First Amendment

Front pages of the News and Observer
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

For the majority of libel claims, the case never goes before a jury. However, in cases where the libel claim goes through to trial, juries tend to give big awards, something the Raleigh News & Observer found out this week when a jury delivered a verdict that could run north of $6 million.

 Director Michael Lewis talks with cast on Men of Israel film shoot.
Wikipedia

Traditionally, the media has blurred the line between public and private lives, and the digital age has almost eliminated that distinction entirely. Nowhere is the private becoming public more evident than in pornography. Professor Richard Cante examines the social and political implications of pornography. He is a professor of media and technology studies in the Communication department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Host Frank Stasio talks with Cante about the intersection of media and pornography.

In 2011, employees of the group Mercy for Animals made secret recordings at a Buterball facility in Hoke County, resulting in the animal cruelty conviction of five employees for kicking and beating live birds.
Mercy For Animals

Animal rights activists and journalists would be prohibited from going undercover into private businesses and secretly taking pictures and recordings of illegal activity, under a bill approved by a North Carolina legislative panel on Tuesday.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Gov. Pat McCrory said on Monday that he won’t sign a state Senate plan to allow court officials who oppose gay marriage for religious reasons to recuse themselves from officiating at weddings.
 

McCrory will not sign Senate Bill 2, which would allow magistrates to recuse themselves from officiating at any wedding, if it's approved by the House of Representatives, because it would conflict with federal court rulings that in October struck down North Carolina’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, he said.

A picture of a gavel on a document.
Brian Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

An atheist group filed a federal lawsuit to compel the North Carolina Department of Corrections to make space available for group studies by atheists in the same way it does for religious inmates.
 

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, was brought by Kwame Teague, an inmate being held for life on a 1996 first-degree murder conviction. Teague has requested space for a study group since 2012.

A picture of praying hands
wnd.adreas / PhotoRee / Creative Commons

Forsyth County wants a federal judge to lift an injunction, allowing sectarian prayers from clergy before meetings.  However, the ACLU wants the court to require that the county change its prayer policy to include people of non-traditional faiths.

A 2010 District Court injunction requires the county censor any invocations – ensuring only generic prayers are offered.