn't want the book to be published (or maybe he has a stake in the book and is boosting sales by tweeting about it), but does the president or the courts have the power to ban a book before it comes out?

Over the past six months, the U.S government has been split on transgender military service, with the president tweeting a ban, transgender service members suing over the tweets, the Secretary of Defense defying the president's order, and ultimately a federal court blocking the order.

All that political and legal back-and-forth looks to be over -- starting January 1 of this year, transgender people are now allowed to enlist in the military. And, according to the Department of Justice, the Trump administration won't continue to challenge transgender military service in court.

In the wake of more and more mass shootings, the House of Representatives passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, a bill that would require each state to recognize concealed carry permits issued in other states.

Proponents of the new law claim it would reduce confusion caused by conflicting state laws on gun ownership and ease travel for gun owners. Opponents say that states with strict gun control laws would be forced to follow much looser firearm restrictions passed by other states. So how would concealed carry reciprocity actually work?

We all know that you need to register in order to vote. But did you know that you also need to vote in order to vote? At least according to Ohio election officials you do.

Since 1994, the Ohio secretary of state's office has had a voter purge process whereby it compiles a list of registered voters who have gone two years without casting ballot and mails them a confirmation notice. If the voter neither returns the notice nor participates for the next four years, the voter will be automatically struck from the rolls.

Larry Harmon was once such voter purged from Ohio's voter rolls, and his lawsuit against the state is heading to the Supreme Court. Here's a look.

California Governor Jerry Brown this weekend signed the Gender Recognition Act into law, allowing state residents to choose or change gender on a birth certificate to be female, male, or nonbinary. It is the first state do so, and is the third, along with Oregon and Washington, D.C., to allow gender neutral drivers licenses.

While the bill applies to new birth certificates, it also eases the restrictions on birth certificate and drivers license changes, eliminating the requirement that a gender change applicant have undergone any treatment prior to the change. Here's a look at the new law.

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.