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The American Bar Association has announced a new venture that aims to help journalists, the media, and general public fact check legal issues that hit the mainstream media.
The website, ABALegalFactCheck.com, allows anyone to email questions for legal fact checking, but does not promise that all questions will be answered. Rather, the website appears to just be an informative website where trending legal topics that are being confused by media, journalists and pundits, might be explained.
Quick Answers to Big Questions
The ABA's fact checking website seeks to debunk many of the statements being made about how the law works.
For instance, one of the first topics addressed explains that hate speech is actually protected by the First Amendment, but that fighting words are not. The article was prompted by the inaccurate statement of the Mayor of Portland, as well as Howard Dean. The short answer on the limits of the First Amendment also cites to, and briefly explains, the recent Slants case, which established that the USPTO could issue a trademark for an offensive name of a product, group, or band.
According to the ABA's new president Hilarie Bass, the site was created to provide the public with a source for reliable answers. Their goal is to provide answers in an unbiased, non-partisan way (just like we do over here at FindLaw).
Bass explained that many legal issues are not open for debate and have been finally decided. Their hope is to provide concise, clear answers to trending legal issues as soon as possible after the topics start trending. Bass stated that this could be a couple hours or much more, depending on the depth of the topic.