Tag: First Amendment

One Vote Republic: America in the Balance

 

In 2020, Senator Ted Cruz wrote One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History, and in 2021 we see the United States Supreme Court again making his case. On 9 April 2021, amidst the continuing media smoke screen of one crisis or another, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision holding at Americans who want or believe they need to physically assemble together in bible study will likely prevail against the Christian-hating communists running California. The razor thin majority made explicit that they were slapping down the 9th Circuit againThe left wing disagreed, regurgitating the lab-coat left’s long-rehearsed lies, and G.W. Bush’s man on the bench, John Roberts, Jr., sided with the left while taking the dodge of not adding his name to their rationale for standing our First Freedom on its head. Personnel is policy and this latest disgraceful episode again affirms the danger of letting RepubliCAN’Ts nominate justices without careful scrutiny across all areas of supposed conservative concern, from national security, to economic, to religious/ cultural conservativism. A read of the slim majority’s written opinion and a perusal of the current and retired living justices’ official biographies is instructive.

Personnel is policy, especially with Supreme Court justices:

The Left Wing:

Why We Have a First Amendment

 

Perhaps Piers Morgan gets it now. He didn’t used to. Ever wondered why our founders and framers felt it necessary to have our First AmendmentA post from a favorite British writer, Brendan O’Neill, Editor of a terrific blog, Spiked, may help.

For those who don’t follow Great Britain’s rather interesting media culture, Piers Morgan – you will remember him succeeding the late Larry King’s then-highly popular show in 2010 for about three years – has become the Isle’s top-rated morning host of “Good Morning Britain.” Make that, “had.” He was pushed out yesterday after being, shall we say, less than impressed with Meghan Markle’s appearance in a highly-celebrated interview with Oprah.

I’ve resisted writing about the two-hour CBS interview, even though I eye-rolled my way through it. You can see my admittedly intemperate reaction that I posted on Facebook below, in response to a friend’s query. But the Piers Morgan angle is one Americans might want to pay some attention to. There are lessons and red flags here, as if we need them. Even one US Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito, suggests free speech and religious liberty are under attack in the US. After all, our free speech rights are being trampled for many of the same reasons. Especially, but not exclusively, on college campuses.

Member Post

 

No matter how loud the chorus of deceit, nor cavernous the echo chamber of lies, nor thunderous the stampede of conformity, there is no sound loud enough, nor conspiracy of fools vast enough, to negate reality or silence the truth, so long as their remains even a single, solitary voice that dare speak it. Preview […]

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Should Political Speech be a “Civil Right?”

 

It is time to look at expanding anti-discrimination laws to protect political expression.

Conservative media these days are replete with examples of people on the right being intimated, shunned, deplatformed, fired and worse for expressions of support for former President Trump. “No, anyone who supported the president, voted for him or worked for his administration now has to be hunted down and purged,” New York Post columnist Miranda Devine opined recently.

“They’re losing their jobs, having their insurance canceled, their book contracts and recording deals torn up. They are being banned from flying or banking or speaking on social media.

Speak Out in 2021

 

As the train wreck of 2020 steams full speed into what we have every reason to expect will be the train wreck of 2021, I’ve been thinking about how I want to apply my limited time and energy in the new year. There are certainly plenty of issues that warrant attention. After all, no problems that dogged us last year have been solved; none has even grown smaller, and a brand new set of problems is scheduled to take office in just a couple of weeks, promising a tsunami of bad judgment and its inevitable consequences.

I’ve resolved to do my best to focus most of my attention on one issue, something I consider to be of paramount importance; more important even than our foolish panic over COVID, or the frankly idiotic trans movement, or the viciousness of Antifa and hateful dishonesty of BLM, or the barely concealed self-loathing of climate catastrophism.

Biden Confused by Free Speech

 

Biden campaign picture of protest

Evidence provided by Biden campaign of terrifying protesters flying American flags on a public highway, new Covid-19 restrictions expected in response.

After encountering Trump supporter escorts as their campaign bus traveled in the Lone Star State, the Biden campaign expressed concern about the exercise of First Amendment rights on public highways, reported by Jack Phillips in the Epoch Times:

“Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way,” Biden campaign Texas communications director Tariq Thowfeek told news outlets, confirming several events would be canceled in the state.

The Censorship Is Real

 

So someone on Twitter commented about Joe Biden being able to survive COVID-19, and I couldn’t help myself. I pointed out he was weak, frail, uncertain, and had no confidence. I pointed out that when you lack confidence that you can beat an illness, the likelihood is that the illness is going to kill you. It was fair commentary. I mentioned that I had clinical experience that bore out those observations in the tweet. There were no threats. It wasn’t targeted toward Joe Biden. It was a simple observation. But not to Twitter.

I was booted for 12 hours because of that tweet.

Pastor Ché Ahn and Attorney Mathew Staver joined Senior Editor Christopher Bedford to discuss their recent lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom for his actions in banning religious worship amid the ongoing government lockdown. Ahn is the founder and head pastor at Harvest International Ministry and Harvest Rock Church, and Staver is a founding member of Liberty Counsel.

Ahn argued Gov. Newsom imposed a double standard in shutting down religious services while praising the reckless protests and looting that ensued following the death of George Floyd, despite their lack of compliance with CDC guidelines. Staver said the Constitution makes it clear the government cannot prevent citizens from gathering to worship.

Member Post

 

Our own Sam Jacobs sat down with Matthew Larosiere. Matthew Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy at the Firearms Policy Coalition and an unashamed supporter of the Second Amendment without exceptions. He is also an early adopter of the 3D printer, something that he has become very skilled at using to make full firearms, […]

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Member Post

 

I recently called for the White House to show they believe that all black lives matter, using the beginning of week press briefing among other venues. That is exactly how Kayleigh McEnany started out this Monday’s press briefing. This theme was also highlighted by a young black woman speaking at President Trump’s invitation in Phoenix […]

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Member Post

 

A federal judge has issued a restraining order preventing the Louisville mayor from banning drive-in church services. Hoping this starts a trend. https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/04/11/federal-judge-issues-restraining-order-against-kentucky-city-and-police-attempting-to-block-easter-worship/ Preview Open

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Make the Democrats Talk About Sex

 

Yes, really. I mean the meaning of “sex.” The leftists in the House of Representatives passed a resolution purporting to extend the deadline for passage of a Constitutional amendment that had failed for lack of ratification by the specified deadline. The Democrats did so as part of election politics. The Senate Republicans should seize the opportunity given them, rather than playing into Chuck and Nancy’s hand.

Democrats want to run this year as women’s rights advocates, even as they destroy the rights of actual girls and women. It is time one party stood up for girls and women against the patriarchy in dresses. The ERA, if passed as currently written, will be weaponized by the left, reading their cultural agenda through the word “sex.” Nevertheless, the recurring story we will see and hear for the next nine months will be that a bunch of old white men, led by Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, are standing in the way of women’s equality. It does not have to go this way.

The Democrats almost slipped the ERA by us back in 1972-1973, whereafter Phyllis Schlafly mobilized effective opposition. Eventually, several states reversed their ratification. Yet, the Democrats intend to claim in court that a state cannot un-ratify, so they get to collect every state, with the more recent passage by Virginia making the magical 38th state, adding the already redefined amendment onto the end of the Constitution, trumping all previous language—especially the First Amendment’s religion clauses.

The Case for a Free Speech Union

 

The idea for a free speech trade union was born at a conference for canceled academics in Oxford last year. It was organized by Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Philosophy at Oxford, who was targeted by an outrage mob in 2017 after writing an article for the Times of London entitled ‘Don’t feel guilty about our colonial past.’ Because Nigel was bold enough to defend Bruce Gilley, a conservative political science professor at Portland State, who had made the case for colonialism in an academic journal called Third World Quarterly, he became the victim of a witch-hunt. Colleagues stopped collaborating with him, open letters circulated calling for his academic work to be de-funded and a Cambridge lecturer accused him of being a “white supremacist.” Needless to say, Professor Gilley had it much worse. The editors of Third World Quarterly received death threats from enraged members of the woke Left and withdrew the article, although it was republished by the National Association of Scholars.

Bruce Gilley was at Nigel’s conference, as was Bret Weinstein, who was chased off the Evergreen State College campus by baseball-bat wielding thugs, and Amy Wax, who was relieved of some of her teaching responsibilities at Penn Law School after she had the temerity to co-write an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer defending the bourgeois virtues. There were others, too.

Listening to their stories convinced me the time had come to take a stand. What was needed was a trade union-like organization that stood up for the speech rights of its members. The idea was simple: everyone who values intellectual freedom should organize so if the mob tries to pick one of us off, we can unite in his or her defense. The enemies of free speech hunt in packs; its defenders need to band together too.

The Multi-Front Attack on Free Speech

 

Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are specific phenomena and (partially-overlapping) categories of people which are largely driving this attack, to wit:

The Thugs. As I pointed out in my post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents, ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery, have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of American politics. Incidents of political thuggery are reported almost daily: just the other day, pro-Trump women at an upscale DC hotel were verbally attacked and apparently physically assaulted by members of a wedding party that was heavy on Democrat attendees; including, reportedly, some top officials from the DNC. A pro-free-speech film was reportedly interrupted by two men wearing masks. Interruption of movies they didn’t like was a tactic used by the Nazis prior to their obtaining official censorship powers. The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was plagued by Nazi disruptions when released in Germany in 1930. And attempts to shut down dissident speakers on college campuses, such as this, have become so common as to now be almost the default expectation.

Democrat Candidate for NH Governor, Andru Volinsky, Blocks Media Outlet on Twitter

 

Andru Volinsky, a Democrat, announced this morning that he will seek the Democrat nomination to run for governor of New Hampshire against incumbent Chris Sununu, a Republican. New Hampshire Journal, run by friend of Ricochet @michaelgraham, naturally wanted to get a comment from the candidate, but noticed that Volinsky has blocked New Hampshire Journal’s twitter account.

Volinsky is engaging in unconstitutional “view point discrimination” according to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled unanimously this past July in upholding a lower court’s decision in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump:

This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, “block” a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States. The answer to both questions is no. …blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.

Member Post

 

With nearly seven in 10 American adults worried about cultural and political threats to free speech, good news may be closer than you think. In fact, a recent court decision provides hope that free speech protections are trending upward, charting the course for future victories for all Americans. Free speech was at the very center […]

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Victory for Christian Filmmakers Is a Win for Everyone

 

With nearly seven in 10 American adults worried about cultural and political threats to free speech, good news may be closer than you think. In fact, a recent court decision provides hope that free speech protections are trending upward, charting the course for future victories for all Americans.

Free speech was at the very center of Telescope Media Group v. Lucero. The case challenged the state’s attempt to force Christian filmmakers—with the threat of fines and jail time—to promote messages that violate their faith. On August 23, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the filmmakers, overturning a lower court’s decision and giving that court a roadmap for how this case should move forward.

The win isn’t just a major victory for the filmmakers—it’s a game-changer. Last summer, when the US Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on free exercise grounds, it did not even need to reach the free speech issue presented because Colorado’s hostility against cake artist Jack Phillips was so egregious.

An Antidote to Conservative Gloom on Campus Free Speech

 

FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff is in National Review this week with a rather simple message for conservatives: There are actually a lot of things we can feel good about regarding the state of free expression on college campuses today.

The welfare of campus discourse is not perfect, of course, and its easy to sense that the issue is only getting worse–especially as free speech on campus gets no shortage of media exposure. The playing field has also changed in other fundamental ways. College students today are more aligned against free speech than they were ten or even five years ago, for reasons Greg and Jonathan Haidt expound on at length in their bestselling book The Coddling of the American Mind.

I’ve been at FIRE since 2008, and I can attest to those changes in the culture firsthand. I can also, however, attest to these meaningful changes FIRE has brought about nationally: