Legal briefs


Issue: "Nuclear threat in Korea," Aug. 16, 2003

Victim privacy suffered a setback in a ruling that a witness who testified in a child-molestation trial has no right under state law to sue the news media for revealing his identity. Despite a non-disclosure order, a journalist revealed the name of a man who provided testimony in the trial of a former teacher accused of molesting students. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the witness' invasion-of-privacy claim because courtroom attendance was not restricted and court proceedings are matters of legitimate public interest. Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson (appointed by President Reagan) wrote the decision in Doe vs. Associated Press.... The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that limits the reach of anti-discrimination law. A man sued his employer for sex discrimination on the grounds that co-workers, who incorrectly assumed he was a homosexual, taunted him. Judge Ann Claire Williams (appointed by President Clinton) held that being perceived as gay is insufficient for a sex-discrimination claim under federal law. The court noted that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act addresses discrimination "because of" sex, not the mere perception of sexual preference.... Violent video games now have First Amendment protection, following an appellate court ruling that nullifies a county ordinance restricting their sale. Judge Morris Arnold (appointed by President George H.W. Bush) of the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that video games are speech fully protected by the Constitution and that St. Louis County failed to show sufficient specific evidence that violent games harm minors' psychological well-being to justify the restriction.

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