free speech

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday defended students who feel they can't pray in their schools — and warned school administrators they risk losing federal funds if they violate their students' rights to religious expression.

Trump held an event in the Oval Office with a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim students and teachers to commemorate National Religious Freedom Day. The students and teachers said they have been discriminated against for practicing their religion at school.

A truck passes a sign against the NEXUS pipeline on the property of Kathy Cikotte, in Berlin Heights, Ohio, on July 16, 2015.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

An advocacy group is opposing an Ohio bill that would restrict protests at sites that are considered "critical infrastructure facilities,” including oil and gas pipelines.

The nativity display at Ohio Statehouse was paid for by the conservative Thomas More Society.
Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau

A small nativity, complete with a figure representing newborn Jesus, is on display at the Ohio Statehouse right now. The state lawmakers and private group who want it there say it’s perfectly constitutional.

This Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, a sample of condoms distributed freely by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in 28 countries is displayed at a news conference at the AHF headquarters in Los Angeles.
Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

As the state’s budget crisis drags on into a second week, a resolution has been introduced in the legislature that declares pornography a public health crisis. One-fifth of representatives in the GOP-dominated House, all conservative Republicans, have signed onto it.

A federal appeals court in Manhattan says President Trump cannot block critics from his Twitter account, calling it "unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination."

It's decision season at the U.S. Supreme Court, and there are a host of consequential cases the justices are deciding, from a controversial Trump administration proposal to adding a citizenship question to the census to gerrymandering and a question of separation of church and state.

As always, timing of which exact cases will be decided is unknown until the court releases them. The only clues are when the cases were argued, and, sometimes, that's not predictive either.

Dirty words make it to the U.S. Supreme Court only occasionally. One of those occasions came Monday, in a case involving a clothing line named "FUCT."

The issue is whether the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office acted unconstitutionally when it refused to grant trademark protection to the brand name.

And, for the justices, the immediate problem was how to discuss the the F-word without actually saying it.

The "FUCT" clothing line, created by designer Eric Brunetti, is mainly hoodies, loose pants, shorts and T-shirts, all with the brand name prominently displayed.

In a move that appeared aimed at what some view as a growing trend of political correctness on college campuses, President Trump signed an executive order Thursday to bar federal research grants to institutions that don't "avoid creating environments that stifle competing perspectives."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law which will allow the punishment of individuals and online media for spreading what Russia calls "fake news" and information which "disrespects" the state.

State Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell)
Andrew Brenner / Facebook

A spokesperson for Republicans in the Ohio Senate says caucus members have unblocked people on their official social media pages as part of an effort to avoid further legal action.

Ohio Senate

A southwest Ohio man has settled a lawsuit he filed against his Republican state senator, who he says blocked him on Facebook during a heated debate about the “Heartbeat Bill” abortion ban in December.

The original story behind the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is both undisputed and well known: a gay couple in Colorado walked into the bakery in 2012 and asked for wedding cake. The owner and master baker Jack Phillips declined to make a custom cake for their party because he said their union violated his religious beliefs.

The couple filed a complaint with the state's civil rights commission, which found Phillips was violating the state's anti-discrimination laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people.

Ohio Statehouse Legislative Chamber
Bob Hall / Flickr

This week, Ohio lawmakers are returning for a lame-duck session, with hearings set on a so-called "right to work" bill and a Republican-backed bill on free speech on college campuses.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro will be at Ohio State University Tuesday speaking to students.

Updated at 6:50 a.m. ET Monday

The alternative social media network that was reportedly used by the suspect in the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue is now down.

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